Toyota Introduces Camry Hybrid
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., unveiled the all-new 2007 Camry and Camry Hybrid at a press conference today at the 2006 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
In the 23 years since it was introduced as a 1983 model, Camry has evolved to the quintessential American family sedan with iconic status.
The Toyota Camry, the best-selling car in America four years running and eight of the past nine years, is completely new for 2007 as Toyota engineers and designers follow a strategy that refuses to take continued success for granted. Toyota set out to redefine the new Camry. To accomplish this, Toyota chose to expand the very definition of Camry and in the process create a new benchmark for sedans. Designers rethought every aspect of the Camry, from its chassis to its body, interior, accessories and drivetrain. The result is a world-class sedan that not only redefines global standards for comfort, performance and intelligent design, but also is available, for the first time, with Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive.
"With the new 2007 Camry, Toyota once again raised the bar with the family sedan," said Don Esmond, senior vice president, automotive operations, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "Camry's reputation as the gold standard was developed over more than 20 years of refining this excellent package and this new Camry continues that reputation."
As designers and engineers refined their goals, they focused on trading what some owners felt was a conservative image for a more stylish, athletic, modern image. At the same time, they sought new standards of performance for both standard and hybrid models.
As interested as drivers will be in Camry's enhanced performance, refinement, value and style, they'll also be interested in its fuel-economy numbers. The standard four-cylinder CE model has EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy ratings of 24/34. Camrys equipped with V6 engines have EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway, while the Camry hybrid has fuel economy ratings of 43 mpg city/37 mpg highway.
An all-new exterior design provides the 2007 Camry with a visual impact that signals a departure from the upright style of its predecessor. This new Camry shape is athletic and modern, with a long, high-visibility cabin set on a horizontal underbody with strong, rounded planes and elongated structures. The wheelbase now is longer than before, and track is wider, with the wheels pushed toward the extremes of each of the car's four corners.
Under the flowing lines of this sheetmetal is a body structure designed to absorb collision-impact forces and help minimize impact deformation to the passenger cabin. High-strength steel is used for B-pillar and rocker panel reinforcement to help manage overall body deformation in the event of a side collision.
Inside the passenger cabin, even the seat frames are designed to receive and help absorb side collision loads and a cross member in the center of the floor is used for the same reason.
The chassis was made more rigid by connecting the cowl front to the upper suspension towers. Additionally, the Camry's hood, fenders and their brackets, and cowl are designed to crumple and absorb impact energy.
As a final design touch, these same panels feature an eye-appealing appearance. The new Camry's front fascia, defined by hood, grille, bumper and logo, is dignified and innovative and is completed by headlights that incorporate a projector-type low beam that offer both beauty and high performance.
While designers optimized the Camry's visual image, they also paid attention to generating a sense of excitement in the driving experience without sacrificing ride quality. To do that, they increased wheelbase (109.3 in., up from 107.1 in.) but maintained the same overall length, with a shortened rear overhang. Even with this lengthened wheelbase, engineers delivered a reduced turning radius.
Setting the stage for improved grip and driver feel are upgraded wheels for all four Camry grades. Gone are the 15-inch wheels previously standard on the LE. For 2007, the CE, LE, XLE and Camry Hybrid will ride on 16-inch wheels of either steel or aluminum, while the sporty SE gets unique aluminum 17-inch wheels with six spokes. These are optimized to help ensure brake-heat dissipation.
Thanks to the use of enlarged wheels, brake discs also were enlarged for improved feel and stopping power. Up front, ventilated 11.65-inch discs are used, with solid 11.06-inch discs at the rear. A new brake pad is adopted that provides 10 percent higher coefficient of friction for increased stopping power over the previous model. Finally, Toyota's Brake Assist, an electronic function that senses an emergency stop and applies increased braking power once the driver touches the brake pedal, is standard.
Front suspension is via MacPherson struts. At the rear, a dual-link strut system helps provide an optimal balance between smooth ride and secure handling. To help improve the Camry's handling and driver feel, all lower control arms were lengthened, all spring, shock-absorber and antiroll-bar values, and all suspension geometries, were rethought and recalibrated.
The completely revised chassis was lab-tested using specs simulating the road surfaces in every country in which Camry is sold. Then, to add real-world verification to their new design, engineers road-tested the new suspension design for more than 60,000 miles in more than a dozen countries.
One of the primary goals the new Camry's design team set for itself was to come up with a stylish design and a roomy, comfortable interior.
The team turned its attention to maximizing interior space – in particular, fore-and-aft space - without significantly enlarging the Camry's exterior. It started by pushing the cowl, the bottom of the car's windshield, forward for an increased sense of openness and room in the Camry's passenger cabin.
Redesigned front seats also played a role in adding a feeling of spaciousness to the Camry cabin. Additionally, seat-slide length was increased to accommodate comfortable driving positions for larger drivers and passengers. Manual seats have a range of 10 inches, and power seats offer 10.2 inches of travel.
As a thoughtful detail, an assist plate - a place on which to position one's hand for support while entering and exiting the vehicle- was added to the outboard side of each front power seat-bottom surround panel.
In an expansion of a seat technology first seen on the Toyota Prius, the Camry's seats use Toyota's Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) seat design. That means that each seat is designed to help manage whiplash injury.
The 2007 Camry's door trim was redesigned for improved ease of use of the door handles and switches. Designers maximized the size of the space around the door handles for easier access.
Designers also paid careful attention to improving the comfort available to rear-seat passengers. Footwell space for the rear seat was enlarged, and additional rear seat legroom was provided. Available rear legroom now measures 38.3 inches, up from 37.8 inches in the previous generation Camry. To enhance comfort for rear-seat XLE passengers, seatbacks now recline eight degrees from their standard position. Alternately, a 60/40 non-reclining fold-down rear seat is standard on CE and LE grades. Rear-seat passengers also get dedicated personal reading lamps on moonroof-equipped Camrys.
So complete was the rethink of the Camry's interior that even the seat fabric was redesigned. Used exclusively on the top-of-the-line XLE four-cylinder model, the new standard fabric is treated by the Fraichir process. In this process, fabric is coated with a naturally occurring component called Sericin, which is extracted from silkworm cocoons and refined. This substance is used because it contains a natural moisturizing component.
Additionally, in their search for increased space, designers did not overlook the Camry's trunk. With the 60/40 fold down rear seats, it offers 15 cubic feet of luggage space. With the reclining or fixed rear seats, it delivers 14.5 cubic feet of storage space. It is equipped with a grocery hook, a utility box and a luggage net (on XLE) for added convenience.
The revised interior involved a complete redesign of every detail of the dash and console, in part to avoid the impression that the dash crowds the Camry's passengers, and also to improve instrument visibility and ease use of all controls.
The dash itself uses a two-level configuration with the upper level moved toward the front of the vehicle to improve the impression of roominess.
In the instrument panel, instruments are larger than before, with larger lettering and longer needles. The speedometer is marked in five-mph increments, a step that is important to American buyers because speed limits of 55, 65 and 75 mph are very common. Additionally, the odometer and trip meters are illuminated at all times to improve daytime visibility.
Special attention was paid to the audio/HVAC control panel. The control panel features switches that are slimmer and neater than previously, with larger lettering, and with surface luminescence for easier use at night.
A standard multi-information display offers outside temperature readings, possible cruising range, average speed, average fuel consumption and trip odometer.
Designers built in many storage spaces around the front-passenger area, including console side-pockets, marking the first use of this storage option in a sedan. Storage options also include a large front console box equipped with an accessory power socket and an auxiliary audio jack - this box is big enough to store eight CD jewel cases. Other storage areas include an accessory box behind the shift lever containing another accessory power socket, a 354 square inch rear-console box with a card holder and a movable tray, and, adjacent to the shift lever, holders for two large cups.
A new HVAC system, standard on the XLE and Hybrid, incorporates automatic climate-control with separate left and right zones. This new system uses Plasmacluster ionizer technology to help reduce airborne mold spores, microbes, fungi, odors, germs and bacteria inside the passenger cabin. The plasmacluster ionizer does this by artificially creating positive and negative ions that seek out and surround harmful airborne substances.
Toyota extends its hybrid leadership by making its exclusive Hybrid Synergy Drive available in the 2007 Camry. Hybrid Synergy Drive consists of dual gas and electric power sources that are complementary and produce a combined 192 horsepower. This system varies power between gas and electric, or both, as needed.
The first half of this system consists of the 2.4L four-cylinder 2AZ-FXE Atkinson-cycle engine, which generates 147 hp and is coupled to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The second half of the Hybrid Synergy Drive equation consists of a small, specially developed electric drive motor that produces 45 horsepower, an ultra-small inverter with a specially designed compact battery and a transaxle to provide the economy and seamless performance hybrid drivers seek.
In addition to its groundbreaking Hybrid Synergy Drive, Camry Hybrid comes with a long list of standard features. These include a tire-pressure monitoring system, halogen headlamps with automatic on/off, a premium JBL audio system with an auxiliary audio jack and Bluetooth® technology, cruise control, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control heating and air conditioning, an eight-way-adjustable power driver's seat, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, 16-inch aluminum wheels, heated outside rear-view mirrors and much more.
Additionally, the Camry Hybrid is equipped with an "ECO" button that limits energy consumption by the HVAC system and under certain conditions can help improve fuel economy.
Because there are situations in daily driving in which the gas engine in a Toyota hybrid is completely shut down, air-conditioning and power-steering systems are driven electrically, rather than by the engine. This ensures these features will continue to operate, whatever the status of the Camry Hybrid's drive system.
Finally, special attention was paid to the vehicle underbody with the use of wheel spats and underbelly pans resulting in a low coefficient of aerodynamic drag (Cd) of 0.27, which helps increase fuel economy.
The 2007 Camry and Camry Hybrid are covered by Toyota's 36-month/36,000-mile basic new-vehicle warranty that applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion perforation with no mileage limitation.
The Camry Hybrid also has an eight-year/100,000 mile warranty that covers the hybrid–related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module, and inverter with converter.
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