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2006 Detroit Auto Show Index by TCC Team (1/7/2006)

2007 Toyota Camry

2007 Toyota Camry

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Toyota today pulled the wraps off the sixth generation of its best-selling Camry sedan, which will replace the current version that was introduced for 2002. As expected, the new 2007 Camry is highly influenced by the current Avalon, introduced last year, and also inherits various design cues and features from upmarket Lexus models. While the dimensions aren’t markedly different than those of the current Camry it will replace, the proportions have been changed to make it more rakish and flowing, with a more sophisticated headlight and grille treatment, a softer-sloping rear pillar, and the wheels pushed farther out to the corners, increasing wheelbase by about two inches.

 

The Camry will have a standard 158-hp, 2.4-liter in-line four that’s a revision of the existing engine. The next generation V-6 makes a much bigger leap in power, with the optional 3.5-liter — basically the same engine as is offered in the Avalon — offering 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 is mated to an all-new six-speed automatic transmission, while the four-cylinder goes with either a five-speed automatic or a five-speed manual.

 

Most notably, though, Toyota is offering the latest version of its Hybrid Synergy Drive system on the Camry, pairing it with a four-cylinder engine — a different, Atkinson-cycle, 147-hp version of the 2.4-liter—for an emphasis on fuel economy rather than all-out performance. Combined with the electric motor system, the front-wheel-drive powertrain delivers up to 192 hp. The Hybrid carries a PZEV emissions rating. EPA fuel economy for the Camry Hybrid will be 43 city, 37 highway, with performance predicted to be a bit better than the four and V-6 and an official range of over 700 miles from its 17.1-gallon fuel tank.

 

While Camry Hybrids are packaged much the same way as the other models — the evidence of some good engineering work to find places for the bulky elements like the hybrid transaxle, inverter, and battery—they get a slightly different appearance, including blue-tinted headlight reflectors, LED taillamps, and a matte-chrome grille in front that flows into the fascia.

 

Especially of note is the way in which Toyota plans to market the Hybrid — more like a powertrain option than as an entirely different model. Even more surprising is that the hybrid likely won’t be the most expensive Camry in the lineup — though demand at dealerships might drive premiums. Initial marketing plans call for the Hybrid to slot in below a loaded V-6. According to insiders, Toyota plans to treat the hybrid system as a premium powertrain option, a step up from the four-cylinder, but appealing to different customer priorities than the V-6.

 

Fuel economy will be a strength on the other Camry models, too, with four cylinder models offering up to 25 city, 34 highway, and V-6s getting 22 city, 31 highway.

 

All Camrys now have VSC stability control as standard equipment, while Hybrid models get the integrated VDIM system. ABS and Brake Assist will be standard on all models, as will seven airbags including seat-mounted side airbags, side-curtain bags, and a driver-side knee airbag. In addition, all models go to a seat design that helps reduce neck injury.

 

The ’07 Camry will be offered with a wide range of equipment, in base CE, LE, sporty SE, or luxurious XLE trims. The more seriously sporty SE grade now gets stiffer springs and dampers, a solid anti-roll bar, and stabilizing braces underhood and behind the rear seatback, along with an aerodynamic package and other performance cues. The top-of-the-line XLE emphasizes Lexus-like interior appointments and features, including dual-zone climate control with ionizer and filter, and upholstery treated with silk extract. A new-generation navigation system will be optional, as will both a smart-key system and a remote engine starter will be available. Standard features on the XLE will include a moonroof, real woodgrain, and reclining rear seats.

 

A 160-watt CD sound system with input jack will be standard on all Camrys, while the top JBL Premium option offers Bluetooth telephony with voice dialing, along with 440 watts and eight channels of sound.

 

The new model boosts its North American content to 80 percent, and most Camrys will be built in Kentucky.

 

Check back soon for our first drive of the new Camry.

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