Toyota Camry - 2007 Review: “It’s a Toyota.” This simple phrase has made life easy and profitable for Toyota salespeople, made domestic car manufacturers green with envy, and has bred such confidence in Camry and Tacoma owners that they border on arrogant. Historically, Toyota buyers have often been justified in this smug sense of superiority – if you were smart, you would’ve bought a Toyota, too. It’s your own damn fault that you’re missing work again to sit at the (insert non-Toyota brand name here) dealership waiting for your car to get fixed. Burned by a Chevy? Buy a Toyota. Ford dealer treating you poorly? Buy a Toyota. Need a wagon? SUV? Compact? Buy a Matrix, or a Highlander, or a Yaris, all by Toyota. Need a full-size truck? Wait for the redesigned Tundra, the unofficial Second Coming, via Texas and courtesy of Toyota.
That’s how things have been in the automotive arena for quite some time, though Toyota’s most recognizable nameplate, the Camry, may cause some buyers to pause – maybe just for a millisecond – before adding themselves to the ranks of the saved. Specifically, quality concerns with our $31,000 XLE V6 test car, as well as similar and consistent issues we’ve noted with other recent Toyota products, should cause the eternal green sales light to flicker. At the same time, domestics are continually improving quality, most evident in redesigned cars and trucks from the “Detroit Three” that have arrived in recent years. Could it be that the quality playing field is leveling out? Perhaps, but “It’s a Toyota” still means that, in all likelihood, the thing will probably run forever with routine maintenance and it might even be worth something after all three of your high school kids have beaten it into the ground. However, look at the details of that shiny 2007 Camry on the lot, the one priced north of $30,000, and you might discover that those simple words don’t go as deep as you’d like.
Buyers interested in the most fuel-efficient 2007 Toyota Camry will want to opt for one with the smaller engine. The aluminum 2.4-liter four-cylinder features dual overhead cams, 16-valves, and a horsepower rating of 158 at 6,000 rpm backed up by 161 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. In most states, this engine gets an ultra-low emissions vehicle rating, but in so-called green states (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, California) it gets a partial-zero emissions rating that drops horsepower to 155 and torque to 158 lb.-ft. When mated to a five-speed manual transmission, the front-wheel-drive Camry boasts 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway; a five-speed automatic cuts the highway rating to 33 mpg. Achieving an estimated 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway is an available 3.5-liter, aluminum V6 joined to a six-speed automatic. This six-cylinder engine features 24 valves, dual overhead cams, 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm, and 248 lb.-ft. of torque churning at 4,700 rpm. Regardless of powertrain, all 2007 Toyota Camry models feature antilock disc brakes aided by electronic brake-force distribution; rack-and-pinion steering, and a suspension system comprised of MacPherson struts in front and a dual-link setup in the rear.
There are several Camrys to choose from:
- The basic $18,850 (including $580 destination charge) Toyota Camry CE comes with the four-cylinder engine and the manual transmission; 16-inch steel wheels rolling on 215/60 tires; power windows, door locks, and mirrors; a CD/MP3 player; a tilt and telescoping steering wheel; air conditioning; a tire pressure monitor; steering wheel-mounted cruise and radio controls; and a driver’s knee airbag, as well as front-side and side-curtain airbags. An automatic transmission and stability control are optional.
- The mainstream Toyota Camry LE, priced from $20,030 (four-cylinder) to $23,620 (six-cylinder), adds a power driver’s seat and keyless entry to the list of standard features, while the options list gets 16-inch alloy wheels, a JBL sound system with Bluetooth connectivity, and a power sunroof.
- Next up is the upscale Toyota Camry XLE, available with the four-cylinder engine ($25,005) or the V6 ($28,100). The former operates with a five-speed automatic transmission and offers its buyer 16-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, fog lights, the JBL sound system, dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a power passenger’s seat, woodgrain trim, a rear sunshade, and a trip computer. The XLE V6 differs with its six-speed automatic transmission, leather upholstery, and power sunroof. More creature comfort comes in the form of available heated front seats, leather seats for the four-cylinder model, a navigation system, and a Smart Key push button ignition system.
- The sporty Toyota Camry SE, ranging from $21,370 with the smaller engine and manual transmission to $24,895 with the V6 and the automatic, is geared more toward the buyer who likes to drive. As such, it includes a sport-tuned suspension with a larger front stabilizer bar, 17-inch alloy wheels, a unique grille, alloy interior trim, and a lower body kit. Options largely mirror those of the LE and XLE models.
Our test sample was a 2007 Toyota Camry XLE V6 version packed with a healthy serving of options such as heated front seats, the navigation system, JBL audio, Smart Key push button starting, stability control, and a floor/trunk mat set. With the $580 destination charge factored in, the total tally came to $31,039. Evaluations on the following pages are based on several days and hundreds of miles driven throughout southern California.