What's New for 2006
For the 2006 Toyota Camry, the navigation system is now available as a stand-alone option on the SE V6. The Camry's stated power ratings are also a bit lower this year due to Toyota's implementation of a new SAE engine testing procedure.
When it comes to midsize family sedans, there are few cars more well-known than the Toyota Camry. A huge success in the United States, the Camry appeals to buyers because of its comfort, safety and value. It has been, and still is, the "safe" choice in the family sedan class. Buy the Toyota Camry and you can rest assured that it will do little wrong and provide years of faithful service. The Camry was last redesigned in 2002. Compared to the previous-generation Toyota car, this Camry features bolder styling, larger interior packaging, better performance, reduced noise and more safety features. It's an excellent vehicle and fulfills its mission of providing an incredibly comfortable, easygoing ride.
A common complaint over the years is that the Toyota Camry lacks panache. Just compare it to some of the latest competing sedans, and you'll see that it does indeed impart a bit of a snooze response in regards to style and performance. But if these things don't matter much to you, well, you'll do just fine. As usual, the Camry's closest competitor is the Accord. Both are targeted toward the same type of buyer and both have similar levels of style, comfort and features. Pushed to making a decision, we'd probably suggest the Accord as it seems to be a better overall package for the money. But if you choose the 2006 Toyota Camry, you'll know you ended up with a great car that is well suited to today's modern American family.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2006 Toyota Camry sedan is available in Standard, LE, SE and XLE trims. The entry-level Standard offers basics such as power locks and windows, cruise control and a CD player, but has limited option availability. The LE adds upgrades like keyless entry, a power driver seat and color-keyed exterior mirrors. The sporty SE is similarly equipped, but features different interior trim and upholstery, a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, foglamps and a unique grille. Step up to the XLE and you get automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, upgraded audio system and, on the XLE V6, leather seating. Various options include a sunroof, leather seating, heated front seats, a DVD-based navigation system and an in-dash CD changer
Powertrains and Performance
Three engines are available on this Toyota car. The first is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 154 horsepower (145 with PZEV emission controls). It's mated to either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission, and should be powerful enough for the majority of buyers. A 3.0-liter V6 that generates 190 hp is also available on the LE and XLE, while a 210-hp, 3.3-liter V6 is available on the SE model only. Six-cylinder Camrys come with the automatic only.
Antilock brakes are standard on all 2006 Toyota Camry models. Optional on all models are front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Stability control is available on V6 models. In NHTSA crash tests, the Toyota Camry earned a perfect five stars for frontal-impact protection. Side-impact testing resulted in a four-star rating for front-occupant protection (without side airbags) and a three-star rating for the rear. In IIHS frontal-offset testing, the Camry earned a "Good" rating (the highest possible) and was named a "Best Pick." In IIHS side-impact tests, the Camry received a "Good" rating (the highest) when equipped with the optional side airbags (without the bags, it rated "Poor").
Interior Design and Special Features
The Camry's interior offers excellent build quality, high-quality materials and a straightforward design that won't leave you thumbing through the owner's manual to figure out where everything is located. Additionally, the 2006 Toyota Camry boasts competitive amounts of head-, leg- and shoulder room, including the roomiest backseat of any midsize family sedan. The optional navigation system is one of the best around with simple controls and a large, easy-to-read screen.
Toyota didn't design the Camry to be particularly sporty (for that, check out the Camry Solara). Instead, it focused on giving this car a smooth and quiet ride that makes daily commutes a painless chore. Power from the four-cylinder engine is average for this class, but it's delivered in such a refined fashion that only those who demand above-average acceleration are likely to complain. Same goes for the V6 engines, though the more powerful SE V6 has no trouble hanging with the competition.