What's New for 2007
Toyota's perennially best-selling family sedan gets a complete makeover for 2007. Among the highlights are a roomier interior, additional luxury-oriented features, an available 268-hp V6 coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission, and a gasoline-electric hybrid model that earns EPA fuel economy estimates of 43 mpg city/37 mpg highway.
In our experience, buyers of family sedans are usually looking for a car that provides a roomy and comfortable interior, a refined driving experience and a reputation for reliability. While most modern sedans meet these qualifications, only two have excelled over the past decade: the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry. For much of that period, the Toyota Camry has held the sales advantage, and it's been America's best-selling sedan for eight of the past nine years. Now, for 2007, Toyota has fully redesigned the Camry, and we have no doubt that it will continue to appeal to a large section of buyers.
As it has done with each generation before, Toyota has increased the Camry's size and power for 2007. A 2.2-inch-longer wheelbase and 1.2-inch-wider front and rear tracks provide benefits in terms of interior space and rear-seat legroom. Underneath the new car, one will find the familiar MacPherson struts up front and a dual-link independent rear suspension. Spring rates and suspension geometries were completely revised, however, to give the car a sharper feel without compromising ride quality. Wheel size has gone from 15 to 16 inches on base models, while the sportier SE trim gets its own set of 17-inch aluminum wheels.
For the outside, the car receives a full styling refresh. Toyota describes the new Camry's look as "athletic and elegant" and "styled in a way that is certain to elicit a positive emotional response." But we're not so sure. To our eyes the front end is a bit heavy looking with its bulbous nose, while the somewhat drooping head- and taillights are simply odd.
This year also ushers in changes for the Camry's available powertrains. For the power-inclined, there's a new 268-horsepower V6 that gives the Camry sport-sedan performance. As far as features, even the base-level 2007 Camry comes nicely equipped, with power windows, cruise and a CD player all standard. And all trims include a standard tire-pressure monitoring system. Moving all the way up the Camry line will get you Lexus-like luxury with elegant cabin furnishings and available high-end luxury features, such as a navigation system and Bluetooth wireless capability.
All of these evolutionary changes have made the 2007 Toyota Camry a very appealing choice. Of course, it's not the family sedan for everybody. The Hyundai Sonata is thousands of dollars cheaper and comes with a better warranty. The Volkswagen Passat is more prestigious to own. The Chrysler 300C has a thumping V8. The redesigned 2007 Nissan Altima, when it arrives, will likely boast superior handling performance. And there's still the very impressive Accord. But for the mainstream part of the family-sedan segment, the new Camry has set the bar even higher in regards to features, performance, reputation and price. Yes, you get what you pay for, and in this case that turns out to be a new benchmark in the highly competitive family sedan market.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Toyota Camry comes as a midsize four-door sedan in five trim levels. The base CE counts 16-inch wheels, air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, cruise control, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player and auxiliary input jack as standard equipment. The Camry LE adds keyless entry and an eight-way power driver seat. The SE includes a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, and special interior and exterior styling details. The luxurious XLE pampers its occupants with a 440-watt JBL sound system that incorporates Bluetooth technology, a moonroof, wood-tone accents, reclining rear seats, an automatic dual-zone climate control system with a high-tech air filter and, on the V6 model, leather seating. The various trim levels should satisfy most buyers' needs, however, a few key options are available, such as stability control and, on the XLE trim, a navigation system and heated seats.
Powertrains and Performance
Standard on all trim levels is a 2.4-liter inline four (158 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque) paired to either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. A potent 3.5-liter V6 (268 hp and 248 lb-ft) mated to a new six-speed automatic gearbox (that offers manual-shift capability) is available on the LE, SE and XLE trims. With the V6, the Camry can reach 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds.
Every Camry comes with seven airbags (dual-stage front airbags, front-seat side and full-length side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag), a tire-pressure monitor and antilock brakes with BrakeAssist (BA) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). Stability control (which includes traction control) is optional across the line.
Interior Design and Special Features
In addition to more space for passengers, the 2007 Toyota Camry offers other features that increase cabin comfort. XLEs with cloth upholstery have a unique treatment using silkworm cocoon extract that coats the fabric, making it very soft to the touch. Additionally, XLE rear-seat passengers can recline their seatbacks. All Camrys have a trip computer, larger instruments than before and a dual-tiered dash that makes for a more spacious feel. Plenty of cubbies and compartments serve to hold CDs, cell phones and garage cards. The Camry's trunk holds 15 cubic feet of cargo.
A quiet, soft ride still characterizes the Camry's on-road demeanor, though this year's revisions give the handling dynamics a slightly sportier feel. Still, the overriding impression is one of refinement and a somewhat isolated feel from the road compared to more athletic competitors like the Mazda 6 and Nissan Altima. Toyota knows that the majority of buyers in this market segment are more interested in comfortable, stress-free travel than tearing through corners, and the refined and very capable 2007 Camry should once again prove to be a hit with them.
Read our Toyota Camry Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test