2015 Toyota Camry Review

Toyota’s Latest License to Print Money

2015 Toyota Camry Review

Would you believe that Toyota is an innovator when it comes to family sedans?

FAST FACTS

Engine: 2.5L 4-cyl or 3.5L V6 Transmission: 6-speed automatic Horsepower: 178 hp (4-cyl), 268 hp (V6) Torque: 170 lb-ft (4-cyl), 248 lb-ft (V6) Fuel Economy: 25/35/28 city/highway/combined (4-cyl), 21/31/25 (V6) Price: Starting at $23,795 the SE is priced at $24,665 and the XSE at $26,975 (all prices include destination)

Perhaps not. You might instead say it’s the Ford Fusion with its dramatic looks, or maybe the Hyundai Sonata with its turbocharged engines.

Regardless, Toyota is staking its claim to the innovation title, so to put that assertion to the test we made the enviable trek to the big island of Hawaii for the launch of the significantly updated 2015 Camry.

A Bold-ish new look

The juxtaposition is dramatic. The Camry is the dictionary definition of automotive sensibility in the most mundane of climates but in a tropical paradise even the more dramatic new styling is one-upped by Mother Nature’s exotic flowers and lava flows.

We’d wager new looks should win new buyers and help attract those new car shoppers apprehensive of the car’s conservative reputation and style.

2015 Toyota Camry Review grille closeStill, the new look isn’t noteworthy enough to claim any level of innovation. Instead that lies with the truly significant level of upgrades Toyota has made to the car just three years after its launch, with 2000 new parts – or roughly one-third of the car overall. More specifically, innovation comes in the form of yet another new model, the XSE.

And if one new trim level seems like a far cry from being a “game changer” in the segment, consider this. . .

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From SE to XSE

2015 Toyota Camry Review nose

Just three years ago Toyota rolled out a new Camry and introduced the SE trim level.

We vividly recall driving it and highly recommending the specific car.

And we weren’t the only ones who saw its merits.  The SE now accounts for roughly 45 percent of all Camrys sold, and it’s likely the reason the Camry has been able to hold onto the position of America’s best selling car for what is now 12 consecutive years.

To keep the innovation ball rolling there’s now the up-market XSE.

So what’s so special about it? Well, first it’s important to know what the SE is.

2015 Toyota Camry Review gaugesFor starters it doesn’t stand for Special Edition, but rather is an indication of a more sport-focused model. It comes with a unique body with a new black mesh front grille, rear spoiler and chrome tipped exhaust, as well as a sport tuned suspension with larger 17-inch wheels on wider low profile 215/55 tires, not to mention sports seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel.

Despite the upgrades if you want sporty you’re better off looking at a Fusion or Mazda6. What the Camry SE offers is a more premium look, feel and drive for a minimal upgrade.

In fact, it starts at less than a grand more than a base model Camry at $24,665 versus $23,795 for the LE (all priced including destination). The SXE will cost you quite a bit more, however, priced at $26,975.

With that you get heated front seats, a 4-way power passenger seat, custom 18-inch wheels with even wider and lower profile 225/45 tires and a leather interior with “ultrasuede” inserts that looks almost as nice as the Alcantara you might find in a Mercedes-Benz.

Upgrade to the V6 engine ($32,195) and Toyota tosses in keyless access with a push-button ignition, a power moon roof, upgraded audio and 7-inch display screen with navigation and apps plus one feature you really won’t find anywhere else: wireless charging for you phone!

XSE Driving Impressions

2015 Toyota Camry Review headlight

Even with the big wheels it’s a comfy ride. The steering has a nice on-center feel helping you place the car on the road and it’s weighted so as to give a feeling of authority to the driver. Inputs feel organic, and it’s not the overly stiff setup that some automakers pass off as a sport model.

Overall the XSE is less floaty but we’re still reluctant to use the S (sporty) word.

If you’re shopping at the higher-end of the price range you’re probably interested in the new technologies available and there are plenty including lane departure warning, a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert and an auto-high beam feature that turns out high-beams off automatically so you don’t accidentally blind oncoming cars. Plus there’s a new adaptive cruise control setting with a pre-collision system that will alert you of an impending impact and even apply the brakes if necessary.

So How is New Camry in General?

2015 Toyota Camry Review interior high

Apart from all this confusing SE, XSE trim level stuff, you’re probably wondering what the new Camry is like overall. Well, it’s another big step forward.

There are 150 new spot-welds to stiffen up the chassis and the track is roughly a half-inch wider to help all models driver more like the SE. There are new window seals, thicker carpeting and even redesigned mirrors to reduce wind noise. Overall it’s quieter, more comfortable and both feels and looks a lot nicer. In fact, every body panel but the roof has been changed.

Inside almost every surface the driver or passengers touch has been updated. The styling is still rather simplistic but the materials are top notch. And a benefit of the minimalist design is that all the controls are just so easy to use.

Vehicle information is also more readily accessible to the driver with a new 4.2-inch color display screen between the gauges, which is standard on all but the base model.

Under the Hood Innovation? Not So Fast

2015 Toyota Camry Review interior rear seats

Sadly, there is one area Toyota isn’t innovating with this new car and it’s under the hood. There are no new powertrains, just the same old engines we’ve been seeing for quite some time.

There’s the same old six-speed transmission too, when some rivals have as many as 9-gears and even Honda has made the switch to a more fuel efficient CVT. At the same time, we really do love the feeling of a proper automatic like this. There’s never any wondering how the car will respond, it just does.

All that means fuel economy is unchanged and in an increasingly competitive segment that’s not good. The 2015 Camry is three miles per gallon back of the Altima and Accord and is just behind the Sonata and Fusion in combined fuel economy… though considering the issues Ford and Hyundai have had with the legitimacy of their numbers lately, we’d wager the Camry’s still competitive with those two.

Speaking of Fuel Economy…

2015 Toyota Camry Review tail lightOne can’t review the Camry without mentioning the Camry Hybrid and… surprise, there’s now a new SE-trim level for the gasoline-electric car.

Along with the SE model, the Hybrid version has long been one of our recommended picks. Combing the two seems like a perfect plan.

Unlike a lot of hybrids it gets a respectable 0-60 time of 7.6 seconds, while also achieving 41 MPG combined.

For just about $1,000 more ($28,820 versus $27,615) it’s an easy choice to make for hybrid buyers without coughing up the premium for the Camry Hybrid XLE ($30,805).

2015 Toyota Camry Review rear 3q

2015 Toyota Camry Review: The Verdict

So the new Camry is another great car and an undeniably smart purchase. The SE Hybrid is pretty much a no-brainer and the XSE seems like a real winner too.

Before, if you wanted to move up a level you could only get the XLE, which had more features, but wasn’t as nice to look at, sit in or drive.

While we’d like to see more innovation under the hood, Toyota has made a huge effort in trying to keep its top seller at the top of your shopping list.

  • Ed Haps

    That front end is a bit much IMHO, but the interior looks fantastic!

  • Jose

    No new powertrains? Come one Toyota…. this is getting annoying.

  • Soyntgo4it

    I can’t wait I want one and thats not bad MPG for this segment what are you talking about.

  • Shiratori90

    I would rather have a NA V-6 that gives off power almost immediately than some turbo-4 with lag that you have to suffer through before the power comes on.

  • Jeff T

    Grandpas new car is a looker!

  • Hannon B Rutherford

    This thing is stupid looking. It is designed for the tasteless and infantile public school chimps. This one should knock the Camry off the best seller list. Well Done! At least it kept it’s proper tractable, reliable, efficient, non-laggy, and quiet “low-tech” power train. Did the Toyota marketing twits/freaks demand that you call the styling “Bold”?…Or else not be invited back to their events?

  • Isend2C

    I know the Camry is dull, But since it’s redesign I’ve really liked it. It’s one of only few midsize sedans to still offer a real V6 – which is a selling point to me. Now it has all the cool safety tech that I’d like also. I’m actually not too keen on the new look – I already thought it looked nice (in SE V6 trim).

  • Mike

    I don’t normally comment on these things but…

    1. The SE trim came out in 2002 with the 5th Generation. It was originally an appearance package but in 2004 added a larger engine, unique suspension, interior and exterior styling treatment. In 2007 with the 6th Generation, the Camry SE became the type of vehicle it is today. Different suspension, different grille and headlights, stiffer chassis, and unique interior touches. It definitely wasn’t introduced 3 years ago.

    2. Do some proofreading. Tons of typos in the article.

    Overall though I think it’s a good assessment. I’m glad the steering appears improved.

  • roundthings

    Hideous. There’s my one word review

  • Jeremiah Mckenna

    Quite simply, this is a mash up between the new Corolla and Avalon. I mean that in both styling and features. Nothing like a little brand recognition. Everyone has to move to the taller grill segment since the Feds have mandated that there be at least three inches between the inside of the hood and to top of the engine for safety reasons. But other than that I see this as another top seller in this segment. Toyota never fails to deliver a quality product that will last for years without giving a lot of troubles.

    As far as the MPG, the main difference here is that Toyota takes the EPA section on the Monroney Sticker and does their own real world testing. then they call the EPA back out and tell them what they actually got on their own tests and has the EPA sign off on those new numbers. As we have seen, most other manufacturers only take the EPA’s numbers and run with them until they have a huge class action law suite. So, I don’t see the lower MPG numbers being a huge problem. Not to mention that physics play a large part here, and with all the Federal Mandates adding a lot of weight to the car, those numbers are outstanding.

  • Jeremiah Mckenna

    Engine size was the same for all trim levels, not just the SE.

  • Jeremiah Mckenna

    The Camry will continue to be on the best seller list because it is an overall great car, and not some flash in the pan. What good does a sporty looking car do you if it is always in the shop getting repaired or the back seat is not big enough for anyone over the age of 4 to sit in?

  • Jeremiah Mckenna

    If it works, why fix it?

  • 阿斯顿

    你什么?

  • JACOB

    我的天。

  • roundthings

    That’s easy for you to say

  • Keith9

    Not a fan of the c-pillar, but apart from that I’d say it looks ok.

  • Alan

    I bought two Camrys in 2007. Mine is the V6 and hers the 2.4. Fabulous car and I love my V6 engine. I do all my own maintenance. HOWEVER, this new model is the ugliest car I have ever seen and I am buying a Honda Accord V6 in spring. When I put photos ot the Accord and this Camry side by side, there is no debate. The grill is truly revolting

  • Bill Dred

    I have driven Corollas for 20 years and hoped that I could finally upgrade to a Camry. This car is simply too ugly, but I do like the Mazda, Hmmmmmm…

  • William

    I don’t like the new front grilles on Toyota’s and Lexus cars. Where are they getting these body designers from? So damn ugly with that inverted unnatural upside down looking grille.
    Toyota, wake up and get a bunch of new designers for your car body styling. Same goes for all the other car makers with the ugly looking grille shapes (it’s not just Toyota). Call me old but the new fashion designs don’t look good to me.

  • Gregory

    On the SE and XSE, which have the honeycomb pattern grille, the front end is obtrusive, especially on the red, which is often shown. However, the grille is downplayed on the LE and XLE and, especially if you are buying a vehicle with a neutral color, will hardly raise an eyebrow–it seems to blend right into the front end. I have a 2014 Corolla LE Eco that is similarly styled. I look at others of the same year and find the front end distracting, but the one I have is slate grey metallic and an LE (no honeycomb) and, to my taste, it looks much better. Toyota seems to be offering a “bolder” look for the sport-themed models. That look will not appeal to everyone, but most would say that the previous look was bland. I believe the author is spot-on in saying that Toyota is using this tactic to keep sales up by appealing to a broader market with the same vehicle. I agree that the interior is a step up but the powertrain seems dated, especially if the intent is to keep it through the run of this generation. As with the 2014.5, though, Toyota succumbed to market pressure to make upgrades. I can also vouch for Toyota underestimating miles per gallon. My Corolla is rated as 29/38, but I get 33-34 in town and well above 40 on the road.

  • Bryan Yu

    I don’t know about the rest of you but it looks like it’s a 2014 Toyota Corrolla, just beefed up and it’s ugly. I have the 2014 model and I think it looks classisy and sexy. Again this model looks different but it also reminds me of a wider Corrolla.

  • CNN’s Fault

    your mom is a mash up.

  • hp79

    Yeah, that design is just horrible. I wonder why they had to bring it from Lexus. It was ugly there, and I thought that would be short lived. Maybe there actually are people who like that grill design.

  • ballerMD

    Where have you been? This is not 2004, it’s 2014. The competition has gotten a lot better not just in styling, but also in terms of reliability and quality. It’s the main reason Toyota is doing the most extensive MCC ever on the Camry in the first place. But let’s face it, the new Camry is UGLY!!!! Sales might spike for a couple of months, but if this is what Toyota expects will sustain their run on the number one spot, then they’re in trouble. (The Accord already took that spot the last couple of months anyway.) Furthermore, the GS isn’t selling as well as it used to, the LS isn’t selling as well, the Avalon isn’t either, and even though Honda muffed up the Civic big time back in 2012, it still outsells the new Corolla (which has similar styling to 2015 Camry). Sales speak for themselves. So, why go with such a polarizing design feature as that grill when people obviously haven’t warmed up to it with other Toyota models? Guess Toyota has to learn the hard way like Honda did with the ugly power plenum on Acuras.

    Sugarcoat it all you want but Toyota threw this one together and it shows in looks; that “still’ cheap looking interior; and the dated powertrain. So, in a lot of ways it is “flash in the pants”. Thank you very much.

  • Jeremiah Mckenna

    It is the bridge gap between the Corolla an.d Avalon. It’s called Brand Recognition.

  • Jeremiah Mckenna

    All manufacturers have to go with the larger grill. Reason being, Federal Regulations state that there needs to be a minimum of 3 inches between the top of the engine and the bottom of the hood. Add that to the previous regs about front end collision with pedestrians, and this is the design they are forced to work with.

  • Jeremiah Mckenna

    Yes, the Accord had a few more overall sales last year (2013), but that was the only year. Not to mention that was only US Sales, not World Wide Sales, where Toyota dominated over Honda. Same with the Corolla.

    Are they making a bold move in styling? Absolutely. They needed it. Only time will tell how people like the new Camry. But again, it has been the staple, go to mid-sized family sedan for several years now, and I don’t see it being knocked off the thrown any time soon.

    As far as the Lexus side, they don’t expect to sell as many of those as they do Toyota. Pure price point as we know.

    Why go with that grill style? Because, as I have stated on here several times before, all manufacturers are being forced to as federal regulations state that there must be at least a 3 inch gap between the top of the engine and the bottom of the hood. Couple that with the front end crash with the pedestrian regs, and you get the front end of the cars we are seeing now.

    Dated engines? I don’t think so. It works quite well, gets you where you need to be every time you turn the key and doesn’t use a ton of fuel getting you there nor does it emit a huge amount of pollution. How is that dated? In fact, Toyota has been doing that since the late ’80’s, before the others.

  • Jeremiah Mckenna

    As you know, ride quality is a huge factor. Make sure you drive the Honda on the highway a couple of times after you drive the Toyota. Your ears and back will thank you, as the interior of the Honda is a heck of a lot noisier.

  • Jeremiah Mckenna

    That’s great if you like spending your time at the Mazda shop.

  • Jeremiah Mckenna

    And yes, several other manufacturers are getting a little better when it comes to reliability, but they are not as high as Honda or Toyota.

  • ballerMD

    (Sorry for the long novel but I wanted to address all of your points and make clear some of the things it appears you’ve misinterpreted from my initial comment.)

    First, you don’t have to preach to me about the virtues of Toyota or its world dominance. My first car back in 1995 was a brand new Corolla DX, and I’ve also owned a ’98 ES 300 and an ’05 Camry SE. I’m not just trolling here… While the current model is definitely an improvement over the last generation, when you’ve owned an ’05 Camry and an ’98 ES (which I’m sure you know was basically a Camry in a tux) you know that a lot of what has come out of Toyota 2006 onward is inferior. No matter how much of a fanboy I was of Toyota, I can’t turn a blind eye to the degradation of the brand. And I will tell you, I loved those cars so much I even persuaded my mom to buy an ’05 Camry XLE when she replaced her Caravan back in 2008. She still has it. And you know what? The interior still looks relatively new. The new model Toyota interiors don’t hold up as well and it’s not just me saying it. Over the past few years, many consumers and auto industry insiders have complained about the sub-par fit and finish and quality of materials in the newer Toyotas. With the competition getting better, now is not the time for Toyota to start slacking.

    That’s why for the first time my current car is not a Toyota or Lexus. I have a 2011 Infiiniti G37 Sport. I would love nothing more than to come back into the fold. However, the only thing that looks halfway decent with the new design language over at Lexus is the IS and upcoming RC (somewhat). And since my best friend has an IS, that’s out! Overall, this new design language is just reckless. Now they’re starting to do the same with Toyota. Others have left the fold too because of it and will continue to do so until Toyota stops experimenting with these ugly grills and bring back quality materials to their interiors. For the latter, I’m speaking mainly of Toyotas and Scions, not necessarily the Lexus brand. The 2015 Camry (or 2014.5 as Toyota calls it) does address the interior issues somewhat, but it’s half-a$$ed.

    As for the Accord, I was speaking of this year (2014). The current Accord is a great car and since its debut has been right on the Camry’s tail. However, in August it outright took the lead in epic fashion and held the #1 spot again in September as well, even with Honda having few fleet sales and Toyota dealers stacking big cash on the hood of Camrys. Plus Toyota provides a tantalizing 2-year free maintenance program standard with every new Camry and these incentives and rebates, some up to $2,000, have been going on for quite some time. This would have been unthinkable 10 years ago. Tells me the current Camry might not be as great as the #1 spot indicates.

    What? You didn’t think Toyota was doing such an unprecedented MMC update this fall for the hell of it, did you? Oh and yes, I know the Camry outsells the Accord the world over. To be fair Toyota does still makes a fine car, but make no mistake about it, they remain on top because they are still riding their reputation, rebates, incentives, fleet sales, and past rock solid reliability to maintain that spot.

    As for Lexus sales, again, you misinterpreted my statement. I wasn’t speaking of Lexus sales vs. Toyota sales. That would be ludicrous! Lexus models generally selling in smaller volume than Toyota models kind of goes without saying. But I’m not sure how you came to the conclusion I was comparing the two in the first place. I was talking about Lexus’ sales now compared to what they were in the previous 10 years. For instance, in 2005 Lexus sold 302,895 units. In 2013, only 8 years later, they sold 273,847 units, this despite having a wider range of models and trim levels. In 2012, Lexus sold even less – 244,166. Furthermore, both MB and BMW overtook Lexus in recent years and Cadillac is knocking on the door. The ugly grille is not all to blame, but it is a deal-breaker for many and the sooner Lexus ditches it, the better. Same holds true for the Camry’s new beak. It’s hideous. And yes, sells have increased from 2012 to 2013, but I attribute the spike more so to die hard
    Lexus customers waiting to purchase the new models, with all the car models seemingly clumped together (new IS, and relatively new GS, ES and substantially revised LS) rather than people coming back to the fold. But who know, perhaps the new RC and NX will do the trick?

    And I know all about the pedestrian friendly front-end standards set by the feds. However, other automakers are held to the same standard, yet most have done a much better job than Toyota (and Honda) at implementing this safety regulation into their design language.

    As for the Camry’s engines, they’re reliable and get the job done. True, but they produce less horsepower and torque than most of the competition, yet somehow still have the worst MPG – if that doesn’t scream “DATED”, I don’t know what does. And consumers consider listed MPG ratings much more today than they did when the competition wasn’t so advanced. That said, I’m sure Toyota will address it with the FMC; however, that’s another 2 years away. By that time the competition will be even further ahead. Hey, Honda realized the error of complacency, and was able to make significant powertrain changes to some of its high-volume models mid-cycle to improve MPG (and to a lesser extent, performance) – why can’t Toyota?

    Anyway, I’m not a complete troll. I actually praise the interior upgrades along with the continued enhancements to the SE model. I think the XSE trim just makes so much sense for the Camry. I remember when it used to be just the Camry vs Accord in most people’s mind. Those who choose the Camry did so most times because of slightly better reliability and interior room, while those who choose the Accord did so because of its more dynamic ride. With the SE model, Toyota gives those who prefer the Accords ride a bit more incentive to get the Camry.

    In short (and I use that phrase loosely), the old timers might still see the Camry and the Accord as the uncontested benchmarks of the class but younger buyers who are transitioning from Civics, Corollas, Mazda3, Focus, etc. don’t have the same perspective of Hyundai, VW, or the other competitors as people over 30 or 40 do. The market has caught up and so… Well, you get the point.

  • pywaket_1

    > Because, as I have stated on here several times before, all manufacturers are being forced to as federal regulations state that there must be at least a 3 inch gap between the top of the engine and the bottom of the hood

    Yes, you state that over and over and over. Care to provide a reference other than your own butt?

  • Cindy Moore

    In purchased a 2014 1/2 Camry in May. The car seats immediately begin to show strains and spots. I wrote Toyato and was told to take it to my dealer. The dealer said other cars are having this problem (I’m sure they are.) He gave me a seat cleaner which helped a,little but it keeps getting new spots. I am a,65 year old woman who is alone or with only my husband in the car 90 percent of the time. I have kept previous car for up to eight years and have never had seats that look this bad. I had even spilled coffee and,was,able to wipe it off without a stain. I took it to a detail shop and was told the problem is the seat covering is as thin as a shirt and anything that gets on it soaks clear through. So I have a new $21,000 car that I am embarrassed to have anyone ride in.

  • jeff

    Looks like a baleen whale. Ugly as fuck.

  • Tony O.

    I currently have a 2010 Camry which has had great reliability and performance over 80K miles. Sorry to say the 2015 Camry is a major disappointment with respect to styling. Hope it performs better than it looks.

  • oulayphone teso

    I had the 2014 toyota camry, traded it in for a 2015 subaru legacy. Best move of my life difference is night and day. Camry was sluggish and was not responsive. Interior and navigation screens are better but overall driving experience, legacy wins! Plus it’s standard awd.

  • Hammond Ecks

    It sorta reminds me of Darth Vader’s breathing mask.