DETROIT – Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. debuts the all-new '07 Toyota Camry today here at the North American International Auto Show.
Toyota is trying to infuse some emotion into Camry's styling with this sixth-generation model, which since its U.S. debut in 1982 as an '83 model has suffered from a reputation as a bland box-on-wheels.
This has not hurt sales, however, as Camry has been the best-selling car in the U.S. in eight of the last nine years, according to Ward's data, tallying 431,703 deliveries in 2005.
To make the Japanese auto maker's popular U.S. model edgier, Toyota says it utilized its “Vibrant Clarity” design language, already seen on the upcoming Yaris subcompact and RAV4 small cross/utility vehicle.
The Camry also boasts some of the same styling cues found on the newer, upscale GS and IS Lexus models by sharing a similar trapezoidal rear taillight design. Lexus calls its new design language L-Finesse.
'07 Toyota Camry goes on sale in March.
Toyota calls Camry's shape “athletic and modern.” The vehicle's structure uses high-strength steel for the B-pillar and as reinforcement for the rocker panel to lessen deformation in a side impact.
And seat frames are designed to receive and absorb side collision loads, Toyota says. Plus, a crossmember has been placed in the center of the floor for the passenger cabin to better withstand side impacts.
The Camry keeps its MacPherson strut front suspension and dual-link strut rear suspension. However, Toyota says it lengthened lower control arms and recalibrated all spring, shock-absorber and antiroll-bar values and suspension geometries to improve ride and handling.
Front brakes are ventilated discs and rear brakes are solid discs in the standard Camry. The Camry Hybrid uses the same setup, but adds antilock and regenerative braking systems in both the front and rear.
Although the '07 Camry may appear larger, dimensions have increased only slightly. The wheelbase has grown 2.2 ins. (5.6 cm) over the previous fifth-generation model. Both front and rear tracks have grown 1.2 ins. (3 cm), and overall width has increased 1 in. (2.5 cm). The length remains 189 ins. (4.8 m).
To make the interior appear roomier, without increasing its space, Toyota engineers pushed forward the bottom of Camry's windshield and redesigned seats.
The Camry's seats employ Toyota's Whiplash Injury Lessening seat design, already seen on the Prius, which is meant to minimize neck injury.
Rear legroom increases half an inch from the previous-generation Camry.
The dash incorporates a 2-level design; instrument panel lettering and gauge needles are larger. Climate and audio control switches are slimmer.
A multi-information display with temperature, cruising range, average speed, fuel consumption and trip odometer readouts is standard across the Camry lineup.
Toyota says the new Camry's interior console side pockets are a segment first.
An updated version of the current Camry's 2.4L I-4 engine is the base powertrain, making 158 hp, up from 154 hp in the current model. Two transmissions, a 5-speed automatic and a 5-speed manual, will be offered with the mill.
The current Camry's 3.0L V-6 is replaced by the same 3.5L V-6 found in the new Avalon, with 268 hp. Toyota promises 40% better acceleration with the 3.5L vs. the 3.3L.
This engine is mated to a new 6-speed automatic transmission, which Toyota says uses 21% fewer parts than the 5-speed automatic it replaces.
Perhaps most notable for the new '07 Camry is the addition of the hybrid-electric vehicle to the model lineup.
Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system produces 192 hp in the Camry Hybrid.
The gasoline engine is a 2.4L 4-cyl. Atkinson-type that on its own produces 147 hp and 137 lb.-ft. (186 Nm) of torque. It is mated to a continuously variable transmission.
The electric motor makes 45 hp and 203 lb.-ft. (275 Nm) of torque.
Toyota estimates fuel economy with the 4-cyl. engine to be 25 mpg city/34 mpg highway (9.4/6.9 L/100 km) and 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway (10.7/7.6 L/100 km) with the V-6.
The Camry Hybrid's fuel economy is rated at an estimated 43 mpg city/37 mpg highway (5.5/6.4 L/100 km). All ratings are according to Environmental Protection Agency standards.
The standard Camry will be available in four grades, with the new base CE added to the existing LE, SE and XLE trims.
The CE comes standard with the 2.4L I-4, with 5-speed manual transmission, halogen headlamps and seven airbags.
LE buyers can choose from the 4-cyl. or V-6 and get in-key remote keyless entry and 8-way adjustable power driver's seat standard.
The SE sport model comes with firmer springs, antiroll bars, shocks and bushings.
It also is 0.4 ins. (10 mm) lower than the other Camry trim levels; has a flat underbody for better, faster airflow; and has a V-shaped brace between the trunk and cabin and underbody stabilizers to increase torsional rigidity.
Standard features of the SE trim include 17-in. aluminum wheels; a black, honeycomb-style grille; tinted halogen headlamps; and special dark charcoal or medium gray interior with 3-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The upscale XLE features a premium JBL 440-watt stereo with Bluetooth technology; a softer, gentler seat fabric; wood-grain trim; moonroof; and rear reclining seats.
Standard features of the Camry Hybrid include halogen headlamps with automatic on/off; tire pressure monitoring system; a JBL premium audio system, featuring an auxiliary audio jack and Bluetooth technology; dual-zone climate control; 8-way power driver's seat; heated outside rearview mirrors; and 16-in. aluminum wheels.
And, for those drivers especially concerned with their HEV's fuel economy, Toyota has added an “ECO” button that reduces energy consumption by the vehicle's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
Toyota notes the Camry Hybrid's AC and power steering are run off the electrical system, not the gasoline engine.
The XLE and Hybrid's standard climate control system uses Plasmacluster ionizer technology to lessen airborne mold spores, germs and bacteria in the cabin.
Options on select Camry trims include voice-command DVD navigation system, rear spoiler, vehicle stability control and a keyless Smart Entry and Smart Start system.
Toyota's Georgetown, KY, plant, will continue to build the new Camry, as well as the hybrid variant, marking the first time a Toyota hybrid will be built outside of Japan.
However, a nominal number of both Camry and Camry Hybrids will come from Japan, says Toyota.
The gasoline-engine-only Camry will go on sale in the U.S. in March, with the Camry Hybrid to follow this summer The hybrid already has 60,000 orders.