2015 Toyota Camry XSE Review – Sporty Styling, Improved Performance
The words sporty and Camry don’t often go together, yet Toyota is working on changing this impression. With new styling upgrades, large engine, new sports-tuned suspension and technology improvements, the 2015 Toyota Camry XSE seems perfect for consumers wanting the Toyota reliability with some pizzazz. After our week of driving the car, we are mixed on the final results.
Before I begin, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out how important this vehicle is to Toyota. As Toyota’s Bill Fay likes to point out; “everyone has a Camry story.” For many people this is pretty accurate since you can find a Camry everywhere across the country. It has also long been a big seller to rental fleets, young families and is considered the quintessential point A to point B car to many. Yet, while this continual sales success has helped make the automaker consistently one of the largest in the world, new competitors, changing buyer habits and the trend toward more polarizing designs is pushing Toyota to take a fresh look at its bread-and-butter product.
A key part of this “fresh look” is in new trim levels designed to appeal to a new demographic of buyers. In the past, the base level – the cheap model – suited most buyer’s needs, yet new buyers want a little more pizzazz. They still want a reliable vehicle, yet they don’t want a boring, tan sedan any longer. Enter the XSE version of the Toyota Camry.
This Camry offers a many exterior styling upgrades over the base model like 18” machined alloy wheels with black painted accents, sporty grille, black-sport trimmed LED light bezels and dual chrome-tipped exhaust.
Plus, it offers a host of interior features like fun-to-use paddle shifters (not really necessary), 8-way powered driver seat, 4-way passenger seat, wireless charging, dual-zone climate control, leather-trimmed steering wheel with controls and a 7” touch screen with Entune and Navigation. These upgrades may not seem very attractive those point A to point B buyers, but for the next generation of buyers, a vehicle without these features is not on their target list.
Our test model did come with the optional technology package with a host of safety features and the upgraded Entune package. These upgrades are musts for anyone looking for a safe and technology rich sedan. Our favorite upgrade of the bunch has to be the dynamic radar cruise control which slows you down when you approach vehicles traveling below your set speed. It then smoothly speeds you up to your set speed after those vehicles move.
Sure it has fancy styling and upgraded interior options. What makes it sporty? Well, it has a sports-tuned suspension, the 3.5L V6 engine, sport mode (also ECO), red, sporty stitching throughout and those paddle shifters. This combination of equipment helps make the Camry faster, better able to hold corners and more fun to drive. Plus, the styling upgrades make it feel far less bland-like.
While being sportier, it still returns good fuel economy with EPA estimated 21/31/25 city/highway/combined MPG.
These upgrades do come at a price with our test model coming in at $35,668. This is pretty substantial considering the base model comes in at around $23,000. Yet, this pricing and styling is merely keeping up with the competition. For example, a well-equipped Hyundai Sonata comes in just a little less.
Overall, the XSE styling is an upgrade and I like the direction Toyota is going with this sedan. Yet, the performance, even in Sport mode, leaves something to be desired. The competition these days has all but abandoned the V6 engine and instead is focusing on faster-feeling, fuel sipping turbo-charged four cylinder engines. Toyota would do well to get a turbo-charged engine into this vehicle lineup ASAP.
Model – 2015 Toyota Camry XSE
Engine – 3.5L V6
Power, Torque – 268 HP and 248 lb-ft
Transmission – 6-speed Automatic
Fuel Economy – 21/31/25 MPG city/highway/combined
- Blind Spot Monitor – $500
- Entune Premium JBL Audio with Navigation – $805
- Technology Package – $750
- Special Color – $395
- Illuminated Door Sill Enhancements – $299
- Remote Start – $499
- Carpet/Trunk Mat Set – $225
Total MSRP – $35,668 with $825 delivery processing and handling fee
Filed Under: TundraHeadquarters.com