2008 Camry Hybrid New Car Test Drive
Toyota is introducing an all-new Camry for 2007. Gone is the Camry criticized as stodgy and plain. The new one features aerodynamic new styling that shows more vigor and life than we've come to expect from a car many have labeled, and not kindly, Japan's Buick.
The 2007 Toyota Camry is thoroughly revamped, re-worked and upgraded from the tires to the roof, from the front bumper to the back, from the dashboard to the trunk. Inside is a new, airy interior. The engines are more powerful, the transmissions more diverse. And across the line, the new models are more fuel efficient.
Models range from the surprisingly well-equipped CE to the near-luxury XLE. In between are the LE, a modest step up from the base CE, and the SE, decked out with suspension, tires and trim to please the sporty crowd. Also new for 2007 is the Toyota Camry Hybrid with a combination electric motor/gasoline engine fitted with a new, super-efficient, continuously variable transmission. While the federal government's fuel economy ratings are just estimates, the Hybrid's range from 37 to 43 mpg.
All Camry models are five-passenger, four-door sedans. (The Camry Solara convertible has not been redesigned.)
Almost from its debut in the U.S. 23 years ago as a 1983 model, the Camry has been a quality car, a solid design, well built and with almost unmatched durability. For eight of the past nine years, the Camry has been the best selling car in America. Today, the Toyota Camry defines the midsize four-door sedan. It's the standard for the segment all the others are measured against.
The 2007 Toyota Camry comes in four trim levels plus the new Hybrid model. All four trim levels, CE $19,520), LE ($19,925), SE ($21,140), and XLE ($24,900), come standard with the 158-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. A 268-hp 3.5-liter V6 is available for the LE ($23,540), SE ($24,815), and XLE ($28,020). Then there's the Hybrid ($25,900).
The entry-level Camry is the CE, but it comes standard with air conditioning with pollen filter, cruise control, tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, six-way adjustable driver's seat, the usual array of power accessories, a multi-function driver information display, a 160-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers and P215/60R16 tires on steel wheels. The CE comes standard with the five-speed automatic.
The LE adds an eight-way power driver's seat, remote keyless entry and, when the V6 is ordered, chrome tips on the dual exhaust. Options include a JBL sound system with a six-disc, in-dash CD changer, eight speakers and Bluetooth capability; power tilt/slide moonroof; alloy wheels; and electro-chromatic rearview mirror with compass. The LE comes standard with the four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual gearbox, but can be upgraded with the five-speed automatic ($20,975) or to the V6 with the six-speed automatic.
The sporty SE comes with a firmer and beefier suspension, unique interior and exterior trim, and P215/55R17 tires on aluminum alloy wheels. The SE's option list includes leather interior trim with heated front seats, a power moonroof with rear seat reading lamps, programmable remote opener system, a DVD-based navigation system with touch screen integrated into a JBL sound system with a four-disc, in-dash CD changer and all-season tires. The SE comes with the four-cylinder and manual, with the five-speed automatic optional; also available is the V6 with six-speed automatic.
The XLE includes dual-zone climate control, engine immobilizer with alarm, Bluetooth-capable stereo with steering wheel-mounted controls, eight-way power driver's seat and four-way power front passenger's seat, heated outside mirrors, power moonroof, rear seat reading lamps, 40/20/40 split and reclining rear seat, manual rear window sunshade, cargo net, fog lamps and 16-inch alloy wheels. Leather interior trim is standard with the V6 and optional with the four-cylinder. Also optional are the programmable remote opener system, heated front seats (only with leather), the navigation system and, exclusive to the XLE with the V6, the Smart entry system with keyless entry and push-button start. The XLE comes standard with the four-cylinder engine and the five-speed automatic; the V6 with six-speed automatic is optional.
The Hybrid comes with the most complete list of features. Other than the power moonroof, the navigation system, the leather interior and the heated front seats (available with the leather trim), the Hybrid comes fully loaded. It's fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels. The moonroof, navigation system, leather seats and heated front seats are optional.
Safety features on all models include the required frontal airbags, upper body-protecting side-impact airbags for the front seats, head-protecting side air curtains for front and rear seats, and a driver's knee airbag, which better positions the driver for controlling the car and for avoiding injury from the steering column. A tire pressure monitoring system comes standard. Also standard are antilock brakes (ABS), which aid steering control during a panic stop, Brake Assist, which applies the brakes more quickly and consistently when it senses the onset of a panic stop, and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), which balances brake application front and rear for optimal stopping distance.
Vehicle Stability Control with Traction Control is an optional active safety feature for the CE, LE, SE and XLE, and we recommend getting it.