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Will the 2015 Toyota Camry hand the number one spot to Accord by dropping the V6?

The new Camry is due for a full redesign. Will Toyota keep a V6 option for the Camry in 2015, or will it hand all the customers looking for an affordable sporty sedan the keys to a new Honda Accord V6?

The 2015 Toyota Camry may not be available as a V6, leaving the 2014 as the last of the V6 SE models so loved as “sleeper” sports sedans. Toyota is soon to redesign the world’s most popular four-door mid-size sedan and if it follows the trend will eliminate the V6 from the next generation, 2015 Camry. If it does, it will leave the Honda Accord alone to carry on the tradition of affordable, V6 power for working families.

If the 2015 Camry does quit on the V6 it will leave the Accord as the last V6 standing. The 2014 Honda Accord V6 is not only a rocket, it is also has a level of refinement typically found in the luxury nameplates like Acura and Lexus, as our Honda reporter, Parks McCants recently pointed out in his feature story. Although the V6 is not a popular option, Toyota probably only sells about 5% of its cars as V6 models, that still means there are about 20,000 bought by families looking for a family car that can also embarrass cars costing twice as much, say a BMW 528i, at a stoplight.

The 2015 Camry may become a true family car, like a large Corolla. That is not the end of the world, but it means that if the Camry follows the path of the RAV 4, and drops the V6, buyers will have to choose the larger Avalon if they want a sporty, fast sedan from Toyota. Even Lexus does not really offer an affordable choice. The IS350 is priced at least $10,000 higher than the Camry, and it is rear-drive and slightly smaller than the Camry. Most modern sports sedans are rear-wheel drive. That is great in the warmer states, but northern US customers know that if you have to have only one affordable car, front wheel drive is the way to go in terms of both traction in the winter, and also fuel economy.

The Camry started out as a four cylinder car, but that size and shape vehicle has been supplanted in the Toyota line by the excellent Corolla. If Toyota really wants Camry to be a step up it will have to offer more than the standard 2.5 liter 175 horsepower engine. That means it could be bringing a turbo, but that is not Toyota’s culture. Rather, Toyota is now in the habit of adding electrification to its cars and calling the new hybridized car the sporty model. Calling it sporty is the key phrase. None of them really are. The CVT, Atkinson cycle gas engine, and many other fuel sipping features rob the car of its gusto, regardless of what the specification sheet says the power is. The Honda Accord V6 offers both fuel efficiency and also power.

Toyota could do that too, but the trend is in the opposite direction.

We may be making too much of this, but over a glass of wine a Toyota employee told this writer that the new Camry would be a “big change” from the previous generation. Let’s hope there is still a sporty affordable Camry in the future, but we are cautiously pessimistic. If Toyota does neuter the Camry the buying public may opt to look to the excellent Accord for the 20,000 or so sporty family cars it needs. That might be the difference between Camry being number on in sales, and number two.


Patrick Rall    November 19, 2013 - 12:47PM

Taking the V6 out of the Camry option sheet will ensure that no one who likes to drive will buy one. People buy these cars for economy but some buyers still want something that offers an engaging driving experience...something that you cannot get from a low performance I4.

FusioptimaSX (not verified)    November 19, 2013 - 3:47PM

"The new Camry is due for a full redesign" No it's not! It was all new for 2012, 2015 will be the usual refresh with the all new model bring 2017/2018 (I've heard they are starting to do 6 year cycles of more vehicles).

John Goreham    November 19, 2013 - 4:08PM

First of all -You could be right :) However, the 2012 Camry changes were minor. The same 2.5 four cylinder engine and the same 3.5 V6 were available in the 2011 model. Same 6-speed automatic. Similar mileage numbers There were tweaks, but not major changes to the drivetrain. '12, '13, '14 is three full model years and my guess is that the 2015 will be a huge shift for the car. It is so uncompetitive on paper now Toyota almost has to act. The hybrid is really weak now by comparison to other competitors. It would be shocking if the 2017 Camry was the car we see in showrooms today. It would be a dinosaur.
Thanks for the comments Fusioptima. Do you have a son named Focuforte by any chance?

Brady Holt    November 20, 2013 - 1:51AM

In reply to by John Goreham

Toyota hasn't necessarily followed public opinion about whether a car needs to be redesigned. Look how long it kept the same Corolla in place. It was hated by the press when it came out as a 2009 model, lambasted as a warmed-over 2008, and *still* lasted a full five model years. As a strong seller at that, as the Camry is.

Certainly the Camry could use an update from a competitiveness standpoint, but I would be pretty surprised if Toyota is actually forced by the market to make that investment before the 2016 model year at the earliest and more likely 2017.

As to the V6, it would be a shame if it were lost. It'll come down to how well it's selling, and my understanding has been that it *has* done better in the Camry than in the RAV4. So let's hold out hope!

Let's also note that although the engines were carryovers for 2012, the four-cylinder was introduced midcycle in the previous generation.

FusioptimaSX (not verified)    November 20, 2013 - 4:34PM

In reply to by John Goreham

Must be coincidence, I don't have any children ;)

Anyways, sure, on paper MOST of the Toyota lineup is unimpressive, but sales say otherwise. They aren't doing an emergency refresh like Malibu and Civic (which didn't need it but was welcomed, as it was selling regardless).

What automaker changes a model after only 3 years (aside from discontinuation)?

For all intents and purposes the 2012 Camry was a redesigned model, regardless of how much is actually shared with the 2011 (2007-2011). Yes, most of the changes were cosmetic because they didn't feel the need to change anything else since it has been a successful formula for them.

If you are expecting any major shifts for 2015, keep dreamin'. We'll be lucky enough to get slightly altered headlights and tail lights if they are sticking to a 5 year cycle. So 2017 we'll see some cosmetic changes at the least, if they haven't moved to a 6 year for the Camry. They have the Hybrid sedan for lineup diversity, they really don't need it, but it's for those that don't want a Prius. I'm sure the Fusion Hybrid sells more, but it was the only Ford option besides the former Escape Hybrid (now C-Max)

Bill (not verified)    November 25, 2013 - 6:32PM

In the 80's Toyota used to have a BIG advantage over so called "Domestics" by changing their model cycle everyTHREE years...versus the normal 5 year cycle for Domestics. It kept the product fresher than the average vehicle. Now with a real Toyoda family member back in charge, it wouldn't surprise me at all if their cycle shortened again. I say YES, there will be an all new, re-designed Camry for 2015. The three year cycle is back...but for how long?

FusioptimaSX (not verified)    November 27, 2013 - 5:02PM

In reply to by Bill (not verified)

Every Camry in existence has had a 5 year cycle. I'm not talking about anything else, just Camry. Every Camry was new in years ending in either "2" or "7" and refreshed in years ending with "5" or "0".

There is no 3 year cycle for the Camry, nor will there probably ever be.

John Goreham    November 26, 2013 - 8:12AM

Thanks Bill. I was just about convinced I might be wrong about this, but you add some good perspective. I have a feeling Toyota won't wait and watch the Camry fall behind.