It has long been a loaded car offering something for seemingly everybody. And with the extensively reworked 2007 Camry, there's even more to like.
There are 10 trim levels of the basic Camry sedan for starters, with the manufacturer's suggested retail price on the CE model with a five-speed manual gearbox and a 158-horsepower in-line 4 coming in at a mere $18,270. You can also get a new gas-electric Camry Hybrid and six versions of the saucy 2007 Camry Solara coupe.
If you can't find contentment with one of these Camrys, you're probably not trying ... or you work for a car company in direct competition with Toyota.
Even the top-level Camry sedan, the tested XLE with a 3.5-liter V-6, comes off as a major bargain. The tester wore a starting price of only $27,520.
I mentally subtracted the options that ballooned the tester's bottom line to $31,204 -- a navigation system, heated front seats and a premium JBL Digital audio system with satellite radio/MP3 capability were the add-on highlights -- and still concluded that the Camry looked, handled and performed like a near-Lexus.
Not a bad deal for well under $30,000. No wonder Toyota sold a whopping 432,000 Camrys last year -- tops among passenger cars sold in the United States, and before the 2007-model-year upgrade.
Here's the thing about this sixth-generation Camry: Its individual charms are not overwhelming and can be found on countless motor vehicles sold nationwide. But taken as a whole, at the asking price and with Toyota's storied reliability/dependability thrown in for good measure, Camry is a motorist magnet.
You'd have to be daft not to have a Camry on your test-drive list.
Styling is a perfect example. The 2007 Camry is dressed in sleeker skin than in previous years. Yet passers-by are not going to stop in their tracks and shout, "Wow, look at that hot new Camry!"
The latest Camry just looks good. It's pleasant on the eye. Plain and simple.
Inside is where you get the near-Lexus feeling. The tested XLE had standard wood grain trim and elegant, light-blue lighting in the center control stack that radiated luxurious ambience.
The lengthy list of standard interior features also included power/leather front seats, dual zone climate control with pollen filter, power moonroof, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, reclining rear seats and power door locks/windows.
Outside, the XLE had standard exterior mirrors that were not only powered, but heated.
Dual chrome-tipped exhausts also were standard; ditto halogen headlamps with an automatic on/off function.
Shouldn't this be a $40,000 car?
The '07 Camry's safety features are likewise stellar -- standard dash and side air bags in front, curtain air bags front and rear and a knee air bag offering extra protection for the driver.
In front and side crash tests performed by the federal government, the new Camry posted the best possible score of five out of five stars.
As mentioned by auto-reviewing colleagues, you do have to pay extra for vehicle stability control. It was a $650 extra on the tested Camry.
The XLE performed like a champ in all conditions. The 3.5-liter V-6 with variable valve timing (268 horsepower) whipped through city traffic and held its own in the nastiest freeway commutes.
Uphill climbs were enthusiastic, with very little engine noise filtering into the cabin.
No, the Camry is not a road-burner. It doesn't pretend to be. You want your eyes pressed deep into the sockets on acceleration, there are lots of other cars that do that.
But if you want a family car that will comfortably transport four or five in comfort for the next 10 years, with few expectations of mechanical problems, think Camry.
If you want a reliable, safe car that will not create problems or repair bills for your son/daughter, think Camry.
If you and your spouse have retired and perhaps want a smaller sedan that will nevertheless have a hint of luxury and deliver all that you need on your frequent road trips, think Camry.
Pick your scenario, there's a 2007 Camry to fit it.
More than 400,000 folks opted for a new Camry last year, and they have a car that, while sublime, is frankly not as good as the 2007 Camry.
You do the math from there.