2012 Toyota Camry

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2012 Toyota Camry SE V6  is the Camry’s seventh generation that the first appeared in 1983. And inevitably the words “all-new” appear in the accompanying publicity materials. Considered in terms of the specifications, all-new is hard to see here. The body dimensions are identical to those of the gen-six car. The four-cylinder’s five-spoke alloys appear a little undersized. The V6’s racier 18s more completely fill the wheel openings and look better in person than in photos. The particulars of the 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6 that towed our SE test car—same bore, same stroke, same port fuel injection (no direct injection yet), same output: 268 hp, 248 lb-ft of torque. Overall the tweaks make the SE a more attractive Camry (such things being relative—little lust is likely to be incited), but I continue prefer the more complex (if also more commonly criticized) curves of the 2011.

Toyota Camry SE V6's Performance

2012 Toyota Camry SE V6 provides good acceleration with both four-cylinder and V6 engines, smooth shifting with its six-speed automatic transmission and cushy handling. Reviewers like both engines in the 2012 Camry SE V6 because they are powerful enough for daily commuting and lengthy road trips. The 2012 Camry SE V6 offer a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 178 horsepower, or a 3.5-liter V6 making 268. A six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode comes with all trim levels, while the SE trim gets steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The 2012 Camry’s fuel economy is an improvement compared with the previous model, and its four-cylinder model is now the most fuel-efficient, non-hybrid, non-diesel car in the class. the V6 engine provides impressive power and the six-speed automatic is a quick, smooth-shifting transmission. The four-cylinder engine is lively and competent for everyday driving.

2012 Toyota Camry SE V6's Exterior Design

The Toyota Camry was redesigned for 2012 and many automotive journalists are underwhelmed. They say that although it is a step up from its predecessor, the styling is bland, safe and conservative. Since the Camry is marketed to the masses. The Camry SE once again receives a bespoke exterior. For 2012 the side skirts are less aggressive, but the front fascia is more so. Especially welcome: the regular Camry’s chrome grille is given the heave ho. some reviewers think Toyota’s unadventurous approach was a good choice, as polarizing styling might dissuade buyers.

2012 Toyota Camry SE V6's Interior Design

For Camry SE V6's interiors, there’s a choice between beige and gray. In contrast, the SE’s interior continues to be offered only in the coolest or hottest of hues (depending on whether we’re speaking figuratively or literally): black. (Waiting for red, or even brown? Keep waiting.) With the 2007-2011 Camry, the dark shade helped obscure the poverty of the interior plastics. While this is less necessary with the 2012, the effect remains welcome. But the #1 reason to opt for the SE trim: the front seats. For 2012 the regular Camry’s buckets have been stripped of anything resembling lateral support. The SE’s seats have much larger, more closely-spaced side bolsters that comfortably and effectively cup one’s lower torso. A power-lumbar adjustment is standard, avoiding the lack of lower back support in the LE.

Additional for 2012 Toyota Camry SE V6

For 2012 Camry SE V6, the regular Camrys receive slightly firmer suspension tuning and improved suspension geometry, so they handle with considerably more precision and control than before. At the same time, the SE’s suspension has been softened relative to the 2007 SE’s. The 178-horsepower four-cylinder engine does a decent job of motivating the Camry.  Though unchanged since 2007, the V6 continues to match competitors with its effortless power and surpass them (and especially the Hyundai turbocharged four) in terms of sound and feel. Compared to the 2011, the SE V6’s curb weight is down 63 pounds (to 3,420) but the final drive ratio is a little taller, so acceleration remains about the same.

The 2012 Toyota Camry SE V6 is covered by a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. The Camry also comes standard with Toyota Care, which includes free factory scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles. Complimentary maintenance is rare among affordable midsize cars, but the 2012 Volkswagen Passat’s free maintenance program is good for a longer period of three years or 36,000 miles.

The Verdict

Overall, the 2012 Toyota Camry SE V6 is a better car than the 2011. The interior is much improved, body motions are better controlled, and fuel economy (Toyota’s primary focus with the redesign) has improved. But, as with the regular Camry, some chassis refinement has been given up. The biggest problem, though, concerns the cars’ character. The four-cylinder SE goes about its work with admirable precision and control, but feels soulless. Add in the buzzy four, and the car just isn’t involving. The V6 adds a healthy dollop of thrills, but in my brief drive its additional mass seemed to dull the car’s handling. Though handling is generally my top priority, if I had to have a Camry (and no other car) the SE V6 would be an easy choice. I’d recommend the same choice to non-enthusiasts not interested in the hybrid for the SE’s more cosseting seats alone. 2012 Toyota Camry SE V6.

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