Inside Story: 2007 Toyota Camry LE toyota inside story
2007 Toyota Camry; photo by Russell Purcell. Click image to enlarge


Article and photos by Michael Clark

Photo Gallery: 2007 Toyota Camry

I was swapping keys with Autos contributor Haney Louka recently, for the 2007 Toyota Camry LE, the subject of this week’s Inside Story. Louka summed up the no-brainer Camry in a way most of us auto scribes can mutually agree with. “It’s the one car that I can recommend to someone, without ever having to worry about that recommendation in the future.” The Camry heritage of reliability conjures up images of disenchanted Toyota service technicians, tumbling into depression with the maintenance tedium of oil changes, oil changes, and more oil changes – plus the odd timing belt.

As Camrys (Camri?) go, there is nothing that epitomizes the game of Press Car Hot Potato more, amongst automotive journalists anyway, than a base model Camry LE. A four-cylinder, automatic-shifting, plastic wheel cover-wearing, blingless waking coma of a press car. If a writer has one for two days, it’s probably because he or she was in the hospital for one of those days. They then make it home just in time to pass it on to the next guy, with their plastic name-tag still on their wrist.

I admit, I used to be one of those jotter’s – until I started to pick at this particular LE. This is the absolute base model, with an MSRP of $25,900. Let’s find out just how creamy plain vanilla can get.


Engine compartment


Inside Story: 2007 Toyota Camry LE toyota inside story
2007 Toyota Camry. Click image to enlarge

If your idea of turbulent velocity is a speedy elevator, then the 2.4-litre four-cylinder is all the motivation your Camry will ever need. As for routine maintenance access with the four, the Camry compartment will please both technicians and washer fluid juggernauts alike. A major shock is the shocks, a.k.a. struts, which hold the hood aloft instead of an expected prop rod. Fluid access is first-rate. The filler necks for brake fluid, washer juice, and coolant are all upright, each at a height and placement that would most likely dismiss funnel use for even the rank amateur. Headlamp bulb access is good, though those with sizable mitts may opt to remove the battery on the driver’s side. The valve cover design has a slight tilt and indentation for the oil fill cap, which seems intent on directing dribbles away from the exhaust manifold. One of my favourite dipsticks is found on a Toyota automatic. It has a spring steel catch to keep the stick from popping out, which could lead to foreign matter contaminants. They’ve been doing this since my early-Eighties Supra. Major components, such as the alternator and starter, allow for easy access, which should keep servicing costs down to a minimum.

Inside Story: 2007 Toyota Camry LE toyota inside story
2007 Toyota Camry. Click image to enlarge


Spare tire

Most drivers are acutely aware of the fact that a flat tire will always occur as far away from, and outside the business hours of, your local tire repair shop. The Camry allows you to arrive in style with your situation of deflation: a full-size spare is standard equipment. It stows neatly in the trunk floor sump, with the necessary jacking tools within easy reach. Depending on how stingy you are with the loonies, you may want to practice your tire change savvy. Roadside assistance is not included in the standard Toyota warranty, though it is only $84.95 per year.


Trunk


Inside Story: 2007 Toyota Camry LE toyota inside story
2007 Toyota Camry. Click image to enlarge

15 cubic feet of golf club bag-swallowing splendour awaits. Since golf, as well as other large cargo dumps, are a sometime thing, the Camry includes a cargo net for all models, with the necessary tether points. An indented floor tray on the left side of the compartment is the perfect spot for a jug of washer juice. The rear folding seatbacks can be released from the trunk, but a spring-load helper on the seatback would be appreciated, to keep the cushion from settling back into the lock position. Pulling harder on the release doesn’t appear to help the dreaded ‘click’ from dissipating, as you head to the seat to engage fold-down. Easy-access flaps, sliced into the rear of the trunk surround material, make short work of taillamp bulb replacement.


Interior

Even without servos, the manual adjustments for the driver’s seat easily accomplish a proper, and comfortable driving position. The tilt wheel includes manual telescoping.

Inside Story: 2007 Toyota Camry LE toyota inside story
2007 Toyota Camry. Click image to enlarge

The base LE still provides power locks, power heated exterior mirrors, and power windows with driver’s auto-down. Door pockets are ample, with a cavern-sized glove box and useable centre console armrest/cubby, with removable stuff tray. My favourite hiding place is the ‘garage’ directly below the HVAC controls, with 12 VDC plug-in, as well as the auxiliary jack for whichever MP3 player you got sucked into purchasing. The cupholder centre is concealed when not in use. Flip the door, and you’re greeted by two spring cinch-style receptacles. The cincher can be removed to stow different items from prying eyes. To the left of the driver is a pull-out tray on the dash, your new ‘coffee/parking meter/toll-road spare change-stash’ receptacle. The LE includes cruise control, as well as steering wheel-mounted audio controls for the single CD/AM/FM 6-speaker stereo.

Inside Story: 2007 Toyota Camry LE toyota inside story
2007 Toyota Camry. Click image to enlarge

The rear seat positioning and legroom quotient borders on Checker cab. There is a flip-down centre armrest with dual cupholders. The rear seat back pockets are actually plastic, with stretch webbing that can hold everything from sales proposals to extra-thick colouring books. The design makes for easy cleaning, as well as allowing a much more involved view when searching for the Lucky Hot Wheels that’s causing a three year-old’s meltdown – or a 38 year-old’s for that matter. The sides of the rear seat sport unique upper pockets, which house the tethered comfort guides for the outboard seatbelts. Safeniks will appreciate full curtain airbag protection front and rear, dual frontal airbags with passenger seat occupant sensor, front seat-mounted side airbags, and a driver’s side knee airbag. Mmmmm, pillowy soft…


Clarkey rating


When you’ve been building something since ’83, you had dang sure be getting it right by now. The Camry LE base scores five out of five stars, for an impressive level of tasteful functionality and equipment for relatively low dough. Use it as the yardstick of measure during your tire kicks. If you want excitement, tie a rubber band on your hips and head to your nearest suspension bridge. This is the definition of transportation.


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