By Frank S. Washington
NNPA Columnist

DETROIT (NNPA) – The Toyota Camry has become iconic over the years. It stands for reliability, quality and service when something gets out whack and that doesn’t happen often. It has been the best-selling car in the market for 12 years.

In many ways, the family sedan’s toughest competition is from itself. Still, the competition has gotten better. For 2015, Toyota redesigned the Camry. The automaker changed everything, only the roof remained the same.

Camry styling has gotten more aggressive. The bumper and grille along with low profile headlights gave the car a far more distinctive face than past models. The car is also longer, a little bit wider and it had a more dynamic stance.

The body line was more pronounced, the taillights wrapped around into a tapered rear end, giving the Camry a sportier look. An accent line creasing the lower door pulled the car closer to the ground. The Camry can no longer be called dull or dowdy.

It is no secret that Toyota is trying to avoid the quagmire that befell many popular American sedans over the years, an aging owner base. In other words, the new Camry aims to attract younger buyers while holding onto current customers.

Our test car was powered by a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that made 178 horsepower and 170 pound feet of torque. It was mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine was really quiet, especially for a four-cylinder. It had enough power to move our Camry smartly. The transmission was buttery smooth and the build quality was sound. Toyota designers gave the Camry a new 4.2-inch TFT screen between the three dimensional gauges. It displayed a wide range of information including tire pressure.

There was not that much wind noise or road noise, even when we traversed the piece of road with the washboard surface, we can hear how well a car is put together and our Camry did nicely. You can also feel how well the suspension is tuned. The Camry’s was good. The 2015 Toyota Camry proved to be a solid sedan. The interior of our test car, we had the Camry XLE, was pretty nice.

Young or old, customers like tight fit & finish. If it is a sedan, there might be the occasional back seat passenger and the Camry could handle four adults easily. The back seats had plenty of headroom and there was really good legroom. But if a third person had to ride the hump, then it could get a little cramped.

We also thought that the polymer (read plastic) used throughout the car could have been a little bit better. It didn’t look cheap but it came close. Still, the car was full of creature comforts that were a bit surprising in this price range. Our test car had a sunroof, nothing overly special about that. But it also had blind side alert, collision alert and a lane departure warning system. There was a rear view camera with cross traffic alert, voice control and adaptive cruise control.

The car also had a smart key with push button start/stop and it was equipped with Toyota’s Entune App system. Of course, there was satellite radio, a navigation system and Bluetooth. There were heated front seats and heated side view mirrors as well.

We thought wireless charging as a $75 option was surprisingly reasonable. Still, it was a bit of a chore finding out whether our smartphone was compatible (we never did). However, as an owner, versus a test driver, a little patience would have revealed the information and you only need it once.

The $33,448 sticker as tested was quite surprising. It was very reasonable for a car that could only be called loaded with equipment. What’s more, it still remains one of, if not the premier four-door midsized sedan in the market.

Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.


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