This is the world's first look at the 2018 Toyota Camry, and it's an appropriate photo. Poised to enter its eighth generation when it bows at the Detroit Auto Show in January, the Japanese automaker's venerable sedan has been showing its taillights to the competition from atop the sales charts for going on 15 years.
In that time, the Camry has been best described as safe, solid and reliable, but rarely has it raised pulses for its aesthetics any more than it has for its driving dynamics. With the midcycle refresh of its current seventh-generation model, Toyota clearly began to embrace more adventuresome styling, and this teaser suggests its designers have been further emboldened.
It's important to note that the shadowy photo seen here depicts an XSE model, which is traditionally sportier. In this case, that means that the midsize sedan's rump arrives replete with lip spoiler and a rear bumper cap with unusual vertical air extractors whose character lines spill down from the tail lamps. No word yet on whether the vents actually do anything -- they seem likely to be nonfunctional pieces. The unusual body crease visible on the rear pillar also suggests the Camry could have a more steeply raked roofline, an increasingly common designer's tool to amp up visual excitement (often at the expense of rear seat room).
While the Camry appears to be in no immediate danger of losing its sales crown to rivals like the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and Nissan Altima, sedan sales across most industry segments continue to take a beating at the hands of surging crossover SUV sales. That's a trend likely to continue for the foreseeable future, so more emotional design may be a technique that automakers increasingly employ to hold buyers' attention.
No word yet on the 2018 Camry's availability, powertrains or anything else just yet, but there's not long to wait -- January is just around the corner.