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    Review: 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE


    • Can A Hybrid Camry Be Sporty?


    The midsize sedan field has changed drastically within the past few years. New models are now standing in the spotlight, while older and more established models are beginning to fall flat. The Toyota Camry is beginning to feel some of the pressure. While it still is one of the top selling vehicles in the U.S., the likes of the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, and Ford Fusion are eating into its sales. Toyota knew it was time to make some changes to keep the Camry on top. The result is the 2015 Camry. I spent a week in the Camry SE Hybrid to see if these changes help or hurt.

     

    The 2015 Camry is quite a departure in terms of design. Whereas previous-generations were more reserved and somewhat boring to look at, the 2015 model is quite out there. From a long, slim chrome bar paired with a massive mesh grille up front, to character lines along the side, this Camry has style. A set of grey, 17-inch wheels and hybrid badging finish off the finish off the Hybrid SE. I’m not to keen on the Camry’s overall design, but I have to admit this is the most exciting Camry in a while.

     


    2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE 11


    The interior is also a departure from previous Camrys. There is some style throughout the interior with slight curves on the dash panels and grey stitching on certain interior pieces. There is also more soft-touch materials used throughout to make the cabin a bit more pleasing to touch. The center stack gets a seven-inch touchscreen with Toyota’s Entune infotainment system, and a set of large buttons and knobs to control it and the climate control system. Some might complain and make fun of the giant buttons and knobs that Toyota employs., Bbut in the age of using small buttons which are difficult to find, or capacitive-touch buttons which can be hit and miss, I appreciate Toyota’s decision to keep it simple. One item I wish Toyota would fix is the touchscreen as it appears to be washed out in any condition.

     

    SE models get a set of sport seats with what Toyota calls ‘sport fabric material’ - a combination of their SofTex vinyl and patterned fabric. Finding a comfortable position in the front is no problem thanks to good support from the seats and a number of adjustments - power for the driver, manual for the passenger. The back seat has no shortage of head and legroom for even the tallest of passengers.

     

    See Page 2 Powertrain and Ride Impressions


     

    One item Toyota did not dare mess with is the hybrid powertrain. Like on the larger Avalon Hybrid, the Camry Hybrid uses a 2.5L Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder paired with an electric motor to produce a total output 200 horsepower. This powertrain is paired to a CVT. There are also three different drive modes which varies power output:

    • Drive: Goes between electric, gas, and hybrid modes automatically.
    • Eco: Restricts throttle response and use of the A/C compressor
    • EV: Runs the vehicle solely on electric power if the vehicle is under 25 MPH


    The Camry Hybrid is quite the potent vehicle. Leaving a stop light, I was shocked at how it was able to leap off and get moving at a quick rate. Maybe it was due to me thinking I was driving a Prius XL. But the reason for this fast response is due to the 199 pound-feet of torque from the electric motor which is available from 0 to 1,500 rpm. More impressive was how the Camry Hybrid did around town and on the freeway as the powertrain was able to get up to speed at a reasonable rate. I had to remind myself that this a hybrid and not a basic four-cylinder model. Fuel economy is rated at 40 City/38 Highway/40 Combined for the hybrid. My average for the week was around 37 MPG. This was due to frigid weather I was driving in.

     



    2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE 8


    Now the Hybrid SE model is new for this generation of Camry Hybrid which includes a sport-tuned suspension. Does this make the Camry Hybrid sportier? I have to say no. In the corners, the car felt somewhat squishy - possibly due to the low-rolling resistance tires. Also, the steering felt very rubbery and had no feel. If you want a midsize hybrid sedan that is somewhat fun to drive, I would point you in the direction of the Honda Accord Hybrid. But for day-to-day driving, the Camry Hybrid is quite good. Even with the sport-tuned suspension, the vehicle still kept bumps and imperfections at bay. Wind and road noise were kept at acceptable levels.

     

    At the end of my week with the Camry Hybrid SE, I felt that most of these changes have helped the Camry. It may not be the most exciting to look at or to drive, but Toyota focused on improving the basics which will help it in the sales chart. As for the SE trim, I think its a half-baked idea. They have the looks down, now Toyota just needs to work on making the driving a tiny bit more sporting.

     

    Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Camry Hybrid, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

     

    Year: 2015
    Make: Toyota
    Model: Camry
    Trim: Hybrid SE
    Engine: Hybrid Synergy Drive (2.5L DOHC 16-valve VVT-i four-cylinder, 105 kW Electric Motor)
    Driveline: CVT, Front-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 156 @ 5,700 (Gas), 200 (Total Output)
    Torque @ RPM: 156 @ 4,500 (Gas), 199 @ 0-1,500 (Electric)
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 40/38/40
    Curb Weight: 3,565 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
    Base Price: $27,995
    As Tested Price: $32,987 (Includes $825.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite - $1,300.00
    Power Tilt/Slide Moonroof - $915.00
    Remote Start - $499.00
    Clear Protective Film - $395.00
    VIP RS3200 Plus Security System - $359.00
    Four Season Floor Mat Package - $325.00
    Illuminated Door Sill Enhancements - $299.00
    Wireless Charging for Electronics - $75.00

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    User Feedback


    I think it's important to note that the interior is largely carry over from the 2012 redesign. All I see for 2015 is an elaborate refresh of a refresh.

     

    2012 Camry SE:

    lead12-2012-toyota-camry-se-fd.jpg

     

    2015 Camry:

    24347481b630484546ebcdbf601f15ad.jpg

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      Press Release is on Page 2


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      The active lifestyle-inspired RAV4 Adventure will be available in front-wheel drive with an Automatic Limited-Slip Differential, or with Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel-drive.  Both versions feature a standard Tow Prep Package that includes an upgraded radiator and supplemental engine oil and transmission fluid coolers, as well as a suspension system with a higher ride height.  As with all RAV4 models, the Adventure grade will come standard with Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), and TSS-P.  Exterior styling features exclusive to the RAV4 Adventure includes:
      Large overfender flares 18-inch five-spoke black alloy wheels with 235/55R18 tires Lower body guards Black headlight bezels Black fog lamp surround, roof racks and Adventure badging The RAV4 Adventure will be available in five exterior colors including Black, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Silver Sky Metallic, Super White, and one new color for RAV4 models, Ruby Flare Pearl.
      The sporty exterior features of the RAV4 Adventure are mated to exclusive interior features that include:
      Unique interior trim panels Leather-wrapped shift knob 120V/100W power outlet in the cargo area Adventure door sill protectors All-weather mats floor and cargo mats with Adventure logo Additional features new for 2018 in select RAV4 models include optional heat/power fabric front row seats, heated steering wheel, and wiper de-icer as part of a new Cold Weather Package.
      The 2018 RAV4 Adventure grade along with the Tundra and Sequoia TRD Sport grades will begin arriving in dealer showrooms in September.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The spotlight for Toyota's truck and SUV lineup has been on the Tacoma TRD Pro. But the company is moving the spotlight on three models; RAV4, Sequoia, and Tundra with the introduction of new trims and various updates.
      We'll work our way on three models that made their debut this morning at the Chicago Auto show in alphabetical order. First up is the 2018 RAV4 Adventure, position for those who live an active outdoor lifestyle. It certainly looks the part with a taller ride height, larger fender flairs, blacked-out 18-inch alloy wheels, and lower body cladding. The interior comes with all-weather floor mats, door sill protectors, and 120V outlet in the cargo area.
      Power still comes from a 2.5L four-cylinder with 176 horsepower and a six-speed automatic. But the Adventurer gets the RAV4's optional towing package as standard. This includes an upgraded radiator, engine oil cooler, and transmission oil cooler. The Adventurer goes on sale this September with pricing to announced at a later date.
      Next is the 2018 Sequoia. All trims will get the Toyota Safety Sense-P suite of active safety features as standard. This includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, and pedestrian detection. Outside, the Sequoia boasts a new front bumper and grille.
      There is a new trim joining the Sequoia lineup known as the TRD Sport. This trim features black mirror caps and exterior badges; smoked taillight lenses, and 20-inch alloy wheels finished in black. Black fabric covers the seats, with leather an option. There is also a TRD gear knob and TRD floor mats. Power comes from a 5.7L iForce V8 with 381 horsepower paired with a six-speed automatic. There is the choice of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Toyota has done some suspension work for the Sequoia TRD Sport with Bilstein shock absorbers and TRD antiroll bars.
      Finally, there is the 2018 Tundra. Like the Sequoia, the Tundra will get Toyota's Safety Sense-P suite as standard equipment, along with a revised grille and headlight designs. There will also be a TRD Sport trim on offer as well. For the Tundra, this includes a hood scoop, body color mirrors and bumpers; LED headlights, 20-inch silver aluminum wheels with black insets, and TRD Sport decals on the bedsides. Bilstein shocks and TRD front and rear antiroll bars are used to improve handling.
      The TRD Sport will be available on the double cab and CrewMax body styles, along with the choice of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.
      The 2018 Sequoia and Tundra arrive at dealers in September.
      Source: Toyota
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Roughing It in Style - - Toyota Introduces the New 2018 Tundra and Sequoia TRD Sport and RAV4 Adventure Models
      New Tundra and Sequoia TRD Sport Grades Receive added Styling and Performance Handling Upgrades Standard Toyota Safety Sense – P Refreshed Styling on all Tundra and Sequoia Models New RAV4 Adventure adds Dirt-Inspired Styling and Higher Ride Height CHICAGO, Feb. 9, 2017 - - Families on the go, TRD style!  Toyota’s Tundra full-size pickup truck and Sequoia large SUV have long been ideal for adventuresome families in need of that unique combination of performance, utility, towing ability and comfort.  For 2018, the experts at Toyota Racing Development (TRD) have developed the new TRD Sport grade for Tundra and Sequoia, offering active families an extra dose of sportier styling and performance for added fun and excitement on their next journey.   
      In addition to the new TRD Sport grades, Tundra and Sequoia will receive new styling, convenience and safety features for all 2018 models, including Toyota Safety Sense-P (TSS-P) as standard equipment.
      Outdoor family fun isn’t exclusive to Toyota’s two largest truck and SUV models.  For the 2018 model year, the popular RAV4 compact crossover adds a new Adventure grade for young families looking for fun in out-of-the-way places.   Already a fun-to-drive crossover for young families with active lifestyles, the new RAV4 Adventure adds a sportier take-me-anywhere attitude for the weekend warrior.
      Tundra TRD Sport
      The new Tundra TRD Sport is available on 4x4 and 4x2 grades in CrewMax and Double Cab configurations and powered by the proven 381-horsepower 5.7-liter i-Force V8 engine.  Driving performance will be enhanced with the addition of TRD Sport Tuned Bilstein Shocks and TRD front and rear anti-sway bars.  Key exterior features for the TRD Sport include:
      Color-keyed mirrors, front and rear bumpers Color-keyed hood scoop 20-inch alloy silver sport wheels LED Headlights with smoked chrome bezel, Daytime Running Lights (DRL), and LED Fog Lights Mesh grille with body color surround TRD Sport bedside graphic Exterior colors for the TRD Sport will include Super White, Magnetic Gray, Midnight Black Pearl, Blazing Blue Pearl and Barcelona Red Metallic.
      The exterior styling is complemented with interior features that include a TRD shift knob and TRD Sport floor mats. 
      The TRD Sport is just part of an overall refresh for the 2018 Tundra.  Safety will be enhanced on all Tundra models with the addition of Toyota Safety Sense™ (TSS-P) as standard equipment.  This multi-feature advanced active safety suite bundles a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Auto High Beams (AHB) and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).  Drivers can view the status of TSS-P through an upgraded Multi-information Display.
      The 2018 Tundra will receive exterior updates that include a new mesh grille on select trims while the Tundra Limited and 1794 Edition will receive a new billet style grille.  The Limited, Platinum and 1794 Edition will be equipped with new LED Headlights and Daytime Running Lights (DRL), and LED Fog Lights.  LED headlights and Fog Lights are also available when the TRD Off-Road Package is selected on SR5 models.  The SR and SR5 grades will receive halogen headlights with a black bezel and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL). 
      Sequoia TRD Sport
      The brawny 2018 Sequoia TRD Sport will be available in 4x4 and 4x2 models equipped with the 5.7-liter i-Force V8 engine.   Road handling is enhanced with TRD Sport Tuned Bilstein Shocks and TRD front and rear anti-sway bars.  Key exterior features on the Sequoia TRD Sport will include:
      New front grille and bumper grille insert Metallic black mirror caps 20-inch alloy black sport wheels Darkened rear tail light housing Black satin finish TRD Sport badging on the front doors and a Metallic black and chrome Sequoia badge on the liftgate Exterior colors for the Sequoia TRD Sport will include Super White, Magnetic Gray Metallic, and the new Midnight Black Metallic.  The stylish exterior treatment will be complemented by an assortment of interior convenience features exclusive to the Sequoia TRD Sport including:
      Standard black fabric seven-passenger seating Optional Black leather captain chair seats (part of the optional Premium Package) TRD shift knob TRD Sport floor mats TRD Sport sill protectors In addition to the TRD Sport, Sequoia will be available in SR5, Limited and Platinum grades in 4x2 and 4x4 configurations.  All will be powered by the i-Force V8 engine. Like Tundra, the 2018 Sequoia will raise the bar in the area of safety as TSS-P will be standard on all models (includes PCS w/PD, LDA, AHB, and DRCC).    
      All Sequoia models will also come standard with new LED headlights with LED DRL, and LED fog lights.  Additional exterior updates include a new front grille and bumper grille insert, distinctive to each grade.  A bumper opening chrome surround will be equipped on TRD Sport, Limited and Platinum grades. 
      The 2018 Sequoia will be available in eight exterior colors including three new colors: Midnight Black Metallic, Shoreline Blue Pearl and Toasted Walnut Pearl.  Additional colors include: Super White, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Silver Sky Metallic, Blizzard Pearl, and Sizzling Crimson.
      Inside, all Sequoia models will come standard with a new instrumentation panel gauge cluster and 4.2-inch Multi-information Display (MID) that tracks the status of TSS-P.  Also new are an updated center speaker grille smoothed to the surrounding dashboard and interior trim with wood-like accents for Platinum grade.
      RAV4 Adventure
      The active lifestyle-inspired RAV4 Adventure will be available in front-wheel drive with an Automatic Limited-Slip Differential, or with Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel-drive.  Both versions feature a standard Tow Prep Package that includes an upgraded radiator and supplemental engine oil and transmission fluid coolers, as well as a suspension system with a higher ride height.  As with all RAV4 models, the Adventure grade will come standard with Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), and TSS-P.  Exterior styling features exclusive to the RAV4 Adventure includes:
      Large overfender flares 18-inch five-spoke black alloy wheels with 235/55R18 tires Lower body guards Black headlight bezels Black fog lamp surround, roof racks and Adventure badging The RAV4 Adventure will be available in five exterior colors including Black, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Silver Sky Metallic, Super White, and one new color for RAV4 models, Ruby Flare Pearl.
      The sporty exterior features of the RAV4 Adventure are mated to exclusive interior features that include:
      Unique interior trim panels Leather-wrapped shift knob 120V/100W power outlet in the cargo area Adventure door sill protectors All-weather mats floor and cargo mats with Adventure logo Additional features new for 2018 in select RAV4 models include optional heat/power fabric front row seats, heated steering wheel, and wiper de-icer as part of a new Cold Weather Package.
      The 2018 RAV4 Adventure grade along with the Tundra and Sequoia TRD Sport grades will begin arriving in dealer showrooms in September.
    • By dfelt
      G. David Felt
      Staff Writer Alternative Energy - www.CheersandGears.com
       
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      For 2017 electric / hybrid auto rating, Tesla looses to GM and Toyota the safety crown. Tesla has stated that they have already corrected the safety issues but were unable to deliver an updated auto for testing. It will be retested later this year. Errors happen, be interesting to see how the BOLT tests out.
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