New Toyota Camry review
Redesigned for 2012, the seventh-generation Camry follows the same formula that made it a perennial best seller: it's a very comfortable family sedan with a refined powertrain and soft, smooth and quiet ride. Redesigned for 2012, the Camry got sharper styling, roomier interior with new dashboard design, more precise handling and better fuel economy.
2012 Toyota Camry XLE.
2012 Toyota Camry XLE.
In the US, the Camry is available in the base L, popular LE, sporty SE and the top-of-the-line XLE trim levels. In Canada, the lineup consists of LE, SE and XLE. Two engines are available: the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder (L, LE, SE) or 3.5-liter V6 (SE, XLE). The only transmission choice is a conventional six-speed automatic.
The Camry Hybrid comes in LE and XLE trims; it is powered by the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine combined with the 105-kW electric motor; a powerful hybrid battery pack installed under the trunk floor stores the electric power. The 2012 Camry Hybrid LE gets 40 mpg (5.7 L/100 km) combined.
The 2012 and 2013 Camry are rated with 5 stars overall in the government crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2012 Camry with the "Top Safety Pick" rating. Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Antilock brakes, as well as 10 airbags are standard in all Camry models.
The 2012 4-cylinder Camry is rated atop of its segment with 25/35 mpg (9.4/6.7 L/100 km) city/highway. The only 2012 family sedans with better fuel economy are Volkswagen Passat TDI diesel and the hybrids. The V6 Camry is crazy fast - it makes 0 to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds - yet it has better fuel economy than any other V6 family sedan: 21/30 mpg or 11.2/7.8 L/100 km city/highway. During our test drive, we measured the fuel consumption of the 2012 Camry XLE V6 at 26 mpg (9.1 L/100 km) combined.
The car feels very roomy, thanks to a stretched cabin with a shortened hood and trunk. The doors are large and the seats are pretty high off the floor, making the entrance and exit easier. The interior styling is different from what we used to see in Toyota cars: with elevated lines toward the edges, the dashboard carries some cues form the large American cars of the 60-s and 70-s. The dashboard soft padding and stitching gives the cabin more upscale feeling.
2012 Toyota Camry XLE.
Rear seat offers plenty of head and legroom.
The instrument cluster looks very nice, with light-blue needles and bluish-white backlight. Instead of a temperature gauge, there is a sweeping-needle fuel economy display that shows instant and average fuel economy.
The transmission shifter and cup holders are lighted by a small LED from the overhead console, so you can see where you put your coffee even in the dark. The front seats are large and more supportive than in the previous-generation Camry. There is a soft padding on the side of the center console, so your right leg won't rub against a hard plastic. The center console storage lid that works as an adjustable armrest is huge, almost like a table. The rear seat is very roomy with plenty of headroom and legroom. The tall windows provide good visibility all-around.
The USB audio input is standard, so is the Bluetooth. The JBL audio system in the XLE sounds clean, with good deep bass.
Handling and ride:
The Camry is not a sports car, but for day-in, day-out driving, it's the most comfortable, easy to drive family sedan on the market. The steering is light and the turning radius is good. True to its previous reputation, the new Camry has a smooth, quiet and soft ride, although it feels a tad firmer than in the previous model. The road bumps and imperfections are well insulated. Compared to the previous model, this Camry handles a little better - it leans less in turns, the steering is more precise and the car feels more planted to the road.
The V6 is really fast and the power is there right from the moment you press the pedal; without hesitations. We also noticed that the cruise control works really well, adding or subtracting speed gradually, in small increments. The only complaint, the steering feels a bit numb around the center position when driving on the highway.
Both, the 4-cylinder (2AR-FE) and V6 (2GR-FE) are twin-cam engines with variable timing on intake and exhaust camshafts. Both engines have a timing chain; there is no timing belt. Either engine can run on regular gasoline.
The only available transmission in non-hybrid models is a conventional 6-speed automatic transmission with a torque converter. The steering is electrically assisted. The suspension design is similar to the previous models, with MacPherson struts on all four wheels. The rear brakes are discs only.
Will the new Camry be reliable?
Mechanically it's not that much different from the previous model. The engines are the same and unlike many other newer cars, the Camry still uses a proven conventional automatic transmission. Considering this, we expect, the seventh-generation Camry to be reliable in a long run. Consumer Reports rates Toyota Camry very well - the 2012 model is listed as 'Recommended.' J.D. Power and Associates gave the 2012 Camry four out of five stars for predicted reliability.
How is this Camry different from the 2011 model?
The 4-cylinder engine got more power - 178 horsepower vs 169 horsepower in the 2011 Camry. The 2012 model has higher (numerically lower) final drive ratio, meaning at the same speed the engine RPMs stay lower, helping improve fuel economy. The front stabilizer bar is a little thicker, giving the 2012 model better stability in turns.
The rear seat got more headroom (38.1 vs 37.8 in), legroom (38.9 vs 38.3 in) and hip room (54.5 vs 53.9 in). The passenger volume grew from 101.4 to 102.7 cu. ft. With all that, the 2012 Camry is lighter (3,190 vs 3,307 lb. for LE model).
it's a very comfortable car to drive, especially in a city. If you are shopping for a family sedan, the new Camry is well worth a look. If you liked the Camry before, you won't be disappointed in this one.
Edmunds.com estimates the 5-year maintenance cost for the 2012 Camry at around $3,000, which is fairly low. For comparison, the 5-year maintenance cost for the 2012 Accord is estimated around $3,500; for the 2012 Hyundai Sonata: close to $3,300.
In the Warranty and Maintenance Guide for the US 2012 Camry, Toyota recommends changing engine oil every 10,000 miles/12 months with 0W-20 synthetic, when driving in normal conditions. When the vehicle is driven under especially demanding conditions, including low temperatures, extensive idling, etc., the recommended change interval is every 5,000 miles/6 months. Of course, you know that your engine will last longer if you change your oil more often. Toyota recommends rotating tires every 5,000 miles, so if you take your car to a dealer every 5,000 miles for tire rotation, why not do the oil change at the same time?
It's also important to check your oil level regularly, as some amount of oil is consumed between the oil changes and you don't want your engine to run low on oil.
According to the owner's manual, the 4-cylinder 2.5L engine uses a high-strength drive belt; make sure to use the right part when replacing it.
More on maintenance:
| 10 simple tips how to keep
your car running longer »
| Easy car maintenance
checklist with photos »
Toyota Camry history
Toyota Camry has been the best selling car in America for 13 of the last 14 years. What made it so successful? Let's look back: The 1983 model was the first Camry appeared in the North America.
It was a fairly small boxy front-wheel drive car that was also available as a hatchback. Even today you still see some of them on the road. What I remember the most about this model is the comfortable seats, a slanted engine that idled very quietly and a T-shaped transmission shifter with a large release button for the thumb. It was a simple well-built car; by 1986, Consumer Reports listed the Camry as "Best Buy".
With the 1987 redesign, the Camry got smoother edges, more advanced twin-cam (3S-FE) 4-cylinder motor and an optional V6. A station wagon was also added to the lineup. It was a comfortable car and driving it was a pleasure.
The 1992 redesign was a breakthrough at the time when domestic family sedans were lagging in quality and reliability. The 1992-1996 Camry with its perfectly balanced shape was arguably one of best looking cars on the road in those years. The sales picked up and the 1997-2001 model continued the trend. With the 2002 redesign the Camry got larger and quieter; the dashboard lost its usual center console; it also received a new stronger 2.4-liter 4-cylinder (2AZ-FE) engine. The 2007-2011 Camry grew in size again, with longer wheelbase and wider track; the optional V6 got more power. The center console returned.
The Camry sales topped in 2007 with 473,108 units sold in the US. Since 1997, Toyota Camry has been the America's best selling car, except for 2001, when Honda Accord took the podium. Interestingly, Toyota Camry is the only model in its class that has not seen very dramatic changes over the years; this is one of the reasons why the Camry is so reliable.
2012 Toyota Camry specifications (US model)
| Overall length:
| 189.2 in (4805 mm)
71.7 in (1820 mm)
57.9 in (1470 mm)
109.3 in (2775 mm)
|| 36.6 ft (11.2 m)
|| 3,190 lb. /four-cylinder Camry LE/
|| 15.4 cu. ft
| 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC Dual VVT-i
178 hp @ 6000 rpm
170 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
3.5-liter, V6, 24-valve DOHC Dual VVT-i
268 hp @ 6200 rpm
248 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm
|EPA Fuel Economy (US mpg, L/100 km):|
| 2.5L 4-cylinder, automatic transmission:
3.5L V6, automatic transmission:
| city: 25 mpg (9.4 L/100 km)
hwy: 35 mpg (6.7 L/100 km)
city: 21 mpg (11.2 L/100 km)
hwy: 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km)
|| 87 or higher
|Fuel Tank Capacity:
|| 17 US gallons (64 liters)
|Engine oil capacity:|
|With oil filter change:
2.5L 4-cylinder (2AR-FE) engine
3.5L V6 (2GR-FE) engine
4.7 US qt (4.4 liters)
6.4 US qt (6.1 liters)