All-New Sportier 2015 Toyota Camry Sheds the Buttoned-down Stigma
Completely rebuilt and only three years since it’s last major update, the all-new 2015 Toyota Camry is tenaciously shedding it’s conservative image. But for a sedan that historically equates more to beige and bland than vivacious and fun, can North America’s best-selling passenger car attract the younger buyer and stave off the hot mid-size sedan competition while maintaining its market dominance? A progressive new design and 210-km/hr on the Charlotte Motor Speedway (yes, in a Camry) indicates, yes.
Charlotte, NC — Automakers work hard building their brands, encouraging us to buy into their message, and ultimately, to drive away in their product. But later reforming those same perceptions to attract a different consumer is perhaps the greater challenge. And today, it appears the dependability and value mantra alone are no longer enough, particularly in the typically uninspiring family sedan segment, where consumers are now demanding more flair and personality — from bolder, sportier design and premium interior standards to increased emphasis on driving dynamics and better overall performance. The market has spoken and car companies are beginning to respond. Coupled with a new crop of more brazen, redesigned sedans including the all-new Subaru Legacy, Ford Fusion, and Honda Accord hot on the Camry’s heels, Toyota’s quick decision to reposition their flagship vehicle is probably a good one. And frankly, it appears they’re on the right track — taking what works and simply making it better.
Whether the new 2015 Toyota Camry is now targeting a more youthful market, or simply catering to it’s current value-conscious sedan buyer with a sportier, bolder offering, the fact remains: the new Camry is world’s apart from the outgoing model, in almost every way. And that’s a very good thing.
New Camry XSE V6 Sports Model and Hybrid SE Lead the Charge
Available in nine models, including three hybrid versions, the Camry’s resurgence is led by the addition of the new top-tier, sportier XSE model, starting at $27,990 MSRP; followed by the Camry XSE-B starting at $29,890, with a blind-spot monitoring system, garage door opener, a power moonroof, and an electro-chromatic rear view mirror with integrated compass; and finally, the Camry XSE 3.5-litre V6 with 6-speed automatic transmission starting at $33,650, adding premium navigation, 10-speaker JBL audio, the blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, and sleeker LED headlamps.
Essentially, the new XSE takes the current SE model to the next level with added luxury and driving dynamics, distinguished by a mesh grille and reworked fascia treatment, coupled with distinct shock absorbers, firmer bushings, higher rate coil springs, livelier EPS tuning, and XSE-specific 18-inch wheels.
In addition to the XSE, Toyota is offering a Hybrid SE model for 2015, combining ultimate fuel-efficiency with entirely new on-road capability with a huge boost in handling, from a new and retuned stability control system for a smoother drive to enhanced steering and a firmer stabilizer bar.
The Camry Hybrid SE starts at $29,635; the Camry Hybrid LE and Hybrid XLE start at $28,410 and $34,500 respectively.
Expressive New Design and Reworked Lighting
Forget everything you’ve known about Camry styling. Seriously. The new 2015 Toyota Camry is antithetical to the outgoing 2014 model. With nearly 2000 new parts, Toyota stripped the Camry to the chassis and rebuilt everything except the roof, producing a sedan with a premium, athletic look and a wider stance.
The previous rendition of the Camry was truly ambiguous — with a boxy rear end and a somewhat curvier front end treatment, nothing about the sedan really flowed nor did it seem to follow any design strategy. Simply, a best-selling vehicle with a lost identity. And what that says about the conventional Camry owner, I don’t know.
Fortunately, the all-new version truly is bold: now with a sleeker, more refined front end structure; stronger character lines running front-to-back; and a much more streamlined rear end, the new Camry’s overall length extends an extra 45mm while the front/rear treads get a 10mm boost. Plus, five new vibrant colours to chose from (nine in total).
The new 2015 Camry’s exterior lighting has been completely reworked as well. Gone is the fog light cover and the front signal lamp is now integrated into the bumper. The halogens are a new design while LEDs now add much needed dose of style and performance.
The sportier XSE and SE receive dark headlamps, while the XLE and XSE find LED daylight running lights with five LEDs per lamp and replacing the old fog lights. All V6-equipped Camry’s find LED headlamps. At the back, the rear wraparound style, combination lamps look both contemporary and clean without overdoing it.