By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
America's top-selling passenger car for the past nine years, the Toyota Camry receives a major overhaul for 2012. While the seventh-generation of the front-drive sedan retains its midsize status, a new look, new features and an even more people-focused personality are all aimed at infusing its well-honed practical persona with a new measure of emotional appeal that Toyota hopes will curry favor with younger buyers. Available in L/LE/SE/XLE trims with four-cylinder and V6 (SE/XLE) gasoline engines as well an impressively redone Hybrid variant in LE/XLE variations, the 2012 Toyota Camry will need every edge it can muster as it takes intense challenges from perennial arch-rival, the Honda Accord, as well as formidable foes like the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Altima and also-new-for-2013 Chevrolet Malibu.
Arguably better in every measurable way, the thoroughly tweaked 2012 Toyota Camry has what it takes to retain its already bountiful buyer base and make an even-stronger case for consideration by anyone seeking a top-rate midsize sedan with either conventional or hybrid power.
Its comprehensive list of enhancements notwithstanding, those with more avant-garde styling preferences still will find the 2012 Toyota Camry sedan falls short in the head-turning department, especially compared to the current sedan-class benchmark, Hyundai's high-profile Sonata.
The 2012 Toyota Camry sedan is a generational redesign that builds on the midsize sedan's historic strengths by complementing its practical nature with an even more modern character and better value at all trim levels.
Driving Impressions Toyota engineers diligently worked to improve the new Camry sedan's structure and suspension. More high-strength steel increases rigidity of the body while trimming weight – significantly on gasoline models and...by over 230 whopping pounds on the Hybrids. Revised chassis components and new geometry give all Camry versions a more confident feel with better ride compliance and body control, changes that are particularly noticeable when the going gets twisty. Numerous new noise-abatement technologies also make the 2012 Toyota Camry far quieter over most roads. Without a doubt, the biggest beneficiary of the 2012 Camry remake is the Hybrid. With major mass reduction, handling dynamics on par with its conventional kin, and a redone Hybrid Synergy Drive system that finally has the engine/motor/transmission triumvirate speaking far more directly to each other, the most fuel-efficient Camry variant should have far greater consumer appeal regardless of the price of gasoline.
Upgraded Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD)
Taking a much-needed next step in the greener arena, the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid features a comprehensively redone HSD system that's lighter, tighter and far more impressively integrated – improvements that yield more spirited performance under all conditions and a stunning 30-percent bump in key fuel economy numbers.
Still a work in process, Toyota's new Entune multimedia/telematics system already shows solid introductory capabilities and offers both a user-friendly interface and the promise of an ever-expanding group of downloadable apps that should make it a worthy state-of-the-art rival to in-car alternatives of its competitors.
The redesigned 2012 Toyota Camry cabin adds both space and contemporary sophistication, highlighted by a leather-covered "layered" dash set off by trim-specific instrumentation and a center cluster inspired by portable music players. Headroom is up in all positions while aft passengers also gain significant hip and legroom. Other key plusses include more supportive front buckets and a revised lower cushion on the 60/40 folding rear bench seat that adds stretch space for the middle rider – although minimal padding still limits the center perch to part-time duty. Trunk space also is up, modestly in gasoline-powered Camrys; but by 2.1 cubic feet in the new 2012 Hybrid.
Although its external dimensions are virtually unchanged, the 2012 Toyota Camry's fully redrawn bodywork adds an edgier flair. The new sedan sports a bolder front and rear look with more expressive contours and character lines that impart a wider, lower look and a more wedge-like profile. Helping the cause are a host of subtle touches like mini-strakes on the mirrors and taillamps that channel air to improve stability, and new underbody work that further reduces drag. Unique front/rear/side-sill styling adds more cosmetic swagger to the Camry SE while blue-trimmed "Hybrid" and "HSD" (Hybrid Synergy Drive) badges visually define the most fuel-efficient 2012 Camry.
Impressively packaged at all levels, even the base Camry L sedan offers numerous power assists, air conditioning, cruise control, AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA audio with AUX/USB/iPod inputs, Bluetooth, Toyota's STAR safety system and 10 airbags. The LE adds keyless remote entry, multifunction steering wheel, and an upgraded Display Audio sound system. Moving up to the Camry SE nets you a dedicated sport suspension/wheel/tire package with unique trim, Softex covered sport seats and paddle shifters. The top-line Camry XLE sedan features dual power seats, dual-zone climate control, power moonroof and premium fabric or leather (V6-only) upholstery. Both the SE/XLE V6s add Navigation and Entune multimedia telematics, HD radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The Camry Hybrid sedan offers LE and XLE trim-level appointments.
The 2012 Toyota Camry sedan's extras roster is confined to color choices on the L trim and a power driver's seat and moonroof on the LE. Upgraded Display Audio packages with Navigation and Entune – including a 10-speaker premium JBL system with energy-saving GreenEdge speaker technology – dedicated Convenience Packages and Leather-trimmed Ultrasuede Sport Seats with deluxe trim also are available on SE/XLE models, while SEs can be had with a power moonroof. Camry Hybrids offer a Leather Package, Moonroof Package and two tiers of JBL-enhanced Upgrade Packages, one with Navigation and one without.
Focused drivetain revamps yield impressive gains in both performance and economy for all 2012 Toyota Camry sedans. Modest internal enhancements to the largely carryover 178-horsepower 2.5-liter four and 268-horse 3.5-liter V6 coupled with revised final-drive ratios in their standard 6-speed automatic transmissions, plus lower-rolling-resistance tires, help raise EPA city/highway numbers by three mpg on four-cylinder Camrys and one mpg on V6s. While its electric motor remains unchanged, a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine replaces the previous 2.4-liter in the Camry Hybrid, which also features lighter, more compact and better-managed electrical components – including a new battery pack and a CVT (continuously-variable transmission) automatic with new ECO/EV modes. While the total hybrid-system output rises from 187 to 200 horsepower, preliminary EPA figures – 43/39 mpg for the LE and 41/38 mpg for the XLE – reflect a huge 30-percent uptick in fuel economy.
2.5-liter in-line 4
178 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
(PZEV 173 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm)
170 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
(PZEV 165 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm)
EPA City/highway fuel economy: 25/35 mpg (6-speed automatic)
268 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA City/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg (6-speed automatic)
2.5-liter in-line 4 plus a 105-kilowatt Permanent Magnet AC Synchronous Electric Motor and Ni-MH battery pack
Engine: 156 horsepower @ 5,750 rpm
Battery: 141 horsepower 4,500 rpm
Total hybrid system (engine and battery): 200 horsepower
Engine: 156 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
Battery: 199 lb-ft of torque @ 0-1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 43/39 mph (LE with CVT automatic), 41/38 mpg (XLE with CVT automatic)
By reddy on Wednesday, September 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Spacious interior"
Cons: "Numb steering is big disadvantage."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The new Camry is a big blunder. The numb steering makes the drive as not comfortable. You don't feel driving car but feel like riding a boat. The steering doesn't come back to normal position after you make turn. If driving in above 60 you feel like car is out of alignment a floating on water. Poor out side look and not comfortable ride."
6 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Ish on Friday, September 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "It drives itself"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I go up and down a mountain everyday and this car is up to the challenge. Great get up and go plus 42 mpg!"
17 people out of 31 found this review helpful
By aviseqdas on Thursday, September 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Brand Names that's it"
Cons: "Bad OEM Tires wear out in 20k miles, Dated Dash"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"While the 2012 body design was very refreshing compared to the previous years, I did find that it has many shortcomings both in the interior and exterior when compared to the competition. Some of the shortcomings still continue in 2013,2014, 2014.5 and 2015 model Car Interior Issues: 1) Biggest flaw is the foul odor from the A/C vents. Due to poor design water gets trapped and new car starts smelling of mild dew. You can never run the A/C on recirculate. 2) The car has a single warning light for any door, trunk or hood being ajar. Most modern day car specifically tells you what is open and just blink a single light. 3) The cruise control is not on the steering. It’s a pain to play with the little stick to put the car on speed and then accelerate, decelerate or resume 4) The voice control is on the right side of the steering and the menu/music/volume control is on the left hand side. I use the music/volume and menu more than the voice control so I would prefer it to be on the right side. 5) The dials look archaic; most of the useful info is still analog like speed, torque and fuel. 6) The analog dials don’t have the goodies like sports white illumination or the reflective dot that falls on the chrome ring around the dial making it easy to read the speed. 7) No digital speedo 8) The information is scattered like you have the trips meters in a small screen beside the dials but to see the distance to empty you have to press buttons and go through a couple of menus in the radio display. 9) Does not show information like oil life, headlight error which I could find in much older cars. 10) The menu buttons don’t work consistently for the build in audio and navigation system forcing you to take your hands off from the steering and fiddle with the buttons beside the touch screen or go through several layers of menu in the touch screen. 11) Navigation system fatal flaw you pay $1200 extra for it but you don’t get any update. Each time map update is $169 + tax. 12) The navigation system asks for the Zip code first, half of the times I don’t know the zip code of the place. So I have to google and find out before I can enter the address on the navigation system. 13) The 2012 models shows the tire pressure but there is no way to tell what pressure corresponds to which tire as there is no labels and the order of display changes randomly. Apparently they took it away in 2013 and 2014 models. I feel the instrument cluster is very poorly designed and does not feel like it is a 2012,213 or 2014 car at all. It’s a joke. Exterior Issues: 1) Way too much chrome on the front grill, on the fog lights. Can you imagine you can’t see the Toyota logo as it’s hidden with the overdose of chrome in the nose grill. Somehow the SE model was spared from this obnoxious ghetto looks. 2) The headlights are neither HID not LED. Old yellow halogens with poor design in the reflectors making it hard to drive in road which does not have street lamps. The fog lights are joke too. 3) Over dose of chrome on the front grill but no chrome on door handles or trunk lid handle. 4) The parking lights don’t get on when unlocking the car only the map lights turn on. 5) Only the driver’s seat window is auto, rest 3 windows needs to be held till opens or closed fully. 6) You can lock the car with the windows rolled down and it won’t even beep to let you know that you have something wrong. Engine and Transmission: 1) For a 4 cylinder 2.5 liter engine not so good fuel economy for city driving can go as low as 12 mpg and average around 18 mpg. Highway average is good around 30 to 35 mpg. 2) Lower horsepower compared to Honda Accord or Nissan Altima so can feel sluggish if you have the 4 cylinder. Dealership and Car Buying Issues: 1) Probably Toyota dealers are the worst when it comes to the experience. Most of them are very arrogant and seem like they are doing us a favor by selling the car. This is one of the sole reasons I will stay away from Toyota. 2) Goes around too much before talking money 3) Almost impossible to buy a car without unnecessarily dealer installed marked up accessories like pinstripes, tint, door edge guard, mats etc. (Dealers try to charge you $800 for tint, $300 for pin stripe, $300 for door edge guard, $400 for trunk mat so ridiculous) The only reason I bought the 2012 Camry in Aug 2012 was because I need a reliable ride under $30,000 and even though I wanted the Accord the new refreshed 2013 model was not out until Nov 2012. I test drove several other cars like Sonata and Passat but came down to the Camry and Accord."
11 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By camry love on Wednesday, September 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quality, gas mileage, looks"
Cons: "None really, unless you don't like sedans"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The only way the Camry LE could be any better would be if it were the luxury model with Leather interiors and could get the milage of the Prius. I had no idea what a solid, comfortable car I was getting when I down-priced myself out of my Prius and into the Camry to pay down my debt. Couldn't have made a better decision. The gas mileage in the low to mid 30s on highway and high 20s in the city - and I have a lead foot. Comfort/sound level is amazing - drive is smooth and quiet (but I do have the better glass), and the sound system is every bit as good as the Bose system in my girlfriend's car. SPACE IS GREAT! I can easily sit 5 and trunk room is plenty for a trip. Simply put - one of the best cars I've seen. Not exactly a cool, sports vehicle, but it holds its own on looks, performance and quality. 5 stars."
7 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Momma boy on Tuesday, September 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Easy to drive."
Cons: "Not enough go."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Reliable car. Little offered for additional performance. Be nice if supercharger was available. Six cylinder motor is peppy but, needs more horses to run with big boys. Nice daily driver does not seem to be designed for long trips."
1 person out of 5 found this review helpful
By possum on Tuesday, September 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Cons: "needs a power outlet in back."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The Camry SE is great on gas mileage (38-40 on trips)Good power with a 4 cyl. Will buy another one in 2015 if they will deal. Hope the new one will get even better mileage. The comfort of the seats are good. Have driven 10 hours ,without any discomfort."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful