Plastic surgery, angioplasty, plastic surgery and other bodily enhancements can only make an individual look better. But, beneath the newly sculpted skin, the skeletal structure remains the same. In the auto industry, the same conditions also exist. When a current car model gets a mid-cycle refresh, the manufacture just updates the body design while the chassis and the powertrain remain the same as the previous version and this is the case with the recently updated 2015 Toyota Camry lineup.
An all new Camry was released in mid 2006 as a 2007 model and was available in CE, LE, SE, and XLE trims. The base engine in the Camry was a 2.4 L 4 cylinder engine which produced 155 horsepower and 158 lb.ft. of torque and was mated to a five speed automatic transmission. In the CE and LE trims, the 4 cylinder engine came standard with a five speed manual and in the LE trim, the five speed automatic transmission was offered as an option. For those wanting a little more oomph from their Camry, the optional engine was a 3.5 L V6, which produced 268 horsepower and 248 lb.ft. of torque and was mated to a standard six speed automatic transmission. This engine was available as an upgrade in the LE, SE, and XLE trims.
In order to remain the king in the heavily contested mid-size sedan segment, Toyota mildly updated the Camry in 2010 with new headlights, taillights and other improvements both inside and out. With the 2010 update, the base CE trim was dropped from the line up and all entry level Camry shoppers were now treated to the better equipped LE trim with the 4 cylinder engine. For 2010, the displacement of the 4 cylinder engine was bumped from 2.4 to 2.5 L and this increased the horsepower ratings from 155 horsepower to 169 horsepower and the torque figures jumped from 158 lb.ft to 167 lb. ft. For the three-pedal fans, the standard five speed manual was replaced with a six speed manual transmission unit in the LE and SE trims. The optional 3.5 L V6 was a carryover from the previous model and came standard with a six speed automatic transmission.
This finally brings us to the car in today’s spotlight, the 2015 Camry. For this year, Toyota engineers completely overhauled the Camry’s design, both inside and out. Outside, the new Camry receives new body panels all around and the only carryover panel from the 2007 Camry is the roof. Also for 2015, a sportier XSE trim joins the usual LE, SE, and XLE trims in the Camry lineup. The base engine in the new Camry is the same 2.5 L 4 cylinder engine, but with some minor tuning, the Toyota engineers increased the power figures from 169 horsepower to 173 horsepower and the torque figures increased from 167 lb.ft to 178 lb.ft. Unlike the two previous iterations of the Camry, the 2015 Camry finally dropped the manual transmission from its lineup and now all engines come standard with a six speed automatic transmission. Like the two previous iterations of the Camry, the optional engine remains the tried and tested 3.5 L V6, which still generates 268 horsepower and 248 lb.ft of torque (why mess with something when it is not broken, right?).
For 2015, Toyota engineers spent a lot of time in the area that matters the most for the consumers, the interior. Compared to the previous interiors, the new one has a more premium feel with soft touch materials all around and an overall interior layout which is designed to please not only the driver, but all of the other occupants as well. If technology is something you want, the new Camry has a lot to offer. For a full rundown on all standard and available features in various trim levels, checkout the Camry’s configurator by clicking here.
For 2015, the Camry comes standard with a lot of active and passive safety features. Optional active features include blind spot monitoring, rear view camera and rear cross traffic alert among other features. Regardless of the trim level, every Camry comes standard with ten airbags and front seats which are designed to protect the occupants in any frontal or side impact situations.
The Camry was designed with comfort in mind and the new version is no exception. The front seats have enough support to keep the driver and passenger comfortable during long journeys and are designed to fit people of various waist sizes. The back seats in the Camry are wide enough to accommodate three adults of medium build over short to medium journeys. Behind the rear passengers, the trunk has enough cargo capacity to carry the luggage of the five occupants.
Even with all the exterior and interior upgrades over the years, the one simple fact is that the 2015 Camry is still based on the chassis which debuted in 2007. This means that the new Camry still rides like a marsh mellow and the suspension tuning in the non SE and XSE trims is really hopeless. Compared to the previous Camry models, the brakes in the new Camry feel more responsive and the pedal feel is really solid. The steering feel in the new Camry is the same as the previous versions, which means that the driver still does not know what the front wheels are doing and this is not a good thing.
Even though the Camry is based on an eight year old chassis and underpinnings, it still remains the king of the midsize sedans thanks to its comfortable and spacious interior and for the build quality that Toyota is known for. Until Toyota engineers develop a new chassis, I highly believe that the Camry’s reign as the king of midsize sedans is numbered as its competitors are clearly eating into its sales figures. But, thanks to the reputation the Camry has built over the years among its loyal owners, there is no doubt that the Camry will remain the king of the midsize sedans for years to come.
Information sourced from Toyota Motor Cars USA.