Autos

New 2015 Toyota Camry Struts Its Stuff in New York

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Here it is, the latest rendition of the country’s best-selling car for nearly every month and year for the past several years. The new 2015 Toyota Camry has debuted at the New York Auto Show, and right off the bat, we can point to some pretty badly needed improvements that were made.

Toyota itself has said in the past that the Camry was lacking a certain emotional element. It’s a decent all-around car with good mileage and numerous optional features, but exceptionally safe styling meant to cater to virtually anybody in the market for a midsize sedan.

Toyota says that the improvements made go well beyond the new exterior, as the company stripped the car down to the chassis and rebuilt it from there. On the outside, it’s apparent that Toyota used similar design language found in the new Corolla, largely around the lights and front grille setup. However, it remains unique — a derivative work that also has its own identity.

“Customers today love the durability, quality and value that the Camry represents, but they are looking for a little more style, comfort and performance, and this 2015 Camry has all of the above,” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations of Toyota Motor Sales USA, in the company’s statement. “This is the new Camry, and it’s coming from the new Toyota.”

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On the outside, the roof panel is the only component that’s shared with the current generation, Toyota says. Inside, the cheap, plasticky-feeling materials have been swapped out for some with a more premium feel and softer touch, according to the company.

The new Camry boasts a far more premium feel overall, just from the slight changes made to its sheet metal. The car has a lower-slung, more sporty profile, and more rounded edges and curvier styling help soften up the rigid character that made the previous generation so bland and uninspired.

Inside, extra insulation and improved door and window seals will make the 2015 Camry the quietest yet, shielding from unwanted wind and road noise. Spot welds were added to make the car more rigid, therefore improving handling and driving dynamics — a perennial weak spot for the Camry, at least in the past. The powertrain options remain the same as the previous generation.

While the improvements are great, it’s evident that Toyota still played it on the safer side with the design, which is appropriate for the segment. However, tastes are changing, and consumers are leaning more heavily toward sportier models that risk more with the styling, evidenced by the success of the new Ford Fusion. Whether the Camry will prove exciting enough to keep its place at the top of the segment remains to be seen, but it certainly adds some fire to the already hot and competitive midsize sedan market.