Read the full review and watch the video at AutoGuide.comBest-seller improved: all-new Camry prepares to cement a decade in the top sales spot
The reengineered 2012 Camry is good, it just doesn’t make for a good story. You see, we understand that along with all the facts and opinions, you want to read a good piece of automotive journalism. And as journalists, we want to write it.
There are plenty of compelling stories out there, from an underdog like Hyundai defeating its rivals, to an “oh how the mighty have fallen” story like Consumer Reports slamming the new Civic. But no one wants to read about a winner that was expected to win all along, especially not when it’s done so nine years running.
True, the new Camry isn’t a decisive victor in the mid-size sedan category, although it does stand out in certain areas (namely the Hybrid model and overall fuel economy).
FAMILIAR SHAPE, MORE CHISELED LINES
Don’t let the somewhat subtle makeover and the fact that the car shares the identical dimensions with its predecessor fool you. The 2012 Camry is all-new. Sure the measurements are essentially the same, but there’s little carry-over, as is evidenced by the fact that it weighs anywhere from 150 to 200-lbs less than the old model – even more on the hybrid. That weight savings alone goes a long way, translating into better fuel economy, improved dynamics and reduced braking distances.
While from a profile it’s nearly identical to the outgoing model, the design changes front and back are a noted improvement, with some added angles and fewer bulbous humps. The grille now stretches out to the headlights, which gives the car a wider look and is certain to translate into a meaner looking NASCAR racer, while the chrome strakes on the side skirts add a touch of Lexus class. Overall it’s handsome, though not exactly alluring.
CAMRY REGAINS FUEL-ECONOMY LEAD
What isn’t new about the Camry is what’s under the hood, with last year’s 4-cylinder and V6 engines carried over. The base offering is now gone, with the 2.5-liter making 178-hp and 170 lb-ft. Thanks to the car’s lighter overall weight it does feel a bit peppier and is certainly adequate. As for fuel economy, it’s jumped considerably and Toyota can once again lay claim to leadership in this category. Rated at 22/33-mpg last year, the new Camry manages a 25/35-mpg rating. That’s identical highway mileage to the previous class-leader, the Hyundai Sonata, but represents a 3-mpg advantage in the city.