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2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid

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The 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid Review: The Toyota Camry, introduced in 1983, has developed into America’s favorite midsize car. So, when Toyota’s management updates it every several years, they are generally cautious. The 2015 Camry, though, is probably the most adventurous one ever.

Retaining only the roof, but disguising it by adding a black panel behind the rear side window, the body is otherwise all new, and is a celebration of curves and sporty accents. The nose takes on the prevailing Toyota motif of squinting lights and gaping mouths, and shows a surprisingly fierce expression for a mainstream sedan. Wheels are trending larger overall; the smallest, on the base LE, are 16-inchers, while my tester wore 17’s. Upper-level Camrys boast 18’s.

Many of the changes to the Camry are on the inside, too. The last generation car was beginning to feel a little cheap, but this new one upgrades to nicer looking plastic surfaces, satin chrome trim accents, and French stitching on the dash and seats (stitching is expected these days). The upgrade includes a more elaborately developed center console, which stretches out a bit from its moorings, creating an interesting depth to the interior.

Besides looking more posh, the interior is quieter than before. The new, stiffer body structure adds more spot welds to the doorframe, enabling revised suspension tuning and use of a unique stabilizer bar, absorber valve structure and control arm bushings. My SE tester rode pretty firm for a daily driving family car, which perhaps matched more closely the more aggressive styling. I’m guessing that the XLE model feels a bit softer.

Contributing to the near silence are revised window and door seals to keep out wind noise, and there is more sound abating material in the carpet. They even tweaked the outside mirrors for smoother airflow.

As usual, you can select from the entry-level LE and move up through the SE, XLE and XSE grades and accumulate more comfort and convenience features and performance. The Hybrid model comes in LE, XLE and SE versions.

Not every midsize car offers a V6 anymore, but the Camry still does. It’s a proven 3.5-liter with 268 horsepower and 248 lb.-ft. of torque. The standard engine is a 2.5-liter four with 178 horsepower and 170 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s competitive for a 3,500-pound sedan these days.

My Blue Crush Metallic test car was the Hybrid model, which combines a 2.5-liter four with a 105 kW electric motor and a sealed nickel-metal hydride battery. Combined horsepower is 200, so performance falls somewhere between the four and the V6.  The Hybrid will go from 0-60 in 7.6 seconds, relatively quick for a midsize sedan with no racing intentions.

The real payoff of selecting the Hybrid is the significantly higher fuel economy and reduced emissions. The EPA rates it at 40 City, 38 Highway, and 40 Combined. I averaged a lower, but still good 34.5 mpg. Green scores are 7 for Smog and 9 for Greenhouse Gas.

Of course, the Camry Hybrid can’t match Toyota’s iconic Prius for fuel economy and Green numbers, but it does come from the company that knows how to build hybrids. Performance is absolutely seamless, and you really don’t know while you’re driving which power plant is doing the work. You can monitor it on the instrument panel or in the larger center console display, but the relevant thing for efficient motoring is to be aware of whether you’re charging or discharging the battery.

If you want to improve mileage, select the ECO mode, which optimizes throttle response and limits air conditioning output in favor of better fuel economy. You can also choose the EV mode for pure electric driving of up to about a mile and a half if you’re driving below 25 miles per hour. When I tried this, though, the instrument panel display told me I couldn’t do it. I expect it’s best for maneuvering in parking lots.

The Camry Hybrid in SE grade starts at $27,995, plus $825 for shipping. My tester also had the Entune Premium Audio with Navigation for $1,300, which sounded great in the deep quiet of the new Camry’s interior. It also came with a moonroof for $915, Remote Start for $499, and illuminated door sills at $299. These last two items would not be on my list of necessities. The total MSRP price was $32,133. The LE non-hybrid starts at $25,285, and the XLE tops out at $29,405 and both prices include shipping. And as of today the Hybrid model is the Camry of the future. By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net

The 2015 Toyota Camry Bottom Line Review provided by: 
Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net 

The Bottom Line: The 2015 Toyota Camry is one of America’s favorite midsize sedans and now boasts all new sheet metal and new upgraded interior accommodations, while still delivering the safety, entertainment, economy and reliability that buyers expect. All Camry’s for U.S. consumption are built in the USA, and much of the design work comes from the American studios, so despite its brand name, the Toyota Camry really is an American institution. And maybe, just for those reasons alone, you should Drive one, Buy one, Today ©. 
Bottom Line Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net

“Tony the Car Guy” is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at www.autowire.net  - And remember: “You Are What You Drive ©

 

 

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Column Name: The Camry is America’s favorite midsize car
Topic: The 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid
Word Count:  968
Photo Caption: The 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid
Photo Credits: Toyota Camry Internet Media
Series #: 2015- 015

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