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Still The Champ

Toyota's Camry delivers the goods in mid-size sedan market.

The Toyota Camry has dominated the highly competitive U.S. mid-size sedan market for almost two decades. For 2015, Toyota has raised the stakes against competitors with a complete makeover of the seventh-generation Camry, just three years after the last overhaul in 2012.

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For 2015, Toyota's Camry hybrid sedan combines stylish looks with great gas mileage. Toyota Motor Corporation photo

Gas powered models include the base LE, sporty SE and luxury XSE. They also all have hybrid gas/electric versions. We test drove the SE Hybrid, which, at 40 mpg, can squeeze more than a 600 miles on one tank of gas.

Its base cost is slightly more than $4,000 higher than its gas-powered counterpart, but at least some of that cost is recouped with fewer trips to the gas pumps.

The new Camry has already won a slew of awards for safety, redesign, value, and predicted reliability. According to Toyota, more than 90 percent of all Camry's sold the last 10 years are still on the road today. Both insurance industry and government crash tests gave the 2015 Camry top marks.

The exterior redesign includes all new bodywork. The front grille has a large, black-mesh air intake above a chrome strip with the Toyota logo. Eighteen-inch alloy wheels add to the stylish looks.

Toyota says it changed or re-engineered 2,000 parts, and one result is a quieter car. Side sculpting, along with a slightly rising beltline, provides on-road eye candy that replaces Camry's past vanilla look.

Inside, refined elegance shows in easily reachable controls and soft door panels. Purchase the $1,300 EntuneTM premium audio package and get color photos of recording artists as their music is playing on the seven-inch dashboard screen. EntuneTM is Toyota's multi-media interface that allows numerous owner configurations (although it failed to connect several times before our linking with Bluetooth).

Seating is more comfortable and feels more spacious, thanks to an additional 1.8 inches in length. Trunk space is adequate and contains a spare tire. The 60/40 fold-down rear seat is roomy and sports an armrest with cupholders.

Behind the wheel, a refined suspension provides a comfortable ride with handling feeling precise and solid.

Acceleration is very satisfying for a hybrid and drivers can choose ECO mode to maximize mileage.

Likes: Mileage, looks, interior comfort, handling, ride, quieter ride
Dislikes: Bluetooth connections
Bottom Line: Going green is now more stylish and more comfortable.

Tom Crosby is a contributor from Charlotte, N.C.

September/October 2015 Issue


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