Toyota shows evolutionary Camry
"The all new 2012 Toyota Camry features evolutionary styling for it’s five (LE, XLE, SE and Hybrid LE and XLE), taking a step towards sophistication while retaining many of the cues that have made it the continental top pick for 13 of the past 14 years. Driving dynamics and cabin quietness have also been improved in what has become the yardstick for the mid-sized class."
The seventh generation cars feature mild differences to differentiate between models – chrome accented rocker panel mouldings on LE and XLE, split lower intake and exclusive grille on SE, fog lights on XLE and SE, integrated rear spoiler on SE.
Three powertrain choices have been enhanced to provide better fuel economy and more responsive performance. The 2.5-litre four-cylinder variable valve timed engine now offers 178 horsepower (up nine from last year) and 170 lb.-ft. of torque, the 3.5-litre V6 (available in the SE and XLE), delivers 268 and 248, respectively, and the Hybrid’s new Atkinson Cycle 2.5-litre “four” delivers a net 200 hp.
Regular LE, XLE and SE models come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission that offers a sequential manual shift mode (via paddles on the SE, which also adds a rev-matching throttle blip on downshifts), while the Hybrids get a continuously variable unit.
Power steering is electrically driven (variable according to speed and steering input) and on the Hybrid models, air-conditioning is also electrically driven to insure operation at times when the engine is shut down. Compacting the size of the Hybrids’ nickel metal hydrid battery and moving the DC/DC converter to the engine compartment results in more trunk space.
Hybrids also feature new 17-inch lower rolling resistance tires, for further improvements in fuel economy, and an improved electric only (EV) mode that allows the vehicle to travel up to 2.5 km at speeds less than 40 km/h, while an ECO mode optimizes throttle response and a/c output to benefit economy.
Ride and handling is entrusted to a front Macpherson strut, rear dual link strut suspension set-up, with springs, bushings, shock damping and stabilizer thickness all revised. The SE gets specific suspension components and tuning to benefit sportier handling.
Inside, there’s a new dashboard design, redesigned and repositioned seats (front seats were moved forward and rears rearward for a gain of 15 mm) and leaner pillar trim to enhance space and spatial perception. The front seatbacks were reshaped to add to rear seat knee room (improved 45 mm) and the standard rear 60/40 split folding seatback has releases in the trunk. Soft touch materials were added to the instrument panel, door trim and centre console for improved occupant comfort.
Bluetooth connectivity is standard, as is a 6.1-inch screen for the standard audio system with six speakers and a USB port. Heated seats (where available) feature variable temperature control.
All 2012 Camry models are equipped with 10 standard airbags (dual front, dual front knee, front and rear seat-mounted side-impact and full side air curtains) as part of Toyota’s Star safety system (which also includes stability control, traction control, ABS, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist and brake override). Tire pressure monitors are also standard.
- Trim level: LE; XLE; SE; Hybrid LE; Hybrid XLE
- Price range: Not yet set
- Year/Make/Model: 2012 Toyota Camry
- EnerGuide fuel economy ratings: 8.2 city/ 5.6 hwy (4-cyl.); 9.7/6.4 (V6).
- Warranty (powertrain): 5 years/ 100,000 km (powertrain); 8 years/ 160,000 km (hybrid components).
- Warranty (basic): 3 years/ 60,000 km
- Competitors: Chevrolet Malibu; Chrysler 200; Dodge Avenger; Ford Fusion; Honda Accord; Hyundai Sonata; Kia Optima; Mazda6; Mitsubishi Galant; Nissan Altima; Volkswagen Passat.
- Options: rear-view camera; fog lights; alloy wheels; heated seats; JBL sound system.