Car Review: 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE

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Toyota has put a new emphasis on design after years of more conservative designs, and now that approach has been applied to the best-selling car in America: the Toyota Camry. Just one glance at the new front end with its aggressive grille and you immediately know you have something new. Younger buyers will probably embrace the changes, though it will be interesting to see how loyal Toyota buyers react. In our opinion, the changes offer a dramatic improvement, so we suspect most consumers will react favorably.

We tested one of the hybrid models, the sporty SE version that is now available as a hybrid for 2015. The Camry Hybrid is also available in the value driven LE and the premium XLE. With Toyota’s reputation with hybrids and the popularity of Camrys in general, the Camry hybrid models should get plenty of attention. The hybrid achieves fuel economy of 40 miles per gallon combined, with 40 MPG city and 38 MPG highway. The base-level LE gets up to 43 MPG city and 39 MPG highway.

Toyota has added new standard features to each of the hybrid models. The SE we tested has new Sport fabric SofTex-trimmed front seats with seatback pockets, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support and a cool leather-trimmed tilt/telescopic three-spoke steering wheel.

The driving experience was very positive. Our team tested the vehicle in suburban driving environments with plenty of passengers of all ages. The Camry is roomy and comfortable, and will naturally appeal to buyers with families. The dependable reputation of the Camry brand certainly helps. The vehicle also handles well with quick acceleration. The 200 horsepower, 2.5 liter, 4-cylander hybrid engine performs nicely.

Buyers new to the hybrid experience will have an adjustment period, but anyone upgrading from a smaller hybrid will love this roomy sedan.

The Camry Hybrid starts at $26,790 for the LE model, $27,995 for the SE and $29,980 for the premium XLE, along with a fee of $825. The quality of the hybrids in the midsize sedan market is pretty impressive across the board, as more brands add hybrid models, but we suspect most buyers will have the Camry on their short lists. The new styling should definitely attract those buyers considering a hybrid.