For the 2012 model year the Toyota Camry has been completely re-designed. While the sales of the last generation Camry remained strong throughout its 6 year run, the Korean and American auto makers were starting to chip away at the Toyota’s market share. The recent tsunami in Japan also created supply problems, consequently sales of the Camry in recent years aren’t what Toyota has historically enjoyed. For the 2012 model the interior has been vastly improved as well as fuel economy and the infotainment system. Infotainment systems that feature smartphone connectivity are becoming a must have for many buyers.
From the outside the 2012 Camry looks similar to the old one. The styling of the rear tail lights is a bit radical by Toyota’s standards, but aside from that there are no surprises on the outside. Over all Toyota has done a good job of modernizing the look of the Camry, without alienating their traditionally conservative customers. Camry buyers have a wide range of cosmetic touches to make their car look just the way they want. The SE packages in either the V6 or 4 cylinder will give you a sportier looking body and ground effects. You have your choice of 16″, 17″ or 18″ wheels.
When you look inside the new 2012 Toyota Camry, you will be surprised. An almost luxury car like interior greets you and it is thoroughly modern looking. The dash board has contrast stitching on it and at first glance it looks like -dare we say it- a Lexus product. A navigation system is available on all models but the base, and even the budget minded LE models come well equipped. If you go for the LE upgrade package navigation, power driver seat and 17″ alloy wheels are all standard. This can be had for just over $27,000 Canadian.
The drive on the Camry has changed little from the last generation. While the steering feel has been improved, it is still far from sporty and lacks feedback. The ride is comfortable but again like the steering is very isolated and lacks any feel for the road. The standard 178 horsepower 4 cylinder engine provides adequate power however is lacking in acceleration compared to many others in the midsize class, such as Chevrolet’s new Malibu with 197 horsepower. Toyota succeeds well at what the Camry is designed to do: provide safe, quite and understated transportation. Buyers looking for a more exciting or sporty midsize should look at the 2013 Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima or Kia Optima.
The bottom line:Overall the Camry is appealing to the value minded buyer that does not care so much about performance or image.