So I’m rather surprised at this development... I had a 2015 Camry SE as my rental for a trip this week. I did about 220 miles in it, from Portland to Springfield, Oregon and back.

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And I liked it.

Honestly, I was shocked by the car! It had a lovely interior, black with red stitching and accents. The chairs had a good looking cloth pattern, were power with lumbar, and reasonably comfortable. It was a 4-banger with adequate power. The six-speed transmission did its business seamlessly and effectively. It handled nearly as if not as well as my partner’s 2012 Fusion. Brakes were damned good. The bluetooth and voice commands worked better than Ford Sync does with my phone. And it averaged nearly 29 mpg going up and down I-5 at freeway speeds. The IP was attractive, clean, easy to read. I also liked the little screen at the center of the IP, and while the “Camry” and animation of a Camry on start-up were completely unnecessary, I still liked them.

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It also had both paddle shifters and the auto-stick. They seemed to behave differently, too, with the auto-stick being full manual control and the paddles apparently being automated manual (so it seemed anyways, I didn’t play with the paddles much. The auto-stick clearly showed a gear, the paddles showed D#.)

My only real complaints: The seats were not quite deep enough-they could have used two more inches of thigh/leg support (front to back depth, width was just fine). They were comfortable enough, and after two hours one-way in the car I felt fine. But, my preference would have been for just a bit more depth to the seat. Also, the glossy black trim around the shifter was good-looking, but the sun glared off of it into my eyes.

Also, it had that stupid zig-zag pattern shifter. I would up hitting Park every time I tried for Reverse because of that dumb thing. Toyota’s not the only one that uses them, and I hate them on principle because I think they’re stupid.

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Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this whole thing. I was honestly pleasantly surprised by the Camry and I came away from it thinking it a fine car. I’ve been in older Camrys, and they always felt cheap and stupid. My friend’s 2003 made me want to walk, and I never understood why anyone would have bought a Camry of that vintage over a Taurus or even a Malibu, they were that bad. But this new one, I’d seriously consider one if I were buying a CD-sized car.