Filed under: New York Auto Show , Sedan , Toyota With a dozen years atop the nation’s best-selling car charts, you might think that there wouldn’t be a lot of incentive for Toyota to rework its Camry , particularly so early in the life of the current model. But despite its unassailable sales totals, the midsize sedan has come in for substantial criticism for its milquetoast dynamics, piecemeal interiors and bland design. As part of CEO Akio Toyoda’s mantra to build more exciting cars, the 2015 Camry has arrived with a fresh new look and content that goes far beyond the Japanese automaker’s typically slight mid-cycle redesigns. Featuring some 2,000 new parts, the 2015 Camry casts a 1.8-inch longer shadow and stretches across a widened track (0.4 inches). And it won’t be just the widened track that should help deliver a more dynamic performance – Toyota is citing a stiffer chassis thanks to additional spot welds along with a rejiggered suspension, retuned electric power steering and a new two-stage brake booster for improved braking feel. A new XSE trim promises the sportiest performance yet, including model-specific shock absorbers and springs, stiffer bushings, unique stability control programming and 18-inch wheels to go along with a unique front end treatment featuring mesh grille inserts and a revised fascia. But Camry sales have rarely been driven by performance – millions of the things have been purchased due to the family sedan’s ironclad reputation for attributes like reliability, strong resale value, comfort and ease of use. The latter two aspects often help secure the former, and to that end, Toyota has made a lot of changes to the Camry’s interior, both seen and unseen. Visible changes include a redesigned gauge cluster with a new 4.2-inch TFT display, richer materials, a redesigned center stack and a console tray with available wireless charging. Hidden alterations include 30-percent more sound insulation to help deliver a serene ride.
Filed under: New York Auto Show , Hybrid , Crossover , Toyota , Design/Style Toyota has pulled the wraps off its all-new, 2014 Highlander in New York this morning, giving Americans a first look at what is sure to be a heavyweight in the mid-size crossover segment. The new third-generation Highlander will come with the buyer’s choice of three different powertrain options. The base model will be powered by a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel-drive. Next up the ladder is a 3.5-liter V6, also mated to the 6AT, which can be had with either front-or all-wheel-drive. Finally, the Highlander Hybrid will be equipped with all-wheel drive, its 3.5-liter V6 mated to an electric motor, all hooked up to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The automaker has not released any specs for fuel economy or output yet, though we’re promised increases in both power and efficiency. While not a revolution in terms of styling, Toyota has cleaned up the bodywork for the new model, offering a crisp, conservative look for the slightly larger Highlander. The vehicle is some three inches longer and an inch-and-a-half wider than the outgoing model, yet it has a lower roofline. Black plastic-clad wheel arches make an attempt to butch up the crossover, though to our eyes, the Highlander still has the look of a minivan around the rear view. Inside, the most important feature of this model is that it seats eight humans.