Proverbial wisdom says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” As the top-selling sedan in the country for more than a decade, the Toyota Camry would seem without fault, but while its reliability has been solid (the current recall notwithstanding), its looks were uninspired. On a recent test drive of the 2015 Camry XLE for Latino Traffic Report, the iconic midsize sedan sustained its expected on-road performance, but on the outside, a bolder design for the front bumper and grille and wider, sportier stance signaled change, and for Toyota, that’s a good thing.
The new Camry sits on a stiffer body structure, with additional spot welds to enhance rigidity. Better aerodynamics improve fuel economy while reducing interior noise, vibration, and harshness, i.e. it’s a quieter ride, plus a retuned suspension in all models enhances handling agility.
Toyota equips the 2015 Camry with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 178 horsepower and 170 lb.–ft. of peak torque. Matched with a six-speed automatic transmission, it should achieve an EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy of 25/35 mpg. I drove the 2.5-liter and averaged 27.3 mpg. I also engaged the Eco mode for more fuel efficiency. The Camry also comes with a 3.5-liter V6 as well as a hybrid version.
The new 4.2-inch digital color screen located in the instrument cluster provided a wide range of vehicle functions, including my favorite, the average fuel economy calculator. It also coordinates with the multimedia system to display audio, navigation, warnings and communications. It’s standard on all but the base (LE) model. I also appreciated that the Tire Pressure Monitoring System displayed the pressure for each tire, taking the hassle out of figuring out which tire is low.
There’s a 6.1-inch screen at the center stack for handling the Entune entertainment system. The test vehicle was upgraded with the optional seven-inch screen. Programming radio stations was fairly effortless and I appreciated that you can choose up to 36. I only needed 24 for Satellite Radio and 12 for FM.
The 2015 Camry offers advanced safety features like the Pre-Collision System, Adaptive Cruise Control or Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. While I’d prefer that one or more of these features were standard, adding them won’t hike up the price exorbitantly. The test model included the Blind Spot Monitor for a mere $500 extra.
All Camrys do come with a backup camera, remote keyless entry, cruise control, and stability and traction control among other features.
The XLE grade I drove also included the Safety Connect telematics system (with a one-year complimentary trial subscription) that covers four safety and security features: Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), and Roadside Assistance.
Creature comforts include Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls, a USB port, iPod integration, air conditioning, 60/40 split fold-down rear seat with center armrest with cup holders, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio and hands-free phone controls, and Entune Audio that includes the 6.1-inch display screen, AM/FM CD player and MP3/WMA capability.
The XLE added dual-zone climate control, push button start, heated leather front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Built in Georgetown, Kentucky it’s available in four trim levels, the XLE being the top of the line. Pricing for the Camry starts at $23,795. The as-tested price that also included the Convenience Package ($845) and Entune premium audio with navigation ($685) came to $30,779.
Sí: New looks on the outside and nice set of standard features.
No: On the XLE, more safety technology, like the blind spot monitor, should be standard.
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