2015 Toyota Camry XSE Review – Sporty Styling, Improved Performance

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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.

2015 Toyota Camry XSE Review - Sporty Styling, Improved Performance

The XSE version of the Toyota Camry offers this unique color and stylish wheels along with black accents.

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.

2015 Toyota Camry XSE Review - Sporty Styling, Improved Performance

The seats are lined with the red stitching to distinguish them from other models.

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.

2015 Toyota Camry XSE Review - Sporty Styling, Improved Performance

The red-stitching in the cabin helps reinforce the sporty feel.

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.

2015 Toyota Camry XSE Review - Sporty Styling, Improved Performance

Equipped with the more powerful V6 engine, the Camry is much more fun to drive while still returning good fuel economy.

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.

2015 Toyota Camry XSE Review - Sporty Styling, Improved Performance

From the rear, the XSE is pretty similar to other Camry models.

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


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  1. hemi lol says:

    Did you drive this thing Tim? This car is Toyotas biggest secret IMO. the V6 Camry has BRUTAL power despite the “Camry” nameplate lol…… they do an 0-60 in 5.7 seconds and from highway speeds theres not too many cars out there that will get away from a camry V6. I’m surprised not to read some comments like this from you with this car……

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Well of course I drove it. LOL.

      And yes, it is fairly fast. However, it doesn’t have “fly back in your seat” feeling other turbocharged engines do in this segment. Yes, it is much better than the stock four cylinder, I just think a turbo is the way to go here.


      • hemi lol says:

        yeah but who cares about the “turbo” feeling if the camry is faster? I would rather it be faster than feel like it…… lol to each there own on that one I suppose.

        • Tim Esterdahl says:

          LOL. Good point. I don’t know. Maybe I drive too many different cars these days, but I just wasn’t as impressed with the off the line speed as in other vehicles. On paper the Camry maybe just as fast, in reality, I felt it wasn’t.


  2. bryan baker says:

    Test drove one a few months ago and i was really impressed. We were looking to upgrade our 2012 Kia optima ex turbo and i had to try this out and bring it to the wife.

    While she was impressed with how it drove, it lacked features, wasn’t as “sexy” looking and toyota wouldn’t drop the price like Kia did on a 2015 Optima SX turbo (both MSRP for the same price here in canada). So we got a new Kia

    • Brian says:

      This 2015 Camry is real nice, and I love the changes to the interior, but the Kia you got is a nice ride as well. I honestly don’t know which I’d choose if I had to pick between the two.

      • Bryan Baker says:

        Price was the biggest factor for me, if i could of got the camry for the relatively the same price as the kia, i would of chose the Camry due to reliability, though KIA has really up its game there too

  3. Speedster says:

    I just got a Camry XSE 4 cylinder to replace my Mazda 3. I love it. I wanted the 4 cylinder because it’s plenty of motor for this car, and I wanted the fuel economy. I almost bought a 2012 that I used for a couple of trips, but went with the new one because of the 0% financing and $750 rebate. I was able to get amazing mpg out of the 2012, so I’m expecting even better fuel economy out of the new one once it breaks in a little bit.

    I would agree with Hemi, that the V6 is a fast motor, and very fuel efficient, but I wanted better efficiency. I don’t drive that fast anyway.

    You can’t beat Toyota reliability and resale value. I’ll drive this for 5 years, and by then my son will be ready to drive, so it will be his. I told him that he’ll be pretty cool as a freshman rolling in the Camry XSE.

  4. T says:

    Honestly, I am waiting for either the TRD Camry or the MazdaSpeed6. I was going to get a new Tundra ;however, that boat has sailed. Toyota has the Aurion in Australia which might be an indicator of what we can see from a TRD Camry. Between the Speed6 and TRD Camry the choice my be a hard one.


  5. DJ says:

    In our dry climate that fabric on the seats would be a static electricity factory when wearing dress clothes. Better touch something metal before you fill up!

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