Full 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
What's New for 2007
The 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid is all-new. The main difference between it and all other Camry models is that it has a gasoline/electric hybrid powertrain that is able to provide exceptional fuel economy. The Camry Hybrid also benefits from the 2007 Camry full redesign, as well.
In our experience, buyers of family sedans are typically looking for cars that provide a roomy and comfortable interior, a refined driving experience and a reputation for reliability. While most modern sedans meet these qualifications, the Toyota Camry, in particular, excels. For 2007, Toyota has fully redesigned this very popular sedan, and we have no doubt it will continue to appeal to a large number of buyers.
Of some significance is the all-new 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid. Like other Camry models, it benefits from the redesign's increase in size, new features and updated interior. The main difference is that under this Camry's hood is a gasoline/electric powertrain. Building off its experience with the Prius and Highlander Hybrid, Toyota has fitted its latest "Hybrid Synergy Drive" system into the Camry.
The 2.4-liter four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine generates 147 horsepower and is coupled to a CVT (continuously variable transmission). The second half of the Hybrid Synergy Drive equation consists of a small, high-torque electric motor that produces 40 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque at low rpm. This combination, along with other power-saving features, allows the Camry Hybrid to deliver EPA estimates of 40 mpg city/38 mpg highway.
These are the best fuel economy figures of the Camry lineup. But they do not come free; the Camry Hybrid stickers for about $1,500 more than a four-cylinder Camry XLE and thousands more than the more frugal Prius. The associated hybrid hardware also adds some weight and takes up some valuable space inside the trunk.
Overall, however, the new Toyota Camry Hybrid is a very impressive and complete sedan. It's transformed the previous image of owning a hybrid vehicle (owner = eccentric granola-fueled beatnik) to one of the acceptable mainstream. Its closest competition comes from, naturally, the Honda Accord Hybrid, though the Accord is considerably more powerful and more expensive. Each has its own particular advantages, but the more fuel-efficient Camry Hybrid is apt to be the better choice for most shoppers.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid is a midsize sedan. Standard features include 16-inch wheels, keyless entry, power windows and mirrors, Smart Key, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, a power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control with a high-tech air filter, a special multifunction display and a JBL audio system with an in-dash six-CD changer. Popular options include leather seating, a navigation system and a sunroof.
Powertrains and Performance
In the Camry Hybrid, the gas-fueled engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder modified for greater fuel efficiency, and it's capable of 147 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor adds another 40 hp that provides a cumulative total of 187 hp when driving conditions call for maximum power. The electric motor can also power the Camry Hybrid on its own, but only under light throttle applications at speeds below 30 mph. EPA fuel economy estimates are 40 mpg city, 38 mpg highway.
Every Camry comes with seven airbags (dual-stage front airbags, front-seat side, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag), a tire-pressure monitor and antilock brakes with brake assist (BA) and EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution. Stability control (which includes traction control) is also standard.
Interior Design and Special Features
In addition to more space for passengers, the new Camry Hybrid offers other features that increase cabin comfort. One example is the standard "Plasmacluster" air filtration system, which Toyota says ionizes incoming air and neutralizes germs and odors. And like other Camry models, the Hybrid has plenty of cubbies and compartments to hold CDs, cell phones and garage cards. The trunk holds only 10.6 cubic feet of cargo (as compared to a regular Camry's figure of 15 cubic feet) because of the additional space taken up by the battery pack.
Like the Prius, the Toyota Camry Hybrid experience is a bit odd at times due to the CVT transmission and eerily quiet cabin at traffic lights. Not like the Prius, however, is the Camry Hybrid's brisk acceleration. Although not nearly as quick as a V6-powered Camry, the Hybrid is able to hit 60 mph in 8.6 seconds. As for fuel economy, the Camry Hybrid is typical in that driving style has a large impact on the results. Proper technique can keep average fuel economy well above 30 mpg.