The midsize sedan has been the staple automobile of the American market for decades, and the Camry has always been right up there in the charts since its introduction 35 years ago. It was the best selling car in the US for 15 consecutive years (2002 to 2016), and has served generations with distinction. But even the Camry is not immune from the SUV wave, which has affected this segment particularly badly.

While the show must go on, a different approach was needed. No one can accuse Toyota of playing it safe with the 2018 Toyota Camry, which has a face that one would describe as “aggressive” if he was putting it mildly. The design is “downright wild” for a midsize sedan, the video says.

The Camry has two “Keen Look” faces – the super wide-mouthed LE/XLE and the SE/XSE you see here, which has a pinched mouth and “Catamaran-inspired” accents. It rides on a the new TNGA platform and is longer and wider (but lower) than the outgoing car. The US gets 10 variants of the Camry – L, LE, XLE, XLE V6, SE, XSE, XSE V6, LE Hybrid, SE Hybrid and XLE Hybrid – and plenty of options, which the video shows in detail. Toyota Safety Sense P is standard across the board.

The three powertrain choices include a 3.5 litre V6 with D-4S fuel injection, a 2.5 litre “Dynamic Force” four-cylinder, and a next-generation Toyota Hybrid System (THS II). Arch-rival Honda Accord has ditched the V6 for a detuned Civic Type R 2.0L turbo-four, but Toyota has elected to continue offering a big motor here – it makes 301 hp and 363 Nm.

The new Dynamic Force Engine is set to be the most popular choice, and it puts out 206 hp and 253 Nm of torque at 5,000 rpm (176 hp/222 Nm in the Hybrid). The engine features VVT-iE on the intake side while utilising VVT-i for the exhaust, and a high and efficient compression ratio of 13:1 (longer stroke to achieve this) for increased thermal and fuel efficiency. The variable valve timing system uses an electric motor instead of oil pressure to control timing.

Both petrol engines are mated to a new Direct Shift eight-speed automatic transmission, but the Camry Hybrid uses a CVT with a new Sport Mode that has six virtual ratios.

Toyota is promising ‘sporty handling’ and ‘enhanced ride quality’ for the new Camry. Improved structural rigidity (new platform, increased use of ultra-high-tensile steel, application of a new molding tech), a new double-wishbone rear suspension system, and a new four-point engine mounting system (improves NVH performance) are contributing factors.

“In order to create something that stirs people’s soul, we’ve laid out the concept of a new sedan that provides fun and excitement behind the wheel. In developing the next-generation Toyota Camry, we were able to start with a clean slate, which allowed us to create a true driver’s car,” said Camry chief engineer Masato Katsumata. Yes, you just read a description of a Camry.

The eighth-generation Camry is already in Australia and will soon head to ASEAN, although we should be getting the tamer of the two faces. What do you think?

GALLERY: 2018 Toyota Camry LE

GALLERY: 2018 Toyota Camry XLE

GALLERY: 2018 Toyota Camry SE

GALLERY: 2018 Toyota Camry XSE

GALLERY: 2018 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid

GALLERY: 2018 Toyota Camry XLE Hybrid