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2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE Review by John Heilig +VIDEO

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2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid

By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel


REVIEWED MODEL: 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE
ENGINE: 2.5-liter I-4
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 156 hp @ 5,700 rpm (200 net hp)/156 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm
WHEELBASE: 109.3 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 190.9 x 71.7 x 57.9 in.
TIRES: P215/55R17
CARGO: 13.1 cu. ft.
ECONOMY: 40 mpg city/38 mpg highway/34.1 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 17.0 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,565 lbs.
STICKER: $32,987 (includes $825 delivery, $4,167 options)

BOTTOM LINE: It’s a Camry, so by definition it is a good, solid midsize sedan with very good economy. There are no surprises.

There’s a reason the Toyota Camry has been a top-selling sedan for so long. It’s a solid mid-size that gives exactly what you expect. The hybrid version gives even more with its excellent fuel economy.

The 2014 redesign didn’t excite too many people, but the 2015 refresh is different. For one thing, up front there is a huge grille in the Audi/Mitsubishi style. There aren’t a lot of other major changes, but the grille is the big one. It looks as if it wants to grow up to be a Lexus-style grille with spindles, but that is to be seen.

Camry has a very comfortable interior. A driver and passenger almost feel as if they are ordering at a Cracker Barrel – it’s the automotive equivalent of comfort food.

Camry is a comfortable, quiet rider. I have many times commented about how disconcerting it is when you push the start/stop button on a hybrid, there is no start-up sound, just a “ready” light on the dash. One would assume that owners learn to cope more easily than I do. The hybrid engine combination (200 net horsepower with 156 hp contributed by the gasoline engine) offers good power. However, with the fuel economy gauge sitting right in front of me, I was reluctant to tromp on the accelerator except when it was absolutely necessary.

Handling is good. Camry isn’t a race car, but you also won’t lose control in cornering, either. More importantly, if you enter a corner too quickly, the Camry will protect you from making a complete fool of yourself.

Front seats have some side support. The rear seats are comfortable and offer good leg and knee room with a flat middle floor to make a rider there more comfortable.

With the hybrid, the instrument panel has an eco/power and a water temperature gauge on the left, replacing the tachometer on the standard Camry. The speedometer is on the right with an information panel in between my favorite screen on the info panel gave outside temperature, average fuel economy (which was a nice 34.1 mg but nowhere near the EPA estimates), current fuel economy and odometer.

In the center of the dash is a clear audio/navigation screen. The HVAC system is simple, just above a large cubby at the base of the center stack. Overall, I feel the dash is nicely designed.

I found the black and gray interior (Toyota calls it ash and black) very restful. The exterior on our tester was “Blue Crush Metallic,” which was a bright blue that drew several comments from people in parking lots.

Another feature I liked was the overhead lights that have a clearly labeled “door” switch. Often, when the car I’m driving doesn’t have lights that turn on with the open doors, you have to play around with the switches and often as not, they either don’t turn off or, worse, don’t turn off.

There were some features about the Camry that didn’t excite frugal me. For example, among the options, $915 seemed a bit much for a tilt and slide moonroof. We almost never use them. Door sill lighting is another $299 that seems a waste. Remote start is $499, which one can live without, but the four season floor mat package at $325 is especially useful when the season is a snowy winter, as we have been subjected to in the northeast this year.

As ever, the 2015 Toyota Camry is a solid vehicle that will please any buyer. We spoke with one women who said, “Yes, this will be my next car, as soon as there are used ones available.” She has owned two (used) Camrys to date with more than a quarter of a million miles total and can’t see any reason to change now. I don’t blame her.

2015 The Auto Page Syndicate