Toyota Camry 2012-2017: problems, fuel economy, engines, driving experience, photos

Updated: October 16, 2019

Toyota Camry is a reliable family sedan. It's famous for its comfortable driving experience and a smooth, quiet ride. The Camry has front-wheel drive and comes with a 4-cylinder or V6 engine.

2012 Toyota Camry interior
2012 Toyota Camry XLE interior

Both engines offer good fuel economy. The V6 Camry is fast. The Camry Hybrid version is also available. The only transmission choice in non-hybrid models is a conventional 6-speed automatic.

The interior is practical and stylish. Large doors and elevated seats make entry and exit easy. The USB and Bluetooth are standard. Front seats are supportive. Visibility is good. The JBL audio system available in the XLE trim sounds excellent.

The Camry's safety ratings are among the best in its class. In terms of reliability, the 2012-2017 Camry didn't have major problems, but there are some concerns used car buyers should be aware of; read details below.

2015 redesign: For 2015, the Camry received a major redesign, although it's still considered the same generation known as XV50, see the photos. The 2015 Camry has a widened track (0.4 inches / 10 mm), better sound insulation and more features, but mechanically, there is little difference.

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Engines: The base 178-hp 2.5L 2AR-FE 4-cylinder engine delivers 178 horsepower. It's one of the best 4-cylinder engines on the market. The 268-hp 3.5L V6 (2GR-FE) is also well known. Both are twin-cam engines with variable valve timing.

2012 versus 2015 Toyota Camry
2012 versus 2015 Toyota Camry.

Either can run on regular gasoline. Toyota has used both of these engines for several years in many vehicles and they both have proven to be reliable. See photos below.

Timing belt or timing chain: Both the 2AR-FE and 2GR-FE have a timing chain; there is no timing belt. A timing chain does not require regular replacement.

Mechanical: The steering is electrically assisted with 36.7 ft turning circle, curb to curb. The suspension design is similar to the previous models, with MacPherson struts on all four wheels. Rear brakes are discs only. The Camry Hybrid 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 combined.

Handling and ride: Driving the Camry is a pure pleasure: it's soft, quiet and smooth. Road bumps and imperfections are well absorbed. Compared to the previous model, this Camry handles better and feels more stable in turns. The steering is light; the only downside is that it feels a bit vague around the center position. The 3.5L V6 is actually crazy fast; the Car and Driver magazine clocked the 2012 V6 Camry accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds; it's almost like a sports car.

Toyota Camry EPA Fuel Economy: mpg
city/hwy
L/100 km
city/hwy
2012-2017 Hybrid LE 42/38 5.6/6.2
2012-2017 Hybrid XLE 40/37 5.9/6.4
2013-2016 2.5L 4-cyl auto 25/34 9.4/6.9
2017 2.5L 4-cyl auto 24/33 9.8/7.1
2012 2.5L 4-cyl auto 24/34 9.8/6.9
2012-2017 3.5L V6 auto 21/30 11.2/7.8

Fuel economy: The EPA rates the 2013-2016 Toyota Camry with a 4-cylinder engine at 25/34 mpg city/highway or 28 mpg combined. That means that you can travel up 544 miles (875 km) on a tank of gas on a long highway trip. The 2012 Camry with a V6 gets 21/30 mpg; in mostly highway driving it can go for up to 476 miles or 766 km on one tank.

Problems: According to the service bulletin T-SB-0041-13, the brief knock/rattle at cold startup in the 2012 Camry 4-cylinder 2AR engine could be caused a problem with Camshaft Timing Gear Assembly.

2012 Toyota Camry XLE

2012 Toyota Camry XLE

Toyota Camry 2AR-FE 4-cylinder engine

Toyota Camry 2AR-FE 4-cylinder engine.

Toyota Camry 2GR-FE V6

2GR-FE V6 engine.

To repair the problem, the gear assembly must be replaced. The bulletin quotes 2.6 hours for the 4-cylinder Camry. Check out this discussion at the Rav4world.com forum (the RAV4 has the same engine). Honda and a few other makes have the same problem in some engines too.
Another bulletin T-SB-0086-12 describes the intermittent shudder on light acceleration after an upshift in some 4-cylinder 2012 Camry vehicles. The bulletin instructs replacing a torque converter if the issue is not resolved after changing the automatic transmission fluid. Toyota USA issued Warranty Enhancement Program – ZE5 for certain 2012-2014 Camry for U760E Torque Converter Shudder.
Several Camry owners mentioned a musty smell right after the A/C is turned on. Toyota issued the service bulletin T-SB-0142-13 describing the ways to minimize the odors. Recommendations include: set the HVAC system to "fresh" air mode when parking the vehicle, replace the HVAC filter (cabin filter) annually or every 10,000 miles. Use the High Performance Charcoal Filter. Do the A/C evaporator cleaning service once a year if the condition persists. Read more about cabin filter.
Several owners complained about the power sunroof/moonroof switch not working intermittently in the 2012 Camry. We found the bulletin T-SB-0116-14 on this issue. The TSB recommends checking the switch and if defective replacing the overhead console assembly with an updated part. The part is sold for around $100 online.
The overall number of complaints is fairly low compared to some other mid-size cars.

Similar cars:

Safety: Stability control, traction control, antilock brakes, as well as 10 airbags are standard in all Camry models. The 2012-2017 Camry got the perfect 5-star overall rating in government crash tests.

Camry rear seats folded

Rear seats folded

Trunk

The trunk offers 15.4 cu. ft. of cargo space

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the 2012-2014 as 'Top Safety Pick', while the 2015-2017 Camry have earned Top Safety Pick Plus award.

The 2015 update included the addition of optional Pre-Collision System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Auto High Beam Lane Departure Alert, and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Pros: Fuel economy; safety; reliability, soft and quiet ride, refined powertrain, very powerful V6; interior room and comfort, resale value, moderate ownership costs.

Cons: Pass-through behind the rear seats is fairly small, glove box is not very large, some of the interior materials could be better, the steering feels a bit numb around the center.

Overall: The Camry is still the most comfortable, easy to drive family sedan on the market. It's also very reliable: as of October 2019, Consumer Reports ranks Toyota Camry very well, with all model years from 2012 to 2017 rated "Above average" for reliability and listed as 'Recommended.' J.D. Power and Associates also rated the 2012-2017 Camry well.

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We have also checked many owner reviews: Several 2012 Camry owners mentioned vague steering feel on the highway. A few other complained about the smaller and harder front seats. A number of owners mentioned that they can get the advertised fuel economy numbers. Overall, however, most Camry owners are happy with their cars.

Maintenance tips: In the Warranty and Maintenance Guide for the U.S. 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 oil 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 as you drive 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. The maintenance schedule is online at the Toyota Owners website. An owner's manual can be accessed at the same website.

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2012 Toyota Camry short specifications

Dimensions:
Overall length:
Overall width:
Overall height:
Wheelbase:

189.2 in (4,805 mm)
71.7 in (1,820 mm)
57.9 in (1,470 mm)
109.3 in (2,775 mm)

Turning circle:

367 ft

Curb weight:

3,190 lb. /four-cylinder Camry LE/

Cargo volume:

15.4 cu. ft

Engines:
Four-cylinder:



V6:



2.5-liter, 4-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC Dual VVT-i
178 hp @ 6,000 rpm
170 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm

3.5-liter, V6, 24-valve DOHC Dual VVT-i
268 hp @ 6,200 rpm
248 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm

Recommended Fuel:

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)

By Samarins.com Staff