NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

2015 Toyota Camry Preview

By: Jeff Youngs, 4/22/2014
Fast Facts:
  • New XSE and Hybrid SE trim levels
  • Updated interior and exterior
  • Improved cabin materials
  • Powertrains carried over from 2014
  • Optional wireless charging station
  • Retuned chassis
  • 2-year/25,000-mile free scheduled maintenance
  • Goes on sale in United States in late 2014

Introduction
Toyota's best-selling 5-passenger Camry sedan gets a significant makeover for the 2015 model year. Sporting a fresh new look with added technology features, the new Camry also offers improved handling and what the company claims are higher-grade interior materials. Gas and hybrid models will continue to be offered, while two new trim levels expand the lineup to a total of seven variants.

Exterior Features
Like the recently redesigned Corolla, the 2015 Toyota Camry wears sportier, more aggressively styled sheet metal compared with its former self, highlighted by sleek headlights and LED daytime running lights, sculpted lines on the car's hood and flanks, a prominent grille, and a reshaped front bumper that resembles those found on new Lexus models. Toyota claims the 2015 Camry's exterior is completely new, with the exception of the roof panel. In the transformation process, the sedan has been stretched nearly 2 in. in length, though its track was widened by less than half an inch.

Buyers will have their choice of gas or hybrid LE and XLE trims; the former also comes in base L, sporty SE, and new-for-2015 XSE versions, while the latter can be ordered in SE guise (first introduced as a 2014.5 limited-edition variant). Camry SE and XSE models add features including a mesh grille and unique alloy wheels.

Interior Features
In an effort to give the 2015 Camry a more premium feel, Toyota focused on decreasing cabin noise and trimmed the cabin in soft-touch materials. Depending on which trim level is selected, occupants will find themselves sitting on cloth-, leather, or ultrasuede-clad seats. Designers have also worked to up the convenience factor by incorporating greater center-console storage and a 4.2-in. informational display screen within the gauge cluster.

From a styling perspective, the 2015 Toyota Camry's interior hasn't changed significantly, though a keen eye will notice the elimination of the dash-top clock, redesigned steering wheel controls, and an updated instrument panel.

Toyota has not released details about standard features, but expect highlights such as Bluetooth connectivity and the touch-screen infotainment system to be carried over, along with navigation for the XLE.

Optional Features
For 2015, the most notable new option is a handy wireless charging station that should help drivers and passengers keep their overworked smartphones topped off. This feature debuted on the Toyota Avalon and is also being featured on new Lexus models. Auto-leveling LED headlights, once reserved for pricey luxury cars, are another upgrade to be offered on the 2015 Camry.

Under the Hood
Though Toyota has done a fair amount of tweaking to distinguish the front-wheel-drive (FWD) 2015 Camry from its predecessor, the company didn't make any changes to the powertrains. The base engine will continue to be a direct-injection, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that produces 178 horsepower and 170 lb.-ft. of torque. Those who crave greater performance can instead opt for an available 3.5-liter V-6 that delivers 268 horsepower and 248 lb.-ft. of torque. Both are mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The Camry Hybrid is equipped with a 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine that's joined by a 105-kW electric motor, 650-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Net output is 200 horsepower.

While no adjustments were made under the hood, Toyota did re-engineer the Camry's chassis to improve handling and bolted sport-tuned components to the XSE. The Hybrid SE's underpinnings have also been specifically calibrated to provide a more engaging experience behind the wheel, according to Toyota.

Fuel Economy
EPA figures are not currently available for the 2015 Toyota Camry, but given the lack of updates under the hood, fuel economy should mirror or closely resemble 2014's estimates. As expected, the Camry Hybrid proves to be the most miserly with expectations of 43 mpg in the city, 39 mpg on the highway, and 41 mpg combined, according to the EPA. Next is the base 4-cylinder engine, rated at 25 mpg around town and 35 mpg on the freeway. The least efficient option is the 3.5-liter V-6, which should average 21 mpg and a respectable 31 mpg on the highway.

Safety
As this preview is written, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has published crash-test results for the redesigned 2015 Toyota Camry. The outgoing model earned top marks from both organizations, thanks in part to features including 4-wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, front active head restraints, and 10 air bags.

Technology
While they may not have a direct impact on crash ratings, a number of available technologies serve to enhance the safety of Camry occupants, as well as those outside of the car. These include intelligent cruise control, a rearview camera, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring system, and rear cross-traffic alert.

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