With a makeover coming down the pipe, the Toyota Camry is unchanged for 2006; prices remain at 2005 levels.

The Camry comes with a choice of three engines: a 2.4-litre four-cylinder on the LE and SE, a 3.0-litre V6 on the LE-V6 and XLE-V6, and a 3.3-litre V6 on the SE-V6. All come with variable valve timing and are rated as Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEV). The sportier SE comes with a five-speed manual transmission; all other models use a five-speed automatic as standard equipment that can also be optioned on the SE.

The base LE includes 15-inch steel wheels, ABS, CD player with six speakers, air conditioning, 60/40 folding rear seat, power locks with keyless entry, power windows, cruise control, cargo net, heated power mirrors and variable intermittent wipers. The LE-V6 offers the same features plus front and rear splash guards, and 15-inch alloy wheels.

The XLE-V6 adds a six-CD changer, automatic climate control, power adjustable driver’s seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror, woodgrain trim, rear sunshade, side and curtain airbags, power sunroof, 16-inch wheels and fog lamps.

The SE package includes all of the LE features, plus a leather-wrapped three-spoke wheel, aluminum instrument panel accents, and 16-inch wheels. The SEV-6 adds the six-disc CD, leather interior, heated seats, and 17-inch wheels.

The Camry is vanilla, but it’s very good vanilla: it’s not exciting, but it’s comfortable, it’s extremely well-built, there’s plenty of rear-seat room, it handles very well, and it’s just an all-around good, competent machine. But it’s a crowded field, and it doesn’t just have to battle the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima anymore; the all-new Hyundai Sonata and Chevrolet Impala are hot on its trail, and all are worthy of a look.

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