The Toyota Camry is America’s best-selling car, but in the last few years the competition has been closing in on the reigning champion. For 2015 Toyota is giving the Camry a through and through refresh with a completely revised exterior, new interior and even better handling dynamics. Toyota is promising this is the best looking, most refined, and best driving Camry ever. But is this new car actually any more exciting than the old model, and are the improvements enough to leave the competition in the dust? Well I spent a week with the new car and tried to find out.
The outside of the Camry looks far nicer and more modern than the model it replaces, but the new styling does look more generic than it did before. The smoothly sculpted lines and sharp new front end makes the Camry look more exciting, but it also seems to borrow heavily from the Chrysler 200, so it looks far less unique.
The interior is another story all together, and I love what Toyota has done to spice up the cabin. The doors are covered in three-tone color treatment of black, dark beige and a lighter beige. The result looks far more upscale than the Toyota badge usually implies, and the material choices feel great. As the top-level trim XLE model, the interior equipment is great. There is an upgraded stereo with large screen and navigation, leather heated seats, and more. On the safety front, our car came loaded adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, backup camera and the full Toyota Star Safety system.
Under the hood of the new Camry is the same old 3.5-iter V6 that has been hanging around for 10 years now, still producing the same 268 horsepower. That number is not as impressive as it used to be, but the Camry still manages to feel sprightly in acceleration runs, and once the 6-speed automatic transmission drops a few cogs, the car can be surprisingly quick.
Handling for the new Camry has been pretty dramatically improved thanks to chassis that has been noticeably stiffened, and revised suspension tuning. When you hit the curves, the car the still exhibits some lean and roll, but it is far more subdued than in models past. The car feels more planted, more stable and all-together more confidence inspiring. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the steering or the brakes. Steering weight is good, and the rack responds quickly, but there is very little feel. The brakes can clamp tightly and bring the Camry down from speed quickly and efficiently, I found the pedal to be too soft, and it sapped my confidence.
Overall I have really enjoyed my time with the new 2015 Camry. It still may not look as good as the best of the class, but like always, Toyota has managed to take a very normal sedan, and given it just enough new magic to make it interesting. The pricing is fair, the equipment list is great, the drive is vastly improved compared to older models. I would love to see Toyota push to squeeze just a bit more power out of that engine, and a better brake booster would help, but overall the new Camry is something the guys and gals over at Toyota can be proud of.
The king still appears to be on top of the hill.