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2015 TOYOTA CAMRY XSE V6

By Glen Konorowski, 14 May, 2015 03:51 PM
    Toyota calls it bold, I call it discrete. To me, the all-new 2015 Camry is a car that just seems to blend into the automotive scene. Not that I dislike the styling, it’s just plain unlike the new Corolla that stands out in the small car range. Having a discrete-looking car has its advantage I found – I could zip about without people really noticing me. Adding to the fact, my test car is the quickest in the Camry line, which was a good thing.
     
    The car I was given to test was the top-of-the line sport version of the Camry, the XSE. Unlike its sibling the XLE (L for luxury), the XSE carters to those who want a stiffer suspension, paddle shifters and 18 inch alloy wheels – just to name a few of the sport goodies. 
     
    Looking at the exterior of this car, you find middle-of-the-road styling (unlike other cars in this category) with bold wheels, fender flairs and large rear spoilers. I like to describe it as a sort of a grown up version of the sporty car. There are no real styling clues that give this car away as a sporty model.
     
    Under the hood you will find a 268 hp all aluminum block double overhead cam V6 with variable valve timing for both inlet and exhaust cams. Torque is a good 248, which I found on testing comes on with higher RPMs, so at lower speeds you really don’t get the full advantage of the engines power. Once you get to those higher RPMs, the car seems to pull very well, even in steep hills.
     

    Transferring this power to the Camry’s front wheels is a sequential shift 6-speed automatic, which is one of the best in the market. While putting the car through its paces, I left the car in the sport mode and let the computer do the shifting. I found out that the computer controls react faster to the motors speed than my old brain on the paddle shifters. 

    Out on the road, the XSE handled very well especially for a car in the mid-sized model range. In tight quarters I also found the car to be nimble enough, and with its stiffer suspension it was fun moving though and around others. On higher speed roads, the XSE was a real treat as it gripped the road in the curves and pulled well up steep inclines.
     
    To my surprise, the XSE uses a combination of ultra-suede with leather side panels, which I have to admit were both warmer and griped better than all leather. On a whole, I found the seats to be very comfortable and good in the rear as well. With the standard sunroof, taller drivers will not find a lot of headroom which can be a problem that you need to check. All the other controls, plus heating/cooling, are simple and easy to reach and use – something I can’t say about some vehicles. Back seat room is good for a car in this class.  
     

    On the practical side of things, the truck is very spacious, plus the back seats fold down, which I found handy as I had to a large dog cage about a meter long that was folded flat. Like other cars, a net placed at the front of the truck easily held lose items my wife and I had from a day’s shopping.

    After testing a car, I always ask myself if I could live with the car, would I buy this car, and is it fun to drive. In the case of the Camry it is yes in all categories. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed all the aspects of the Camry as it does a lot of things well.

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