Ponte Vedra, Fla. — The Toyota Camry has long been one of the most popular vehicles in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. It has, for years, represented reliability, practicality and solid fuel economy.
While it hasn’t always represented cutting edge styling, it’s also never had an “ugly” period, as some long-standing models have. It’s always been pretty vanilla.
For the 2015 model year, though, Camry has gotten a makeover that’s pretty thorough. Toyota says it has changed or re-engineered nearly 2,000 parts.
Most notable are the new front bumper and grille, which take on a sportier look than ever before. There are also some flowing body lines that catch the eye for a moment.
But all in all, the redesigned Camry does not take a radical departure from its predecessor model. And that’s OK, because it remains an attractive, reliable, practical vehicle with good fuel economy. That’s what Camry buyers expect, and that’s what they’ll still be getting with this model.
Toyota didn’t just stop with the Camry’s looks, though. It touts the enhanced aerodynamics, more rigid body and reduced cabin noise that the new Camry boasts as additional improvements.
In driving the Camry, it was apparent that the ride quality has improved some in terms of responsiveness and road feel. These improvements will likely be noticeable to longtime Camry aficionados, but they’re also subtle enough that the casual, midsize sedan buyers who probably make up the bulk of Camry customers will not be turned off or alienated.
And speaking of those buyers, they are likely to love the new interior. It has taken on a look that is more upscale, but still not pretentious, putting the Camry in that sweet spot of near luxury with a reasonable price tag.
The center console is a technologically savvy hub that is neatly arranged and looks polished.
The storage area in the center has plenty of space and an innovative wireless charging system that works with certain smartphones.
If your phone is compatible, basically you just place it on the deck, touch a button, and it begins charging.
There’s a techy screen that gives you a range of information about how your vehicle is performing, such as tire pressure, warnings and navigation data.
Toyota went to great lengths to cut cabin noise also, with more robust door and window seals, a redesigned side mirror to cut wind noise and enhanced carpeting to deaden sound.
Now, it’s not as if the Camry was known for egregious interior noise before. But this even quieter model is pleasant.
Engine choices for the Camry remain a 2.5-liter four-cylinder or a 3.5-liter V-6.
And of course, the Camry Hybrid is still available, boasting fuel economy numbers of 43 mpg city, 39 highway.
The Camry is offered in 10 colors, including a pair of new ones: celestial silver metallic and ruby flare pearl.
With pricing that starts at around $24,000 and ranges to about $32,000, the Camry remains an affordable choice among midsize sedans.
It’s not hard to predict that with these changes, one thing that won’t change about the Camry is its popularity. It will remain among the leaders of the pack in its segment.