Toyota introduces an all-new Camry Hybrid for 2007. All Camry models have been completely redesigned, receiving a larger and more aggressive looking body. The hybrid model is comparable in price to the top-shelf XLE Camry, but the higher price is balanced nicely by savings at the gas pump.
The Camry Hybrid is available in only one trim, but it's nicely equipped. Standard features include power windows and locks, keyless entry, Toyota's SmartKey startup, a premium JBL audio system, and dual zone climate control. Add-ons like a navigation system and leather seating are also available on this model.
Toyota and Lexus have demonstrated the ability to provide two types of hybrid powerplants. One is efficiency-focused, and the other is geared toward performance. On the Camry, efficiency is the priority, but power is sufficient. A 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, which provides 147 horsepower and 138 pound feet of torque on its own, is teamed with a electric motor. This addition boosts horsepower by 40, bringing the total to 187.
A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is mated to the hybrid powerplant. Fuel economy estimates for this model are 40 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. City EPA is higher because the electric motor can power the car on its own during casual driving under 30 mph.
Both Toyota and Lexus have seen great success in recent years reinventing the concept of hybrid vehicles. Both companies have shown that eco-conscious drivers do not have to settle for the Prius and the stigma attached to it. Consider the emergence of the powerful Highlander Hybrid, the Lexus RX 400h, and the Lexus GS 450h. The Camry falls somewhere in the middle of that group performance-wise, but it still embodies the application of a clever fuel-efficient technology to an aesthetically pleasing car.