Toyota Camry Performance
The Camry has been completely reworked for 2007 to provide a more muscular, though still refined, ride. "Now in its sixth generation," reports Motor Trend, "the 2007 Camry line includes the most powerful version ever as well as the most fuel-efficient example to date."
Both available engines, an inline four and a V6, are more powerful than those under the hood of last year's model. Edmunds finds that "this year's revisions give the handling dynamics a slightly sportier feel," while noting that "a quiet, soft ride still characterizes the Camry's on-road demeanor." The majority of reviewers agree. As MSN puts it, "Toyota's emphasis with the Camry still is on practicality, comfort, reliability and refinement, not driving kicks." Car and Driver test drivers find the same, but are disappointed at the lack of driving kicks during a comparison test featuring the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Saturn Aura, Kia Optima and Chrysler Sebring. In fact, Car and Driver writers state "the Camry was solidly midpack," in nearly every performance measure.
Acceleration and Power
The 2007 Camry offers two engine options. A 2.4-liter inline four creates 158 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 161 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. A 3.5-liter V6 makes 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 248 pound-feet of torque at 4,700 rpm. Reviewers note the obvious benefits of each. U.S. News' Rick Newman writes, "The standard 158-horsepower four-cylinder engine, which many mileage-sensitive drivers will likely choose, is peppy and adequate for most situations, with only a bit of lag when starting out at low speeds. The optional V6 is a feisty 268-horsepower model that will turn your familymobile into a stealth sports sedan." Kelley Blue Book writes, "The upgraded four-cylinder engine provides adequate power with good fuel economy, while the muscular V6 is a powerhouse, up 58 horses from last year's 3.3-liter, good for zero-to-60-miles-per-hour bursts in less than seven seconds."
"The standard four-cylinder engine has plenty of power for most situations, and even enough low-end torque for quick takeoffs from a standing start, as long as you don't have a full load," reports BusinessWeek. But "if you appreciate sports-car power in a family sedan, the V6 is the ticket (or, possibly, the way to a ticket). It has far more usable power than the engine is replaces, and pushes the Camry into a new category of performance." Road and Track agrees, writing, "Move up to the new 3.5-liter V6, available in the LE, SE and XLE trim levels, and suddenly this '07 car is most definitely not your father's (or grandfather's) Camry."
CNET adds, "Both four- and six-cylinder engines have added power with good fuel economy." The four-cylinder engine with a manual transmission gets an EPA-estimated 21 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, while a four-cylinder engine with an automatic transmission gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg and 30 mpg, respectively. The V6 gets an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. "The news here," according to Cars.com, "is that the Camry V6 is now more powerful and quicker without hurting the gas mileage. The car accelerates with authority and with the smoothness of the previous V6."
The four-cylinder comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission on all models but the XLE, which gets the otherwise-optional five-speed automatic. The V6 is paired only with a six-speed automatic. MSN explains, "provides for 'sport shifting' without a clutch pedal. It worked admirably in a test SE and made the Camry feel like a more expensive car." BusinessWeek provides details, writing, "Shifting for the six-speed is done through a gated shifter that's much like what's been offered on Lexus products -- you can move the knob over to an 'S' position and then simply go up or down a gear at a time."reports, "Six is plenty of speeds to keep the engine revving where it needs to be for best performance." The six-speed engine,
Handling and Braking
The Camry's retuning extends to its MacPherson-strut front suspension and dual-link rear suspension. The result is that "the new models handle considerably better than the old car," finds Road and Track -- a sentiment shared by many reviewers. "Spring rates and suspension geometries were completely revised," explains Edmunds, "to give the car a sharper feel without compromising ride quality." The points out that the 2007 Camry has "a reduced turning radius for greater maneuverability and larger tires for improved grip and road feel."
Reviewers are less enamored with the Camry's steering, voicing a number of minor complaints.reports, "The front bobbed unduly on bumps, and the car understeered -- tried to run wide in corners -- more than expected." The contends that "the Camry will handle its way easily around the twisties of your choice," but claims that it will do so with "a slightly numb steering feel" that "has been a Camry hallmark for years."
With more praise than criticism for the Camry's handling, New Car Test Drive writes, "Steering turn-in could be a bit more precise, but cornering is markedly solid and stable, with little body lean." Automotive.com is also in this camp, reporting, "The Camry tracks accurately, with quick-enough steering and reasonable body lean."
Standard on the Camry are anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. Consumer Guide says that the brakes "provide smooth, ample stopping power." Automobile.com reports, "Even before testing for at-the-limit stopping power and control, which it executed without distress, the Camry's brakes displayed a nice progressive nature, smooth on and smooth off, as if they were on a mission to teach drivers how important being smooth is to maintaining overall speed."
Most drivers aren't buying a Camry for its towing capacity, which might explain a change pointed out by Cars.com: "The Camry's towing capacity, which was 2,000 pounds in the previous generation, is now 1,000 pounds across the board. Given the popularity of towing with midsize sedans, this sacrifice seems minor compared to the changes in cargo accommodations."
Of the Camry's four trim levels, the SE is the only one that reviewers consistently praise for its performance. It shares the same engine as other trim levels, but has a uniquely tuned chassis with higher spring rates, special shocks, and a stiffer front anti-roll bar. Because of this, the "SE is the only Camry that can be considered fun to drive," in the opinion of the Cars.com writes, "On the street and even on a racetrack, I found the SE to be much more poised than the previous version, with better body roll control." New Car Test Drive says, "Finally, a Camry that's fun and entertaining to drive.", because "the other models feel rather soft when driven moderately hard."