Toyota unveils the sportiest Camry yet

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/ Updated: 16 April 2014 10:57 pm BST

NEW YORK -- Toyota is sick of us calling the Camry "boring," so it's livened things up a bit with the unveiling of the 2015 Toyota Camry XSE, the "sportiest Camry yet" and part of a larger midcycle refresh of the seventh-generation model.

More than a mere facelift, this midsemester update is still based on the XV50 chassis but features extensive changes. Toyota tells us that over 2,000 new parts are in evidence on the 2015 Camry and that the only external body panel shared with the 2014 model is the roof.

The 2015 Toyota Camry XSE debuts a more-aggressive design that's akin to the new Corolla. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The new Camry features LED high- and low-beam headlamps with housings that have been reshaped to match the more-aggressive frowny-face lower grille. Flanking the grille are deeply set LED fog lamps. If you're a fan of the 2014 Corolla's in-your-face design or the Lexus brand's spindle grille, you'll find the new Camry's design challenging, interesting, and sporty.

Around back, the taillights have been reshaped and flow into a new character line that runs from the front wheel arch to the trunk lid.

Inside the cabin, there are still more changes. The interior materials have been upgraded and now feature satin chrome accents. The driver's seat is at once a quieter place, thanks to improved sound deadening, and a louder place, courtesy of a retuned JBL Synthesis audio system. Cabin tech now includes an available Qi wireless charging pad at the base of a new center stack, which has itself been redesigned for easier at-a-glance use. Of course, Toyota's Entune app and infotainment suite will be present and accounted for, boasting up to a 7-inch touch-screen interface.

Joining the new dashboard tech are new safety features that include available lane-departure and forward-collision warnings, as well as blind-spot monitoring. Automatic high beams and rear cross-traffic alert round out the new optional feature set.

The powertrain is unchanged, but the suspension and handling of the 2015 model has been tweaked. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The 2015 Camry's powertrain remains unchanged. Drivers will have a choice between the same 2.5-liter or 3.5-liter engines as came in the previous generation, both paired with six-speed automatic transmissions, or the 2.5-liter Hybrid Synergy drive. However, the ride and handling have been tweaked. The 2015 Camry features a slightly wider track (0.4-inch or 10 mm) and a retune of its Macpherson front and multilink rear suspension.

The new XSE trim level mentioned earlier takes this retune just a hair further than even the "sporty" SE version. Drivers who opt for the XSE will be treated to model-specific 18-inch wheels, unique shock absorbers, firmer bushings, higher rate coil springs, and unique tuning for the electronic power steering system.

The 2015 Toyota Camry hits dealerships this fall.

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2015 Toyota Camry

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