You would think that after seven generations, a company would have the idea fine tuned and honed to precision. And that is certainly the case with Toyota and the all-new 2012 Camry.
This latest version of the popular front-wheel drive, five-passenger, four-door sedan is simply the best yet and only cements a reputation for safety, reliability and quality. The new Camry is lighter and has a simple but modern form, emphasizing a wider, lower stance than previous models. The character lines are crisp and precise, with a more strongly curved door cross-section and more defined rocker panel molding (chrome accented on LE and XLE) contributing to a more expressive look.
Even the headlights have a more pronounced curvature of the main-beam unit merging into the bumper cover, while the taillight clusters wrap tightly into the body sides, the top sections extending into the trunk panel. Fog lights are standard on the XLE and SE grades.
Camry is available in four trims — L, LE, SE and XLE — and three engine choices, all enhanced for better fuel economy and more responsive performance. A 178-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission is standard power. The SE and XLE trims are available with a beefier 268-hp 3.5-liter V-6, also with a six-speed automatic. Camrys with the revised 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine now offer 178 hp (an increase of nine) and 170 pounds-feet of peak torque.
The EPA says the Camry delivers fuel economy figures of 25/35 mpg and the 28 mpg combined is two mpg better than the previous generation. The 2.5-liter engine has Dual VVT-i (Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent), which controls valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts for optimal performance and efficiency at all engine speeds. The Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS) helps optimize torque over a broad engine speed range.
The DOHC 3.5-liter V-6, available in the SE and XLE grades, delivers 268 hp at 6,200 rpm and 248 pounds-feet of peak torque at 4,700 rpm. Enhancements boost fuel economy to 21/30 mpg, which Toyota claims is the best for any V-6 midsize sedan on the market today. The V-6 uses chain-driven camshafts and Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (Dual VVT-i).
The all-new Camry Hybrid debuts a highly revised version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, including a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The 2012 Camry Hybrid LE, with EPA-estimated 43/39 mpg gets a better than 30 percent boost in fuel economy compared to the previous generation, thanks largely to the new hybrid powertrain, but also due to lighter vehicle weight and optimized aerodynamics.
Pricing on the 2012 Toyota Camry ranges from $21,955 to $29,845.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.