NEW FOR 2008:

– Interior colours: Medium Red Brown woodgrain trim replaces Birds-Eye Maple, Bisque Interior available with Black exterior
– Exterior colours: Classic Silver Metallic replaces Titanium Metallic; Jasper Pearl deleted on Hybrid

Completely redesigned for 2007, the Toyota Camry and its Hybrid variant receive only colour changes for 2008.

The Camry comes with a choice of two engines: a 2.4-litre inline four-cylinder in the LE and SE, and a 3.5-litre V6 in the LE V6, SE V6 and XLE V6. The 2.4-litre comes with a five-speed automatic in the LE and a five-speed manual in the sportier SE, which can also be optioned with the automatic, while the V6 uses a six-speed automatic with manual shift mode. The Hybrid is powered by the 2.4-litre four-cylinder with hybrid electric system and continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Features on the LE models include 16-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack, fabric seats, 60/40 split folding rear seat, power locks with keyless entry, power windows, tilt wheel, floor mats, cruise control, side and curtain airbags, driver’s knee airbag, heated mirrors, and variable intermittent wipers. The V6 model adds 16-inch alloy wheels, eight-way power driver’s seat, front and rear splash guards, coloured bumpers and mirrors, coloured door handles and chrome tailpipe.

The SE models add 17-inch alloy wheels, sport fabric seats, eight-way power driver’s seat, fixed rear seat with pass-through, leather-wrapped three-spoke wheel, side skirts, sport-style grille, and fog lamps. The V6 model adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The XLE V6 uses 16-inch alloy wheels and adds premium six-CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack, Bluetooth hands-free system, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated leather seats, four-way power passenger seat, 40/20/40 split reclining rear seats with pass-through, multi information display, auto-dimming rearview mirror, illuminated vanity mirrors, woodgrain trim, rear reading lamps, Smart Key system with pushbutton start, and power sunroof.

The Hybrid comes in a single trim line and includes 16-inch alloy wheels, premium six-CD stereo with auxiliary jack, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power driver’s seat, 60/40 fold-down rear seat, fuel economy meter, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power windows, tilt and telescopic wheel, Smart Key system with pushbutton start, cruise control, garage door opener, driver’s knee airbag, heated mirrors, LED taillights, and variable intermittent wipers.

The Hybrid can also be optioned with a Premium Package, for $3,680, which adds four-way power passenger seat, heated leather seats, power sunroof, dual illuminated vanity mirrors and rear reading lights.

Offering sharp handling and quality materials, the Camry has a smooth ride with sporty character, especially in the SE model, although the base LE would benefit considerably from a tire upgrade. The interior is beautifully designed and features an elegant glass faceplate on the centre stack that glows blue at night. Wide-opening rear doors will need extra care to prevent door dings in parking lots, but once inside, passengers will find a roomy back seat.

The four-cylinder allows for a less expensive buy-in, but it can be buzzy when pushed and can find itself under pressure when called on for highway passing; the V6 is smoother, powerful and a better choice. The Hybrid features Toyota’s tried-and-true Hybrid Synergy Drive, and provides all the benefits of a gasoline-electric, but in a more conventional package when compared to the tech-styled Prius.

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