Car Reviews

2015 Toyota Camry Altise Review

Robert Pepper’s 2015 Toyota Camry Altise review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and rating.

Editor's Rating

What we though of the 2015 Toyota Camry Altise
The Camry Altise is a big, spacious workhorse of car a that is simple to use and drive, and it is far more suitable than most modern roadcars for dirt roads and remote area driving. Toyota make all sorts of claims about styling and handling, but on this base model you're buying a tool not a status symbol. If you want dynamic handling or gadgets look elsewhere or further up the range, if you want the job done reliably with all the basics then here's your car.

2015 Toyota Camry Altise

PRICE  $26,490  (+ORC) WARRANTY 3 years / 100,000 km SAFETY 5 star (36.27/ 37, tested in 2015)  ENGINE 2.5L petrol 4cyl POWER 133kW at 6000rpm TORQUE : 231Nm at 4100rpm TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic with partial gear select DRIVE front wheel, pre-load differential BODY 4850mm (L);  1835mm (W); 1470mm (H) TURNING CIRCLE 11m WEIGHT 1460kg SEATS 5 FUEL TANK 70 litres SPARE full-size steel THIRST 7.8 L/100km ADR81/02 combined cycle FUEL 91RON petrol

On the outside

I’m not entirely sure Camrys have a recognisable look that you can trace back over the ages, but they’ve always been styled conservatively for their time. This new one looks better, but like every manufacturer Toyota has gone and pushed the limits of credibility by describing it as having a: “vibrant and confident stance,” whatever that means.  
 
IMG_0278  
Our test car is the base model Altise, so it gets sensibly practical 16-inch alloy rims, giving the car a less sporty and premium look than the higher end models with larger rims.  Toyota also claim the underbody design is inspired by F1, and the car is designed to appeal at an emtional and practical level.  Well, not the Altise, sorry, it’ll appeal to the wallet of fleet managers but that’s about all.  
 
IMG_0277
When I collected the car from Toyota’s HQ there was a tasty looking red Altara in the carpark, and I rather hoped I’d be driving off in it, so I think that yes, the top end Camrys are starting to look the goods.  And for some people, me included, there is a certain attraction in owning and driving a car that is a byword for boring but is actually a bit of a hottie.
 
IMG_0275
Camry trivia – the name is name derived from the Japanese word kan-muri which means “crown”.  The sixth generation of Camry was released in 2006, and here now in 2015 is the seventh generation.

Room & Practicality

Camry is a large car even though it’s called a medium, and uses its interior space well.  Up front there’s a huge glovebox and centre console, two sensibly sized and well-postioned drinks holders, a little storage compartment for your phone and other knicknacks, hidden by a cover which also has a USB port and a single 12v outlet.  The sidepockets are a bit small though.

RMP_8891
Huge centre console, and a compartment in front as well. Just so practical. The divide between the drinks holders can be removed for more storage. To the left of the gearshift/drinks holder is a storage compartment where you can put your phone, and hide it away. Also houses the 12v and USB sockets.
The second row is very spacious and comfortable provided you’re in the outer two seats.  The second row middle is basically unusable for long distances because it is set much higher than the other two, the base is very hard, and there’s less footroom.  It is irritating and not great for safety that none of the three headrests are height-adjustable. 
 
There is a pull-down table to go between the two outer rows, and it has two drinks holders.  There’s also two heat/cool vents, but no 12v socket.  Only the passenger front seat has a seatpocket on the back.  This is the base model, but it still feels a little underdone for a family car.
 
The boot is enormous – broad, deep and wide.  What a shame then that it’s just one large space, not a single tiedown, sidepocket or any other means of securing cargo to be found save a couple of hooks near the boot opening.   The second row folds down in a 40/60 split, but not flat and the centre seatbelt can’t be disconnected to get out of the way. Still, it’s a useful feature.  
 
There’s also no way to open the boot from the back unless you use the keyfob.  The only other method is the release by the driver’s door, same place as the fuel filler release.  Little omissions like these mark this grade of Camry out as a basic workman-like car for cost-concious fleets.
RMP_8896
Huge. Just shame there’s no tiedowns.
 
The Altise has what used to be a conventional metal key, but i think now the majority of cars have pushbutton start and keyless entry so we have to call keys outdated.
 
More interior photos in the gallery at the end of this review.

On the inside

The dash is basic and practical, with an easy-to-see speedometer.  No excuses for speeding!
 
IMG_0279
The steering wheel is tilt and reach adjustable.  The manual seat has enough adjustability for most people.
 
RMP_8882
Ignore the sticker on the left. Not a bad interior at all, and very easy to use.
Uexpectedly, the gearshift is leather, or at least it feels like it.  A nice touch. There is a dedicated clock set high and in the centre of the dash for all to see.   Why can’t all cars have one like this?
 
RMP_8908
Why can’t all cars have a clock placed like this?
The touchscreen infotainment unit lacks satnav but is clear, modern, cleanly designed and easy to use.  The same is true of the other major controls, it’s all very Japansese and familiar.  The foot-operated parkbrake is effective and in this car, appropriate.  
 
I can’t imagine there is any driver in Australia who could not step into this Camry and be immediately able to operate all the car’s controls.
 
RMP_8893
 
Our Altise is all greys and silver.  It’s not badly set out, it’s not trying overhard to be stylish, just quietly functional. 

Performance, ride and handling

Camry is an easy, simple drive.  There is adequate power smoothly delivered, soft suspension, the automatic is intelligent, cruise control is effective even downhill and the car is about as likely to bite as a sleepy pet rabbit.  Grip is good once you’ve eased the car into a curve, the steering is comfortingly stable, not over light.  If you want, you can make a Camry go quite fast indeed so don’t consider a slow car.
 
Yet you won’t be surprised to learn the dynamics are not to the enthusiast driver’s taste – very slow steering that takes a lot of turning, indifferent feel, no sense of engine urgency, agility…I’m going to stop now because that’s not what Camry is about.
 
IMG_0397
Instead, let’s talk about what it’s good for and that’s comfortable, stable, low-effort driving.  If that’s what you want, Camry is your car.  But remember that many other cars deliver a far more rewarding and interesting driving experience with the same ease of progress as Camry.  As one example, our i30 long-termer is an understated pleasure to drive yet is also an unpretentious, practical and stylish family car.   I feel Camry could improve on its style and enjoyment without compromising its core reason for existence which is spacious, reliable and functional transportation.  One small point is that I did find on wet and cold roads initial delivery of power from takeoff is not what it should be, as it’s easy to spin both wheels if you’re making a particularly hasty getaway.  Other front-drivers do initial power delivery better.
 
The automatic has a semi-manual option.  As usual with Toyotas, when you select say 4th that means it can select any gear from 1st to 4th, not that it’ll always use 4th.  So it’s not sequential-shift as claimed.   Don’t know why Toyota do this, but they do.
 
There’s also a pre-load differential up front.  This looks to be a sort of limited-slip differential which has the effect of preventing one of the front wheels spinning relative to the other, so you get better traction.  Toyota also claim improved stability and maneuverability including on slippery roads, enhanced steering feel and better deceleration.  It’s hard to say, but certainly Camry is reluctant to spin up an inside wheel when accelerating out of slow corners, and the car is definitely stable in every situation I tried.  
 
Around-town maneuverability is no problem.  The turning circle is 11m, there’s a basic reversing camera and the electric power steering is easy to operate.
 
We decided to drive off the blacktop:
 
IMG_0283
You can drive Camrys places other cars would fear to tread. The LED DRLs (Daytime Running Lights) are visible here.
 
We don’t normally run 2WD roadcars on dirt roads during tests, but Camry is different. You see, many Camrys are reliable workhorse tools used by people to need to get from A to B reliably, safely and efficiently. Often A or B might be at the end of a dirt road, so off we went into rougher terrain to see how the Camry fared.
 
The answer is very well.  Those unfashionably small 16-inch rims are shod with sensibly strong tyres that won’t disintegrate at the first sign of a gravel road.  The supple, soft suspension floats over dirt-road corrguations and I went from avoiding all the potholes to deliberately dipping a wheel in them, only to find the Camry shrugged it all off with impressive composure.   Clearance is fairly high too so the odd rock in the way is no cause to concern.  To be honest, Camry puts some SUVs to shame on the dirt, to be honest.
 
I also did what’s known as a split-mu brake test.  Usually when you emergency brake the road surface is more or less consistent under all four wheels, which makes life easy for the electronic braking systems.  However, what if there’s two wheels on dirt and two on bitumen, as you often find in rural areas?  Slam the brakes on there and it’s easy to spin a car as the bitumen wheels brake a lot harder than the dirt ones. 
 
All modern cars should have this situation with ease, but not all do, including some SUVs.  But Camry was amazing, stopping in a straight line with minimal steering input, ABS working hard.  Toyota have made the car as near as possible to foolproof. 
 
You are not going to be doing rally-car impressions any time soon, but if you do get hasty with the loud pedal then the electronics quietly, subtly and efficiently tame the power and you’re smoothly on your way.  But such driving is not really what Camry is about.  It does comfortable and safe very well.
 
IMG_0317

Quality

Camrys have been pounding Australia roads for seemingly forever.   There’s no evidence this latest model is anything but a continuation of that theme.
 
IMG_0359
Camry in the country, it’s natural environment.
 

Pricing & Equipment

Our base-model tester is the Altise which will set you back $26,490 plus onroad costs.  It has a unique engine, delivering  133kW and  whereas the rest of the range manage 135kW.  All Camrys are automatic petrols, but there are three hybrids.
 
Here’s the range run-down and some pricing, exclusive of on-road costs:
 

GRADE

PETROL

HYBRID

ALTISE

$26,490

$30,490

ATARA S

$29,490

$32,490

ATARA SX

$31,990

ATARA SL

$37,440

$40,440

 
OPTIONS
  • Optional paint (Altise, Atara S, Atara SX): $450
  • Moonroof (Atara SX, SL): $1,950
  • Moonroof and 18-inch package (Atara SL petrol only): $2,950
Warranty is 3 years, 100,000km which is below par these days.
 
For an extra $3,000 you can move from the Altise up into the Atara S which I think would be worth it.  You get keyless entry, dual zone aircon, voice recognition, a bigger infotainment unit, some exterior garnish, electric driver’s seat and two reversing sensors (as well as Altise’s camera). 
 
Although this review is about the Altise, check this out:
 
15Camry_04lr
It’s the range-topping Atara SX.  Now that is one eye-catching car.  Toyota say: “Equally significant is that Camry is now available in two guises for drivers with distinctly different tastes: the well-known Camry that is more comfortable and capable than ever and a true sports version that brings to life the fundamental excitement of driving a car.”
 
Well, looks aside, the Atara is going to need some tuning to live up to that statement. So compared to the Altise the suspension is stiffer, the tyres are wider and the steering is quicker, becuase there’s no way on this planet the Altise has sporty steering.
 
If you want more power there’s always the V6-powered 200kW Aurion range above Camry.

Safety

Camry was 5-star rated in 2015 with a high 36.27 out of 37.   There are no ISOFIX child seat restraint points but there are three conventional tethers in the second row.
 
The spare is a full-sized steel, and petrol is 91RON.   The fuel tank is a very generous 70L and as consumption is 7.8L/100km combined you can expect a fair touring range of 750-850 km.  Impressive.
 
Camry is one car you could comfortably and safely take into rural areas, it’s definitely no delicate petal. 
 
RMP_8897
Full sized spare and hefty jack.
On this model there are no advanced safety features such as AEB, lane departure warning or active cruise control. You do get a reversing camera.  Satnav is only at the top end, which is a disappointment.
 
RMP_8909
Basic but workable camera.
IMG_0486
Couldn’t resist!
 

2015 Camry Altise Photo Gallery

 
 
 


Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper