The 2012 Toyota Camry SE midsize sedan continues the brand’s tradition of fuel economy par excellence. However, as the Detroit Free Press notes, the aesthetics might just betray a leaning toward economy of construction. See how the latest in the ultra-popular Toyota line stacks up.
Seventh generation brings much of the same
Platform and powertrain are quite similar to previous Camry models this time around. Fuel economy, features like voice-recognition and passenger room are worthy elements that are sure to please any discerning consumer. The 2012 Camry has these in spades, and it starts at $21,995.
What some critics have noted is the look of the Camry SE’s interior. Too much plastic, spaced irregularly, is a recipe for potential breakage and eye strain. As the Free Press also notes, wind and road noise are also very noticeable. Then again, Camry is billed as an economy car, not a luxury vehicle.
Oh, the spaciousness
From passenger space to trunk size, the 2012 Toyota Camry SE ranks at or near the top of its midsize sedan class. Considering that the Camry has stiff competition in the Chevrolet Malibu, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Altima and VW Passat, Toyota’s achievement is worthy. From the Free Press,
“The passenger compartment provides plenty of head and legroom. The trunk is large, with a wide opening for easy loading.”
But things quickly get dark.
“The trunk liner is flimsy and lacks an inner handle. The lack of padding contributes to a tinny sound when you close the trunk.”
Road and wind noise leaks into the passenger compartment because of Toyota’s economy when it comes to insulation.
“Tall, relatively flat sides” make the 2012 Camry SE look like “a big greenhouse,” the Free Press continues.
Good power in an economy car
Toyota doesn’t spare much horsepower, even in the base model of the new Camry. The base model comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that cranks up to 178 hp. A 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 and a 200-horsepower, 2.5-liter engine/electric hybrid combo are also available. The latter, which sports a continuously variable transmission, starts at $25,900.
EPA rates new Camry tops in class for mpg
The four-cylinder base model of the Camry stands even with the Hyundai Sonata for class-leading fuel economy, says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It gets 25 mpg city and 35 highway.
Acceleration from the SE’s drivetrain is reportedly very solid, and the ride is soft, even it it does lean a bit in quick cornering.
Entune it up, drive it off
The 2012 Toyota Camry SE will be the automaker’s first vehicle to use the online infotainment system Entune, which links up with smartphones and uses what is reportedly an “outstanding” voice recognition system.
Overall, the 2012 Camry SE’s fuel economy, features and reliability make it a shoo-in to give the competition all it can handle.