Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The 2015 Family Reunion: The Camry, The Yaris And The Sienna Receives A Mid-Cycle Refresh



What: For the 2015 model year, the popular Camry, the pintsize Yaris and the brand’s swag-a-wagon, also known as the Sienna, has undergone significant changes.

When: All three models are currently available now at your local Toyota dealer.

New Design/Major Changes: 



Camry: The vehicle now wears an expressive bold front end, which seems to be more in line with its luxury sibling, Lexus.  In addition to the new exterior styling, Monte Keher, the chief design engineer for the Camry, led his team to reengineer the vehicle, making the vehicle quieter and more structurally sound than the previous model, while also improving the driving dynamics. 

From speaking to Keher, we discovered this was also the first time that Toyota sought consumer feedback in improving the overall driveability of the Camry. In the past, the Japanese automaker never sought consumer feedback. They, like a number of companies, built what they assumed consumer wanted.


Keher also noted during our discussion that the principal design engineer for the Avalon, Rob McConnell, a young black man, was responsible for leading a team of design engineers in developing the expressive front fascia of the Camry. Now we know why the vehicle has a sporty, but youthful appeal!

So, as a result over 70 percent of the vehicle being reworked after bringing the previous model to the market in 2012, consumer feedback and a fresh entry of stylish midsize vehicles pushed Toyota to rework America’s best-selling car. This vehicle was both built and designed in America.

The Camry also continues to be one of the last in the segment to offer a 6-cylinder engine with the big push being 4-cylinder engines. Many in the segment are also turning to turbo 4-cylinders, while Camry is holding onto the 6-cylinder. A hybrid continues to be apart of the powertrain mix too! 


Yaris: The pint sized Yaris wears an expressive new front end just like the Camry. And like the Camry, the subcompact driveability is improved due to a re-tuned suspension system and a more structurally sound body. Furthermore, the snug subcompact is also outfitted with more premium seats and a new dashboard design, while offering less hard plastic and more soft touch points.


Sienna: The brand’s minivan or swag-a-wagon according to the folks at Toyota receives minor exterior styling updates. Depending upon the model, the stylish people mover wears new headlamps with LED daytime running lamps, a new front grille and/or a new taillight design. However, unlike the Camry, the big changes are inside the vehicle. The vehicle offers a new front passenger seat cushion airbag and a new standard 3.5-inch multi-information system. And like the Camry and the Yaris, the Sienna receives a new stiffened chassis, too.

Trim Levels/Configurations:


Camry: In the higher trim level, a new XLE and XSE trims are available. Both trims are priced the same. The XLE appeals to those seeking more of a comfort ride, as opposed to the XSE which offers a stiffer ride. The grille colors are different too. The XSE wears a darker grille to emphasize a sporty appeal.   

Yaris: This subcompact is available with a L, LE or SE trim with an automatic or a manual transmission.

Sienna: With this being the only vehicle in the segment to offer a front-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration, the luxurious people mover adds the all-new upper end trim level, the Limited Plus.


New Premium Features:

Camry: To complement its bold new styling, the 2015 Camry offers the latest safety advancements. Depending upon the trim, the Camry is now available with a pre-collision safety system, a radar-activated cruise control system, a lane departure warning system, a blind spot monitor  system and a rear traffic cross alert system. The Camry also offers a more premium class interior than the outgoing model it replaces.

Yaris: A nav system is now available so there is no for a map, an after market system or relying on one's smartphone. More importantly, a new front seat airbag brings the total to nine, making this vehicle safer for the road.

Sienna: While a number of crossovers and minivans have found different means for the driver to stay engaged with the rear occupants, Toyota offers the segment's first Driver Easy Speak system, which allow the front occupants voice to be projected throughout the rear speakers. Moreover, as a safety enhancement, there is an additional latch for the third row seat, bringing the total to four to secure a child seat. Lastly, a new Blu-Ray DVD player is available too.

Price: 

Camry: Pricing for the mid-cycle refreshed 2015 Camry and Camry hybrid has climbed $545 and $460 respectively, from the 2014.5 model it replaces. Out the gate, the starting price for the Camry is $23,795.

Yaris: With a starting price of $14,430, pricing has increased by about $415 from last year’s model. Pricing can go head-to-head with the roomier Corolla, when the top trim is selected.

Sienna:  Pricing for the more upscale 2015 model has increased by a whopping $1,680, since the sluggish 4-cylinder is no longer available. The starting price is $29,485.

Our Analysis: Camry is counting on the eye-popping styling changes to attract new buyers who had an eye on the competition, while the Yaris adds more pizzaz and the Sienna continues to fight to keep a presence in a market that seems to favor today's stylish crossovers.

Look out for an extensive road test of each vehicle, when we have an opportunity to spend more time behind the windshield.




1 comment:

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