More Style, More Stuff – Not Much Excitement
Toyota‘s Camry has come to define what millions of Americans think of as the “family car”. Tastes do change however, and after many years as the best-selling car in the US, the Camry started to slip in the sales and ratings races. Always looking ahead, Toyota was ready for 2015 with a faster-than-usual style and feature fix in hopes of putting the Camry back on top. This new model incorporates all the essential goodness of the previous generation and attains a new level style and value. If you are in the market for a practical, comfortable and perfectly sensible sedan, the new Camry is ready and waiting.
The entry level Camry offers a high level of standard equipment for a reasonable price. More Camry for less money is at the core of Toyota’s strategy to get back to number one.
The revised styling updates what was a pretty dull looking car into the realm of sorta OK modern, but not too gee-wizzy. A marine life face is pasted on to the same basic body shell, with tacked on quarter windows that visually alter the roofline to a more flowing curve. Thankfully few gratuitous creases and dents grace the body, and overall the 2015 is a lot better looking than the previous generation, if not leading the class in any fashion. It’s a “nice” looking car.
The Camry’s base four-cylinder is priced at $22,970, a very competitive figure in the segment, and the entry-level Camry is a solid value. Start adding bling and things and you can get well over $30K for what is, in essence, the same car.
When it comes to driving, the 2015 Camry mimics the feel of a more expensive luxury sedan. The four-cylinder engine is no slouch and provided an average of 27 mpg. The sophisticated four is remarkably smooth and provides very acceptable performance. The Camry’s automatic transmission shifts imperceptibly and delivers a true-luxury experience. The chassis is soft around town and relaxed on the freeway. It’s not very sporting, but it cannot be embarrassed. The Camry will cover a lot of ground without grinding you up, but you won’t mistake its front-wheel drive handling quality for anything from Europe. It’s now mildly sportier, but not really a car for serious enthusiasts.
The Camry’s interior works very well, is nicely trimmed and one of the quietest you’ll find anywhere. It is also remarkably spacious, and feels like a truly large car. In keeping with Toyota’s reputation for durability, the Camry’s interior features excellent materials that will keep looking good for a long time. That said … it is not very fancy or upscale. The 6.1″ touchscreen offers graphics that are hardly attractive, let alone slick. Everything works OK and all the expected features are in place … just don’t expect to be impressed very much. Seats were comfortable, but not exceptionally so in my case at 6′ 1″, the lower cushions feeling a bit short and the angles never seeming to find a perfect adjustment. Other physiques may fit better. The rear seat was quite nice, with ample stretch out room and good contours. The trunk is commendably large and well suited to family vacations. From a family car perspective the 2015 Camry delivers a useful, attractive and very functional package at a popular price.
This kind of balance of performance, value and utility is what it takes to become a successful mainstream car. The Camry, in any form, is a smooth, refined and fairly powerful car with a pleasant personality. It looks sharp, drives well and comes in at a very happy price. Add in Toyota’s excellent reputation for reliability and resale value, and you can see why the Camry is one of America’s favorites … if not one of mine. I’d prefer something with a bit more edge like the Mazda 6, to cite one example.
• dean seven