Sporty XSE retains Camry qualities

The XSE is a sportier version of the 2015 Toyota Camry. (Bud Wells photo)

The XSE is a sportier version of the 2015 Toyota Camry. (Bud Wells photo)

“The sportiest Camry yet,” Toyota says of its new 2015 XSE sedan.

It does have a stiffened sport suspension and 18-inch wheels; in reality, though, it’s simply another model that reinforces Camry’s rank as one of the finest of family four-doors.

I remember years ago driving a Toyota Supra Turbo – that one was sporty. I wrote of it, “This 320-horsepower, 6-cylinder dynamo will get you from Franktown to Castle Rock in about five blinks. I’m talking wide-awake blinks, of course; sleepytime driving isn’t permitted in a car of this type.”

The front-drive Camry today is the best-selling sedan in the U.S.

Adding appeal to the XSE’s ruby flare pearl finish are a wide black-mesh grille and redesigned headlights and taillights. The Camry’s overall length of 190.9 inches is within a half-inch of matching those of the Ford Fusion and Mazda6.

Mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, Toyota’s 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine turns out decent, smooth performance. Standard offering for the Camry is the 178-hp, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, which earns an EPA mpg estimate of 35 on the highway.

I averaged 26.8 mpg with the V-6, which is rated at 21 in town and 31 on the highway. The V-6 operates adequately and quietly in low-range demands. The XSE rides on Michelin P225/45R18 tires.

Positions of the brake and accelerator pedals near the same level gave me opportunity twice on the highway to experience Toyota’s Smart Stop technology. As my foot touched both pedals at cruising speed, the vehicle’s speed quickly dropped 15 miles per hour from an immediate cut in engine power along with the light touch of the brake. It is noticeably effective, designed to help bring the vehicle to a stop. The feature is standard on the Camry for 2015. Smart Stop engages in the event of simultaneous brake and gas pedal applications, with immediate reduction of engine power to idle.

Inside, the Camry dashboard is stylish with the look of a leather overlay, stitched in red, and the seat inserts are of microsuede with good comfort. Touchscreen usage for a 7-inch display set is fairly simple and reaction is quick; audio channel listings are larger than many of those in competitive makes. The system includes navigation with traffic and weather, a USB port and Bluetooth.

The rear seating area is very roomy and the trunk is of 15.4 cubic feet, enough to hold family luggage.

The Entune premium audio, rearview camera, blind-spot monitor, lane-departure warning and automatic high beams pushed price of the Camry XSE to $35,668 from a base of $31,370.

Here are the specifications for the ’15 Toyota Camry XSE V-6:

 

  • Capacity 5-passenger
  • Wheelbase 109.3 inches
  • Length 190.9 inches
  • Width 71.7 inches
  • Height 57.9 inches
  • Curb Weight 3,480 pounds
  • Track 62.4 inches front, 62 rear
  • Ground Clearance 6.1 inches
  • Turn Circle 36.7 feet
  • Drivetrain Front-wheel-drive
  • Engine 3.5-liter V-6
  • Horsepower/Torque 268/248
  • Transmission 6-speed automatic
  • Steering electric power
  • Suspension sport-tuned front strut, multilink rear
  • Fuel mileage estimate 21/31
  • Fuel mileage average 26.8
  • Fuel Tank 17 gallons, regular unleaded
  • Wheels 18-inch
  • Tires Michelin P225/45/R18
  • Cargo Volume 15.4 cubic feet
  • Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles basic, 5/60,000 powertrain

Competitors Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Chrysler 200, Chevrolet Malibu

Assembly Plant Georgetown, Ky.

Parts Content N.A.

Base Price of Lowest Model $23,795; Base Price of Review Model $31,370; Destination Charge $825; Sticker Price $35,668.