2015 Toyota Camry XSE V6
Miles Driven: 389
Fuel Used: 18.5 gallons
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
Real-world fuel economy: 21.0 mpg
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 21/31/25 (city, highway, combined)
Base price: $31,370 (not including $825 destination charge)
Options on test car: Blind-spot monitor ($500), premium-audio system with navigation ($805), Technology Package ($750), special color ($395), illuminated door sills ($299), remote start ($499), floor and trunk mat set ($225)
Price as tested: $35,668
The great: Sportier than expected, rewarding steering feel
The good: Camry room, comfort, refinement intact
The not so good: Traditional Camry buyers will find the ride overly firm
After driving the new XSE version of the 2015 Camry, it’s apparent that there’s a little more flair to Toyota’s consistently solid-selling midsize sedan than it has been given credit for in the past. There’s something a little more daring about the Camry’s looks and driving behavior—not drop-dead sexy but at least a tad more risqué than its reputation.
It’s like dear, sweet Mom choosing to start going around with a second button undone on her blouse.
Though still based on the 2012-generation Camry, the ’15 has been restyled from rockers to roof—well, almost. The roof panel is the only stretch of sheetmetal on the car that hasn’t been touched. There’s a bolder grille design and a bit more sculpting on the bodysides.
Behind the wheel of the XSE, drivers will find responsive, engaged steering and ride. (Each Camry model gets its own shock tuning, and the XSE comes with sport-tuned suspension calibrations.) Don’t worry though—the ride is still plenty comfortable.
The XSE is one of two 2015 Camrys available with a choice of 4-cylinder or V6 power. The 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 in the car that Consumer Guide® tested is nothing new, but it is a lively engine with plenty of power. It’s quiet and smooth, too, and it has a silky 6-speed automatic transmission for a partner. A little less impressive, at least in this driver’s experience, was fuel mileage. In a stint of 248.7 miles, 64 percent of which were under city driving conditions, I averaged a so-so 21.61 mpg. EPA estimates for the Toyota V6 are 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway.
Interior appointments are a little edgier in the XSE. Ultrasuede material covers the faces of the leather seats and the center of the doors. Red contrast stitching and satin-chrome accents add visual interest. XSE front seats have an added degree of side bolstering compared to some other Camrys—again in keeping with the model’s “sporting” aspirations—but this does nothing to diminish their long-haul comfort. Rear seats make for pleasant perches, too.
Soft-touch surfaces are evident on the tops of the doors and dash, but there’s still much hard plastic around the cabin. Standard fare for the XSE includes a 7-inch touchscreen, navigation system, Toyota Entune infotainment system with app suite, back-up camera, and a thin-film-transistor driver-information display between the main dials. Instruments—both real and virtual—are easy to see and use.
Head room and leg room are generous front and back. In a pinch, 3 adults could fit shoulder-to-shoulder in back. (Center-position head room is close, but the driveline hump is minimal, making things easier for feet.) Visibility is pretty good to all directions. The console has a small covered space under the instrument panel with digital-device and power plug-ins, two open cup holders, and a decently sized cubby under the arm rest. There’s also a wireless phone charger built into the console in some models, including the XSE that CG tested. The glove box is wide and pretty spacious. Doors front and rear have modest storage pockets, but they do include bottle holders. Rear-seat passengers can avail themselves of pouches on the backs of the front seats.
For larger cargo, the trunk opening and liftover are sized right for easy loading. The trunk floor is wide and flat. Rear seats fold in a 60/40 split, but they don’t fold very flat, and the opening between the trunk and back-seat area is somewhat restricted by structural hardware, which will limit loading certain objects.
The XSE V6 starts at $31,370. In addition to its distinct chassis and interior features, it comes with black-accented 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlamps with black bezels, a color-keyed rear spoiler, dual chrome-tipped exhaust outlets, heated exterior mirrors, power moonroof, a leather-trimmed steering wheel with thumb controls for audio and Bluetooth functions, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an automatic-dimming rearview mirror with compass.
That wasn’t all that was on CG’s test example—not by a long shot. A lot of the technology features that are finding their way into more and more cars were added at extra cost to this Camry: blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert, upgraded JBL audio system, voice recognition, satellite radio, traffic and weather alerts, pre-collision intervention, lane-departure alert, dynamic-radar cruise control, and remote start. Other items that ran the final tab with delivery to $35,668 were illuminated door sills and a carpeted floor mat/trunk mat package (both technically dealer-installed accessories), and Ruby Flare Pearl paint. If that seems like a lot, don’t forget the Camry’s record for reliability and solid resale value. They have been integral and welcome elements of the car’s reputation, too.