Segment standout just gets better
Toyota’s trusty Camry, the bestselling car in North America for eight of the last nine years, based on its strength in the U.S. market, is as close to perfect as anyone has come in terms of building a mid-size, four-door family car. Unequalled quality, reliability and durability, coupled with a wide range of options stretching over a broad price range has resulted in sales of more than 10 million Camrys since it was introduced in 1980.
For 2007, Toyota gives it a new shape, more power — much more power — and adds a hybrid version for good measure.
Perceived in some quarters as being conservative, Toyota wanted to change that mindset and this new Camry has a great deal more attitude and performance. That’s more than sales talk. The Camry SE, with 268 horsepower, 6-speed transmission and buttoned-down suspension, riding on big 17-inch rolling stock, is a seriously capable sedan. This car is able to play in the big leagues with some of the most prestigious names in the sport sedan world.
The new shape is hardly radical. It couldn’t risk offending one of the largest customer bases in the industry. But it is clearly more linear, modern and littered with subtlety, like the seamless integration between the hood, grille and front end. There is no moulding around the windshield or rear windows. The wipers have a unique shape to cheat the wind and still use it to maximize contact. The rear wheel wells are felt-lined to minimize road noise; the rear seat floor area is near flat, meaning extra foot room for the middle occupant.
The new look continues inside. A new instrument panel wraps around into the doors and the instruments themselves take a page from the Lexus book, making them among the most legible in the industry in any lighting condition.
Overall length is unchanged, but the wheelbase is stretched by almost six cm. Beneath the hood is a choice of four- or six-cylinder engines. The new six displaces 3.5-litres and puts 248 lb-ft of torque through a new and lightweight 6-speed automatic. The upgraded four produces 158 hp and comes with a choice of 5 speeds, automatic or manual. The Camry is available in LE, SE and XLE trim levels, starting at
$25,800 and peaking at $37,425 in the XLE’s case. The hybrid version is $31,900.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning, power windows, ABS, remote keyless entry, tilt and telescope steering, and 4-wheel disc brakes. The SE comes with unique lower-body cladding, sport-tuned suspension and the aforementioned attitude.
On the road, the new Camry is so incredibly refined you simply shake your head and wonder how they do it. The six is a screamer, capable of getting you well over legal speeds really quickly. Yet, both it and the four are certified ULEV2, among the cleanest ratings handed out by the Environmental Protection Agency.
|2007 Toyota Camry|