Bold. Bold is the best way that Toyota can describe the new Camry. We can’t completely disagree…in regards to its new styling. We got our first looks at the car when we were sitting at the reveal in New York last year. Visually, we could tell the Camry was definitely taking a step in the right direction. A year later, we finally got a chance to get into the top-of-the-line XSE V6 to see if it’s drive can live up to its bold styling.
The Camry’s almost-all-new body – the roof is carried over – is pretty good looking. It isn’t as creased as its predecessor and it is definitely more appealing than it. Although it’s classified as a mid-cycle refresh, consider it a comprehensive re-think. Our tester was an XSE, which is a new trim for the Camry and brings with it a laundry list of exterior extras; a unique front end, LED headlights, and black trim for the front grille. The suspension is also re-tuned and adjusted to go with the sportier character. We’ll get to whether or not it works shortly.
On the inside, new seats with extra bolstering and pseudo-alcantara inserts adorn the cabin. The seats actually very good and they supported just as well on a long drive as they did in the corners. The center stack is reworked with an updated infotainment system. Everything was easy to use and well thought out. It seems that Toyota has been listening to the criticisms of touch-only displays and has left some button functionality. The optional JBL audio in our car sounded great, and bundling in with the navigation seems worth the $805 asking price. Other tech features included the blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, which also commanded an $805 asking price.
The familiar 268hp 3.5L V6 remains underhood. The 248 lb-ft of torque helps the new Camry feel light on its feet. Torque steer is apparent, but not overwhelming. The front tires chirp under hard acceleration and the brakes bite well with smooth feel through the pedal. When you inevitably come to a corner, you won’t be disappointed either. Those suspension tweaks were mentioned before really work well to make this Camry something of a surprise. Turn in is good, with positive feedback from the steering and the suspension allows the car to stay level in the corners. You might even say it feels grounded…
The Camry’s mid-cycle redesign is one that sparked attention from a large amount of consumers. The car is selling well, even by Toyota standards. Notable upgrades and a more engaging car make for one smart package – a package that surprised us for the better. It would seem that being bold paid off in a big way.
|2015 Toyota Camry XSE V6
|Ruby Flare Pearl||$395|
|Blind Spot Monitor with Rear-Cross Traffic Alert||$805|
|Entune Premium JBL Audio w/ Navigation||$805|
|As Tested MSRP||$33,895|
Photos courtesy of Toyota: