It’s the family Camry
America’s most popular family car, the Toyota Camry has certainly gotten more handsome with each new rendition of exhilarating body lines, interior redo’s and mechanical updates. The 2015 four-door, front-wheel-drive Camry is a good-looking traditional sedan and, in V-6 XLE guise a fully equipped road-going chariot for five.
Dressed in silver (so as to make it invisible for our trip from Chicago to Indianapolis) with coordinated light gray leather interior, the 2015 Toyota Camry offers comfortable and safe passage for short trips and long. Its smooth 3.5-liter twin-cam V-6 engine has 268 horsepower at 6200 rpm with 248 lb-ft of torque at 4700 rpm, helping midrange capabilities. Redline is 6500 rpm. Stirred through a traditional floor-shiftable six-speed automatic transmission, the Camry gets underway smoothly and with spirit and has good passing capabilities to get around the anti-destination league.
Fully independent MacPherson struts and dual link suspensions boast antiroll bars at both ends of the chassis, which is steered through an electric power rack-and-pinion system that has the customary vagueness at true center; the steering wheel allows tilt/slide adjustments to help the driver find a comfortable position. Ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes handle stopping with aplomb; when brakes aren’t noticeable, that’s a good thing. Bridgestone 215/55R 17-inch tires mounted on handsome 10-spoke alloy rims provide a smooth ride.
The cabin of the 2015 Toyota Camry XLE is business-like and, at once welcoming with blue, lighted door sills, which are just one of the many options that boost the list price (including freight) from $32,195 to a robust $35,649. For that one gets a plethora of safety, comfort and entertainment goodies. These include blind spot monitor with cross-traffic alert, a great 10-speaker JBL audio system with Toyota’s touch-screen navigation system, lane departure, dynamic radar cruise control, automatic high beams, pre-collision system (with panic alerts in the windshield), a nice little rear spoiler and all-season floor mats, among other inviting details.
My notes after nearly a week show that a firm touch is needed to work the one-touch window and dual control tilt/slide sunroof. The familiar Toyota cruise control stalk is on the right side of the steering wheel and there is a true proximity key, allowing one to keep the fob in-pocket without needing it at all. It’s possible to change the radar cruise control so that your speed doesn’t slow when three or four car-lengths away from the vehicle in front but the annoying red BRAKE light in the windshield certainly discourages any over-the-road draft-and-pass procedures.
There are a lot of hard plastics around the cabin of this four-door sedan, something that definitely cheapens it, but there are an awful lot of good things too, like air outlets for the rear seat passengers, a real temperature gauge, plenty of space in all four doors for cups and bottles, power seating controls for both driver and passenger (good lumbar control here), pulls for trunk and fuel access next to the driver’s door and seat heaters on a rheostat to make comfort the primary intent. There’s plenty of space for tall front and rear passengers and pockets in the seatbacks to hold extra gear.
The heavy hood is on struts, making it easy to lift and there are solid thunks to the doors, the hood and the trunk of this sedan. That trunk, by the way, holds an acceptable 15.4 cubic feet of whatever you’re taking along and there is a 60/40 rear seat fold to increase cargo capacity. The trunk has okay finishing with quite a bit of metal showing; I thought the XLE was supposed to be upscale? The trunk opens very high and, for a shortie it can be difficult to close.
This Toyota’s fuel tank holds 17.1 gallons, and with ratings of 21/31/25 mpg it’s easy to take long trips with the Camry without having to fill up terribly often. With around 8,000 miles on the odometer, this Camry is fully broken in and capable of producing that mileage or better with a relatively light right foot. I averaged about 28 mpg over my near-week of both highway and city driving, and only used regular unleaded, as suggested by the manufacturer.
There is covered tunnel storage between the seats but it does have a hard bottom; there’s also closed storage at the base of the central stack that houses an auxiliary plug. There’s also a USB plug in the cabin along with 12-volt plugs. The central screen opens with a split for audio/navigation, and it’s not terribly easy to see in direct sunlight. A simple tap on the screen you want brings it to full width. The leather-wrapped steering wheel controls audio from its left side, the easily pairable phone and info system from the right side. It’s nice to be able to access heating, air conditioning and ventilation controls for both the driver and passenger. The LED lights are excellent on poorly lit country roads.
This 3,460-pound sedan feels light and lithe, able to traverse country roads without seeming out of place. While the suspension is noticeably soft, it’s doubtful most Camry buyers are looking for anything else. What buyers will enjoy is a satisfying vehicle that will get them from A to B without any surprises, all wrapped in an enviably handsome package that should wear well over the years. As many Toyota Camry buyers keep their cars for a while, the Lexus-like looks of this newest Camry are certain to make them pleased with the choice they’ve made.
As for me, I prefer a sedan with a bit more personality and a more sporting feel. But I know this 2015 Camry V-6 XLE will please many with its skills as a car, its lovely entertainment capabilities and its enviable safety. What more do we want?
Words and Photos By Anne Proffit