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2015 Camry gets an extreme makeover

The 2015 Toyota Camry borrows some stylish new clothes from the Corolla and Avalon. Will that be enough to keep ahead of the competition?

The 2015 Toyota Camry was unveiled today at the New York Auto Show. The new car is completely restyled, though we have seen most of the design elements before. From the photos it would seem the new Camry has taken the front end of the new Corolla and the rear end of the new Avalon. Not that there’s anything wrong with that...We just though the Camry would lead the design themes at Toyota and it seems it is instead following. Either way, the car looks great.

Introducing the new 2015 Toyota Camry, Bill Fay, Toyota Division Group Vice President and General Manager, said that this is the new Camry from the new Toyota. He went on to tell us that this new styling and design of the Camry is another example of Toyota’s adherence to the idea of “waku-doki.” Toyota says that in Japanese waku-doki means “heart-racing excitement.” Fair enough. In American English it means “crazy-ok.” The meeting where Bill was told this was the new catch phrase must have been a scene right out of Mad Men. Except Don Draper wasn’t there to steer Toyota back towards sanity.

The 2015 Camry is retuned by Toyota for excitement. The new exterior shares only one part with the 2014, the roof. The car is now also almost 2 inches longer and the wheelbase was stretched a bit to make the car have a wider stance. Inside the car is more upscale in pretty much every imaginable way. Toyota has added 30% more sound deadening material and made a new effort to further reduce wind noise. Soft-touch materials are now everywhere possible and the car can still be had with leather. The cabin looks just about perfect and from the photos it is difficult to find any area lacking. Most importantly, the XLE (luxury) and SE (sporty-looking) trims remain, but are also married now in a new trim called “XSE.” Toyota says that 45% of buyers selected the better-looking SE. Those buyers are also on average 12 years younger than the previous generation of Camry buyers, which makes them 88 (kidding). Joking aside, the SE is a much better looking car than the rest of the Camry line, so expanding that look to the luxury-laden version makes good sense. Select the powerful and smooth V6 and one can have a car that is playing above its pay-grade. Toyota is also adding the sport-look to the hybrid in a new trim called Hybrid SE. Toyota called this version eco-fun (jumbo shrimp, army intelligence - you get the theme). That is the good news.

The not so good news is that Toyota is leaving the engines and transmissions untouched from the 2011-2014 model years. That means Toyota will watch Honda, Mazda and other brands continue to increase their fuel economy lead over the Camry. In terms of hybrid fuel economy, the Honda Accord Hybrid is now about 15% better (47 MPG) than the Camry (41). For cars in this class that is a tremendous difference.

We are trying hard to put a happy face on this great looking new 2015 Camry, but it is hard not to notice that the competition is simply leaping ahead in drivetrain technology. Yes, the Camry is still the number one selling car. Is that due to the Camry’s overall awesomeness, or the company’s? Can that continue with just these styling improvements? Stay tuned.


mark (not verified)    September 1, 2014 - 1:08PM

Not so good news you say? It is great news that Toyota is staying with the same engine and trans. Direct injection engines and CVT's used in Accord and others aren't nearly as reliable and cost more to fix and maintain. Toyota knows that long term reliability and low cost of ownership means far more to customers than a few extra MPG's. The extra MPG's mean nothing the first time you have to fix or replace a CVT or have an expensive valve cleaning or other repair on a direct inject engine.
When you get to #1, like the Camry, you want to stay there. They understand very well what got them there.
The new body design on Camry is really nice, except for the gaping honeycomb whale mouth grill. It must test well in surveys.