2012 Toyota Camry
by John Davis
The Toyota Camry is America’s favorite car, and it has been for 13 of the last 14 years. But, in recent times, recalls, natural disasters, and new rivals have taken the shine off this mid-size family sedan benchmark.
So, the all-new, 7th generation 2012 Toyota Camry has a formidable job ahead. It must not only return a quality luster to the Camry nameplate, but it has to battle an increasing number of highly desirable alternatives from other Asian automakers, as well as all three domestic manufacturers.
But, to even begin to be successful, the new Camry has to first appeal to the visual senses. While styling is still very evolutionary, the Camry is definitely younger looking than before. Modern cues include strong character lines, flatter sides, and a wider stance. The front end looks ready to inhale the road. SE trim is again the sportiest, but even the less overt models are nicely fashionable.
Unlike newer competitors the new Camry still offers a V6 engine. The carryover 3.5-liter generates a healthy 268-horsepower. The base engine is the familiar 2.5-liter I4 with 178-horsepower. The standard automatic transmission is a 6-speed with paddle shifters added for SE trim. The Camry Hybrid returns too. The Hybrid’s now has a higher combined gasoline-electric output of 200-horsepower.
Hybrid fuel economy jumps to 43 MPG City and 39 MPG Highway.That’s superior to similar mid-size sedan hybrids. All Camrys offer better fuel economy than last year.
Comfort and luxury and increase on the new Camry. While both exterior and interior dimensions have barely changed, the cabin feels bigger and is richer. The handsome dash is dressed with much upgraded materials. Bluetooth is now standard on all Camrys, along with a USB port with full iPod integration. Standard airbag protection totals 10, but a backup camera is an option.
SE and XLE V6 Camrys included a large touch screen for navigation, stereo, trip functions, and Entune. Entune is Toyota’s new multimedia system that links with smart phones apps for access to the Pandora music site and Bing search engine.
During our initial drive in the new Toyota Camry, we were impressed with its effortless ride and competent composure. The car is also amazingly quiet.
The 2012 Toyota Camry continues as a well focused solution to American family sedan needs. Time will tell if that is enough for it to remain a class leader. But, our first impressions are very positive.
For more details on the 2012 Toyota Camry, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3102 which begins airing nationwide on September 16, 2011. For a complete listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click “Find Your Station” on the home page. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on HD Theater cable channel.