Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review: 2015 Toyota Camry 3.5 Q

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Why fix if it isn’t broken? That’s more or less the theme of the 2015 Toyota Camry. It’s been the country’s best-selling executive sedan for quite some time. Theoretically, Toyota could put their feet up and call it a day, and it will still sell very well; a nod to the strong recall and reputation of this model. But Toyota’s not giving its competitors any time to catch up. It’s been given a timely nip and tuck just to keep its competitors at bay without straying far from its long-held virtues.

The Camry is unashamed of its reputation for being a chauffeur-driven, luxury-barge. It’s the reason why Filipino executives love them in the first place. Prior to the refresh, the Camry was somewhat plainer; a fact Toyota corrected this year. It now gains a front-end that resembles that of the more exciting Vios or Corolla Altis. The new headlamps now feature LED daytime running lights to go with the projector HID headlamps. The chrome wing now extends from end-to-end while horizontal elements in the upper and lower bumpers give it a more menacing look. The new face works well except for the faux brake ducts. These could have been eliminated altogether or could have integrated the fog lamps. The back also sees a nip-tuck. Now, a chrome strip also runs end-to-end integrating nicely with the Crown-esque tail lamps. The rear bumper was subtly changed to integrate the tail pipes neatly. Overall, the new look works by adding a dose of style without going too much overboard.

Inside, the Camry 3.5 Q gets a more somber look by swapping the two-tone beige/black interior for an all-black number. With all the hard points still shared with the pre-refreshed Camry, it’s executed with top-notch fit and finish. The leather-like stitching on the top dash and instrument cluster is still there, but the white stitching is now consistently echoed on the seats. There’s a small amount of metallic trim inside, but for the most part, it’s all wood paneling that extends to the steering wheel and even shifter. Thankfully, the brightness has been toned down a notch to match the look of the cabin.

Next to its competitors, the Camry still is one of the most comfortable places to spend some seat time in. The front thrones aren’t so big anymore, but it’s at the back where it really shines. Aside from the generous knee room, this is still the only model to offer electronically adjustable seat backs for the outboard passengers. Add to that the multitude of sun blinds and an additional climate control zone for the back; it makes for one stress-busting ride. That said, with the rear controls located in the center arm rest, the middle occupant there will have to live with a slightly compromised seating comfort.

Back to the front and into the driver’s seat, it remains a solid choice ergonomically. The driving position is spot on with ample adjustments in all directions. The front seats could use better padding, especially for the backside, but for the most part, it feels like the complete package. Single-handedly, the most controversial change to the Camry is the new instrument cluster with four analog needles and a huge central LCD screen. The default screen itself is puzzling at first with current/instantaneous mileage displayed in green flanked by average consumption on both sides of it in blue. It takes time to understand how it works. Trip computer functions are set using the right steering wheel controls, while the other vehicle settings (auto light sensitivity, door lock functions, and the like) are accessed via the new touchscreen infotainment system. This new interface is largely intuitive and easy-to-use. The home screen is, by default, divided into three functions. You can then drill down further by using one of the physical buttons on both sides of the screen. This screen also serves as the rear parking camera’s display. Finally, the most welcome change to the Camry is best experienced at night where the cheap, green lighting is replaced by premium, blue lighting.

The Camry’s focus on providing a much more comfortable, more serene cabin serves as a perfect indicator on how it behaves on the road. Make no mistake about it: this won’t be carving corners any time soon. Treated as a sensible cruiser, it’s comfortable and plush. It absorbs everything you throw at it, even if the tires are in their delivery state (45 PSI!). It’s a better handler than it ever was, but it’s still no sports sedan. It’s the automotive equivalent of Valium and it’s largely unashamed of that. Everything from the steering to the suspension is designed to isolate you from the hustle and bustle of city life. This is for the executive who need not be bothered with driving fun, when all he wants is peace and quiet after a long day at the office. After all, this very same executive probably has a Toyota 86 for the weekend. Plus, he won’t get offended with the fuel mileage as even in its 3.5 V6 guise, it returns 6.89 km/L.

Still, if he decides to stretch his Camry’s legs on Sundays, it’ll perform well. Cruising on NLEX on the way for a round of golf up Baguio will highlight the impeccable straight-line stability and manners. The steering tightens up offering a safe and confident experience. It’s largely unaffected by crosswinds while returning extremely low wind, tire, or road noise. With 277 horsepower and 346 Nm of torque residing under the hood, there’s no need for more power: it’s all available at just the command of the right foot. Plus, the 6-speed automatic is extremely well-tuned, with smooth and imperceptible shifts. Plus, 100 km/h comes up at a ridiculously low 1,600 rpm enabling it to return up to 14.28 km/L on the highway; combine that with a 65-liter tank nets a cruising distance well past 700 kilometers.

On mountainous switchbacks, there’s a bit more flop and body roll, but it’s nonetheless controlled. The steering takes a bit more tugs and nudges to keep the large body into a corner, but it’s stable all the same. It also comes with a manual override on the gear lever, but no paddle shifters. However, the way it behaves compared to other systems is different. It’s more of an overdrive off function than a true manual override. For example, if the gear indicator says ‘4’, it means the gearbox is free to use any gear suitable from 1 to 4; it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in fourth gear. Therefore, it’s best to actually just leave the computer to do the job of shifting for you.

The Toyota Camry is always known to be one of the most, if not the most conservative choice in the executive sedan segment. It’s for this reason why it’s become the de facto choice. You can spend time arguing why you’ll settle for another two-million peso Japanese luxury sedan, but no one will question you if you got a Camry. For sure, there are other choices out there which look better or behave much sportier, but there can only be one Camry. It doesn’t move the goal post much with this refresh, but that small incremental amount just made it beyond the reach of its competitors yet again. It’s the safe and sensible choice in this segment, for those who don’t want too many questions.

2015 Toyota Camry 3.5 Q
Ownership 2015 Toyota Camry 3.5 Q
Year Introduced 2012 (Refreshed: 2015)
Vehicle Classification Executive Sedan
The Basics
Body Type 4-door sedan
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 3.5
Aspiration Normally Aspirated, EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders V6
BHP @ rpm 277 @ 6,200
Nm @ rpm 346 @ 4,700
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission 6AT
Cruise Control Yes
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,825
Width (mm) 1,825
Height (mm) 1,480
Wheelbase (mm) 2,775
Curb Weight (kg) 1,540
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Dual-Link Strut
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Yokohama Decibel E70 215/55 R 17 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front and Rear with Reverse Camera
Exterior Features
Headlights HID, Swivelling
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights Yes
Auto Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt/Telescopic, Power Adjust
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electric (f & r)
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat No
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes, Dual (front), Yes (rear)
Audio System Stereo
No. of Speakers 6
Steering Wheel Controls Yes


  1. Does it have ventilated seats? What's the ground clearance?

    I'd just like to clarify, the Camry is much more fuel efficient in the highway than the Accord V6, correct? But the Camry nets a slightly worse fuel consumption in urban conditions?

  2. Ugly exterior, great interior. The Mazda 6 still has the best looking exterior and interior. The only reason why executives choose the Camry as default because of it's reputation and it's been around for a long while, and that gives Toyota reason to lay back and sleep comfortably knowing that even if they are producing bland looking cars, it will still sell well because they have established their name. Many people would still buy Toyota's regardless if there is something better out there. Toyota has been lazy these past years with their design, and primitive 10 year old engine and audio system.

  3. lets settle this once and for all, we all agree that Camry is the best period. however having said that how would an executive or any people of power reacts or feels if every time you drive along a busy street people keeps on hailing you or worse someone would just opens the door helps him/herself in slams the door and says "Manong sa SM lang po". if that happens to you what would be your sentiments?,... my point is camry, altis and vios are superb cars but they all look like the same

    1. Only an idiot would mix up a Vios, Altis and Camry. They look quite different from each other regardless of which angle you look at.

      Design-wise the current Camry is the most stale though. Doesn't look imposing at all. The 2006-2011 Camry (aka Toyota Aurion) still has the most muscular and imposing exterior among the Camrys imo, befitting of an executive vehicle.

    2. try getting into the mind set of the majority of our people (masa) we made Erap our president, now ask them, whats the difference between those cars and maybe you'll get an answer of "the color or name or worse a blank stare",. for us passionate about cars we could write a thesis on all the micro changes but for the common people its all the same

    3. im not being a douche but Anon3's point is utter non-sense and has no connection whatsoever to what the discussion. we're talking about cars that cost north of 600K. (again, im not being a douche, just want to make a point) are these "masa" the target market of Toyota and other manufacturers? I don't think so. then why the heck should Toyota get into their mind set?

  4. Ang mga gurang kasi set in their ways na ever since the popular cbu japan camry in the 90s lorded it over the segment hindi na nagbago isip ng market. Its up to us young executives and proffessionals to be more discerning in choosing our charriots and not let toyota continue to fool gullible buyers papanaw din yang nga gurang na yan at tayo na papalit

    1. toyota's marketing system is all that is good that is why there are lots of toyota, but talking about good cars, i don't think toyota is that good.

    2. up to "us" young executives and professionals? there's probably no hat in the world that could fit on your big head. For someone that criticizes the "old ways", your thinking sure is open-minded and progressive.

      "Papanaw din yang mga gurang na yan"? I pity your parents and anyone associated to you. Remember, YOU WILL grow old and chances are YOU WILL insist that your "old ways" is better than the new.

    3. learn to respect your elders. you probably would not have been typing comments right now if it was not for them.

  5. 6.89km/L with a 3.5V6? What kind of driving conditions would net this kind of fuel consumption? Our 2.3L Tribute and 2.4L Accord would have to run with a very light foot and in light traffic conditions to achieve such consumption!

    1. It's plausible. My uncle has a Lexus ES350. His fuel consumption is around 6km/L (16.6L/100km) in mostly city driving.

  6. My 2006 Camry 3.5Q V6 achieves about 4.5-5km/L in City Driving. It has the same engine as this new model. I don't think it will achieve 6.89km/L unless it's running in the highway.

  7. We Pinoys are such suckers. The plain Jane Camry is a" pang nanay" or Titas of Manila car pretending to be a luxury car. Pang taxi nga yan sa ibang bansa, dito pang executive kuno (same thing with its competitors). Toyota created Lexus for the executive guys but since Toyota and its ilk know they can always fool Pinoys, they'll overprice a bland product and label it a luxury car. The local motoring media is just as guilty -- guilty of either being so easily fooled by these car manufacturers or of being an accomplice of these car manufacturers.

    1. I think cars like these are marketed as executive cars here and in other ASEAN countries because they are priced quite high, relatively speaking, due to taxes. A 2.5L Camry costs about P1.7M here but if you convert it to US prices, it's about $38,000 - the same as a BMW 320i with some options in the US. The P2M price of this 3.5L Camry is about $45,000 - quite close to a US BMW 328i with some options.

      Also, other countries classify cars differently. An example of a luxury car here in the Philippines is this Toyota Camry but in the US, I think the cheapest luxury car on sale there is a BMW 2-series. In the UK, a Volkswagen Passat (Camry equivalent) and BMW 3-series are considered executive cars while the lowest vehicle that they consider as a luxury car is a Mercedes S-class.

      A country's purchasing power is another factor here. Again, in the US (it's the most relatable example I can give), a low to mid - middle class family can afford a Toyota Camry but here in the Philippines, it's typically upper-middle class families who can afford a car like this.

      just my 2 cents :)

    2. Very informative explanation. You should write your own car blog and I'd always follow it. What annoys me is the way local automotive journalists play along with the marketing ploys of the car manufacturers. Yes, because of the price, the Camry is considered a luxury car and in this blog, the luxury thing is played up to the hilt, as if it was a Jaguar. Ginagago nila ang readers.Foreign journalists have described the Camry as plain and boring. But is is, as they say, a reliable appliance.

  8. To each his own.. nice review though

  9. The camry is the default option of DOMs. Don't know why...

  10. i hope you can do a review for the camry S as well mr. uly.. a bit confused on what to get, the camry s or the non- v6 accord.. di kasi ako particular talaga sa sobrang bilis ng sasakyan, just a sporty drive, fuel efficiency and i'm happy.