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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2012 Toyota Camry Review +VIDEO

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2012 Toyota Camry

4 Car Comparison: 2012 Toyota Camry Vs. 2012 Honda Accord Vs. 2012 Nissan Altima Vs. 2012 Ford Fusion
Total 2012 Toyota Camry Specs: Toyota Buyers Guide
Is the 2012 Toyota Camry Your Perfect New Car Match?

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

This mid-size sedan has built a lasting reputation for being reliable, safe, comfortable and affordable. For 2012, the Camry focuses on improved powertrains, sharpened exterior styling, and a new wireless multimedia system called Entune that supports a collection of popular mobile apps and data services like Bing and iHeartRadio.

I drove a 2012 Toyota Camry with the available 268-horsepower 3.5-liter Dual Overhead Cam V6 engine. Enhancements bring fuel economy to 21 miles-per-gallon city and 30 highway. Standard equipment at this slightly above mid-level trim included: 18-inch wheels; a 6.1-inch audio touch-screen; Entune capabilities; Bluetooth 8-way power driver’s seat; the upgraded SofTex interior material; push-button start; a rear spoiler; and dual chrome-tipped exhaust. Price came to $26,640. My test drive had many connectivity and audio upgrades, such as ten JBL speakers, a navigation map and backup camera; and also leather interior with heated front seats and a moonroof. Total price came to $31,177.

My more sport-oriented SE trim featured an exclusive six-speed automatic transmission with a sequential manual shift mode and new steering wheel paddle shifters for even quicker shifting results. Entune offers the largest music selection of any vehicle on the road with over 750 radio stations nationwide via iHeartRadio, iPod connectivity, and Pandora Radio. Cutting edge vehicle technology – accessed through the gas pedal or your smart phone – is the theme of the 2012 Camry.

Watch the 2012 Toyota Camry introduction


Stylish But Comfortable Results: The SofTex interior seating fabric has a buttery feel and the circle-shaped steering wheel audio controls work excellently with thumb dexterity. The second row is roomy enough for a baby seat without the front passenger feeling cramped. The Entune media system is a homerun and connects in seconds through your smart phone, allowing all music and app access to occur through the easily navigated touch-screen. All in all, nice interior fit and finish, but the dashboard layout lacks a sporty edge – even the center console lacks flow and a sense of modern construction.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Camry sports such safety highlights as a first-in-class ten airbag system, Smart Stop Technology and Vehicle Stability Control. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) lists the Camry as a Top Safety Pick. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Camry a 5-Star Safety Rating.

Cost Issues: One thing noticeable about the Camry is that all four trims – the base L, LE, SL and XLE – are all affordable. Or they at least have a moderate price different between them, with the base L starting at $21,995 and the XLE at $24,725.

Activity & Performance Ability: The 2.5-liter V6 engine was sprightly, and even more light and quick when shifting through the steering wheel paddles. Handling was composed and svelte.

Cornering, too, showed posture and command. Brakes were responsive. Road noise was low and suspension feel over imperfections showed constant absorption. Overall, the refined powertrain delivers a track-like feel – equating to just another reason to love and trust this popular sedan. Also note the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent now offers 178 horsepower. That’s an increase of 9 ponies along with a fuel economy gain of two more miles-per-gallon for 28 combined.

The Green Concern: The Camry engines keep getting better with the 2.5-lter four-cylinder now having a two more miles-per-gallon gain for 28 combined; and to 21 miles-per-gallon city and 30 highway for the 3.5-liter V6 engine.

The most noticeable difference about the 2012 Camry is the elevated performance behind the improved powertrains. As far as the sharpened exterior and interior design cues are concerned, in comparison to some of the more aerodynamic sedan styling out there, the Camry took conservative risks.

2012 Katrina Ramser