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This one, we didn’t expect. The world’s largest carmaker has unveiled the 2015 Toyota Camry at the 2014 New York International Auto Show. It is a mid-life update for the best-selling car of its type, but to call the 2015 Camry “just a facelift” would not be fair to Toyota.

The original seventh-gen Camry for North America made its debut in August 2011 as a 2012 model year car. After selling almost a million of those, Toyota says that it has stripped the Camry down to its chassis and rebuilt it from the ground up. For one, every exterior surface of the car is new, bar the roof.

Looking very aggressive for what it is (and what it is known for: solid, dependable transport), the 2015 Camry follows the footsteps of the latest Corolla Altis (US version sportier still) by wearing a bold face and sharp lines. Speaking of lines, a pronounced character line starts from the front fender and spans across the doors and rear quarter panel.

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That bold front fascia is dominated by a big trapezoidal grille, flanked by available LED headlamps (low and high beams) and integrated turn signals and LED DRLs. At the back, the tail lamps, connected by an inverted-U decorative garnish, sweep into the tapered body. By the way, the 2015 Camry is slightly longer than before (by 45 mm) and features a widened track (10 mm) for a more dynamic stance.

Under the new skin, the Camry’s chassis and body structure have been bolstered with additional spot welds, enhancing rigidity for better ride quality. A retuned suspension (front McPherson struts, rear multi-link) takes the D-segment sedan‘s handling “to a whole new level of responsiveness” according to Toyota.

To match the claimed improved handling, the electric power steering system has been tuned for better on-centre feel, better straight line stability and more direct-feeling steering inputs. The brake’s hydraulic system has been revised with a two-stage booster to improve brake feel. Sounds good.

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Also improved is NVH. Window and door seals were improved to keep noise outside, while the carpet features 30% more insulating material. Even the side mirrors were redesigned to better control air flow, reducing turbulence and noise.

The North American Camry will continue to be available with 2.5 litre four-cylinder (178 hp, 230 Nm) or 3.5 litre V6 (268 hp, 336 Nm) engines, paired with six-speed automatic transmissions. In the hybrid department, there’s a 2.5 litre Atkinson cycle engine with Hybrid Synergy Drive matched to an E-CVT gearbox.

There you go, the 2015 Toyota Camry for North America. If you like what you see, don’t get you hopes too high. The pre-facelift XV50 for the US-market differed in looks to our ASEAN car, which is shared with Russia and China, among other markets. Ours is a luxury-oriented saloon for a more mature crowd that Toyota cannot afford to alienate.

In Malaysia, UMW Toyota has just revealed the Camry 2.0 G X, a dressed up 2.0 G. We have a video review of the range-topping Camry 2.5 V, and a written one in the archives, so do check them out.