Fast and Quiet?
Yep. A variation on Fast ‘n’ Loud is what most sedan shoppers actually prefer in their daily drivers, and the Camry XSE nails these benchmarks better than any other mid-size sedan.
Can you imagine how tough the Camry is on competing cars like the Accord and Fusion? As far as we see it, the Camry gets better and better every year — without one slot in the armor of this best-seller to sneak an arrow through?
The only area where the previous Camry let its competition get some ideas was with the overall exterior design, and perhaps the interior materials.
So what does Toyota pull from its secret Zelda-style quiver?
A near-complete redesign outside with every panel changed (apart from the roof), and an interior that is all about new infotainment, new levels of serene calm on the road, and new surfaces and fabrics at every touch and butt-point.
Not even the BMW 3 series dominates its segment as comprehensively as the Camry — which is better than ever for 2015.
We spent a few lovely days in the 2015 XSE range-topping Camry the other week, and came home thinking this was surely the perfect car for everyone. Perfect even for… gasp… this author who loves sportscars and AWD and turbos?!
Included here are two driving videos, a stereo demo video that is a must-hear — plus 100 new photos of the sexiest, smoothest and fastest Camry of all time: the 2015 XSE.
SO if one of the Camry’s weaknesses was exterior style, the new model adds carbon-kevlar body armor in the form of a relatively wild and expressive new design.
As you know by now, there are two overall themes for the Camry’s exterior style: the luxury LE and XLE models versus the sporty and gloss-black of the SE and the XSE.
This XSE does not require description that it is a V6, because that is the only engine offered in this top-flight trim level. A new nomenclature, the XSE is priced the same as the XLE V6 with a base of about $31,400.
What helps the XSE and the SE stand proud from the LE and XLE is a far cooler nose treatment. It is mad about lane-hogs and mad about gloss-black style. The flowing nose and chin forms an all-new face on these sporty Camry’s — which are best enjoyed with the all-LED lighting seen on this XSE V6. Here is the LED breakdown:
— All trims get an LED foglamp slash or an LED indicator blade in the lower corners
— the blinker of the loaded cars is the top portion of this white LED slash
— loaded trims like the XLE and XSE pack LED low and high-beams that are bright and crisp and matching across the entire nose.
As LED enthusiasts, we find the LED low and high-beams a worthy reason to pick to top trims. They bring a new-shape of lighting element to the lamp versus the rounded projector ball of the base lights. It really seems like a detail thing, but is a huge innovation in this staid segment. No other mid-size car offers LED low and high-beams at any price.
Out back, where you would expect to see LED brake lights, you find relatively underwhelming incandescent lighting, even in this top XSE trim level.
But the rear angle is now more planted with body-color accents throughout in the SE and XSE, plus wider and lower-profile tires and wheels that visual hunker the car down low and wide.
The interior of the new Camry is all about three things:
— quieter and smoother than ever before, with an estimated 10-percent drop in road noise, especially from the rear tires and around the front mirrors
— newly expressive interior trims and fabrics. The hypersuede black trims and red stitching of the XSE here is very NISMO-like in its sportiness, while that stitching is also the rear deal on the gearlever and numerous other places in the cabin. It brings a darker and cooler feel to the XSE versus the grey and tan color schemes of the other models.
— far better infotainment – with standard touchscreens all around at all trim levels. The premium Entune audio is offered with or without navigation — with a new seven-inch screen that is more responsive, offers swipe controls, and a new three-pane layout to let you see and control climate, audio and nav all without changing the screen mode. The single-pane and dual-pane setups are still available via a quick menu change.
The new JBL audio is an amazing upgrade — that thumps out audio with clarity and power that makes its $800 upgrade a must-have for music and audio aficionados. It is a seriously-amazing system for this price range, with 10 speakers in eight locations.
Check out the audio in the below video.
Other cool cabin enhancements? Wireless phone charging via a super-slim iPhone case, plus a new iMid screen between the gauges with lots of helpful information at all times.
The Camry XSE is fast. Despite being a carry-over engine and transmission, there is so much right about this 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed automatic combo that we are glad Toyota didn’t change it. They debated heading the new turbo routes, but found buyers like the reliable and always-ready power the V6 offers.
Despite making up less than 15-percent of Camry sales, those 15-percent with the V6 are enjoying a serious fast car. A sprint time of just about 6.0-seconds is an amazing feat for a best-seller like this Camry.
The new paddle-shifters are quicker and more responsive, while the all-new brake booster is a great addition. It makes the brakes have that endless and powerful stopping effect that inspires confidence. When you really hammer the Camry around corners in a bit of damp weather, some wheel-spin and understeer makes itself known, but overall the new steering and suspension programming are the best compromise in the mid-size sedan segment. Being a full 1.5-seconds quicker than any Sonata or Fusion goes a long way to healing any front-drive wounds.
2015 CAMRY PRICING
|2532||Camry LE||2.5 L 4-cyl.||6AT||$22,970|
|2546||Camry SE||2.5L 4-cyl.||6AT||$23,840|
|2540||Camry XLE||2.5L 4-cyl.||6AT||$26,150|
|2548||Camry XSE||2.5L 4-cyl.||6AT||$26,150|
|2550||Camry XSE||3.5L V6||6AT||$31,370|
|2554||Camry XLE||3.5L V6||6AT||$31,370|
|2559||Camry Hybrid LE||2.5L 4-cyl. Hybrid||E-CVT||$26,790|
|2561||Camry Hybrid SE||2.5L 4-cyl. Hybrid||E-CVT||$27,995|
|2560||Camry Hybrid XLE||2.5L 4-cyl. Hybrid||E-CVT||$29,980|
So, is the Camry XSE the perfect car?
By the odds of what any driver might need or want, the answer is a resounding Yes.
The new style is fresh and current and very eye-catching versus the outgoing cars, which is perhaps the biggest single improvement in an already-awesome car.
The smarter new stereo and infotainment are just icing on the cake for the 2015 Camry.
And for those who might not need this tire-shredding V6 power?
The XSE’s nose and dark-wheel style is also offered on the SE Hybrid, SE four-cylinder and SE V6.
But for the ultimate in fast, easy and beyond-perfect cars? The 2015 Camry XSE’s combination of strengths and almost-complete lack of faults is tough to beat at any price.
In the fierce round-table of midsize sedans, the Camry is still King Arthur.
Overall Letter Grade: A
The 2015 Camry arrives in dealerships nationwide in early November 2014.
2015 Toyota Camry XSE
See the colors and features over here…