Track Tested: 2012 Toyota Camry LE
By now you know virtually all about the 2012 Toyota Camry. The car has new, tauter sheet metal, higher-quality interior materials, and an interior layout that looks as if it was designed in this decade.
The new Camry also gets a new high- and ultra-high-strength steel unibody that reduces weight by about 120 pounds, electric power steering and a retuned suspension that is designed to be solid and stable, not floaty and isolated.
In our first drive we concluded that "The 2012 Toyota Camry contains numerous improvements that suggest that Toyota is paying attention..." But does that paying attention translate to the track?
Vehicle: 2012 Toyota Camry LE
Driver: Chris Walton
Base Price: $23,700
Drive Type: Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Transverse inline-4, gasoline
Redline (rpm): 6,250
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 178 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 170 @ 4,100
Brake Type (front): 11.7-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 11.1-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front) Independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 205/65R16 (94S)
Tire Size (rear): 205/65R16 (94)
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Energy Saver A/S
Tire Type: Low rolling resistance, all-season
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,169
0-30 (sec): 3.1 (3.2 w/TC on)
0-45 (sec): 5.3 (5.4 w/TC on)
0-60 (sec): 8.1 (8.3 w/TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 7.8 (8.0 w/TC on)
0-75 (sec): 11.9 (12.1 w/TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 16.0 @ 87.7 (16.0 @ 87.6)
30-0 (ft): 30
60-0 (ft): 120
Slalom (mph): 63.7 (63.4 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.83 (0.81 w/TC on)
Db @ Idle: 39.5
Db @ Full Throttle: 71.3
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 63.9
Acceleration: Allows a chirp of wheelspin even with Trac on and only a little more with it off. This is a strong I-4 with good midrange torque. Upshifts are very smooth and reasonably fast.
Braking: Actual pedal feel this time for a Camry?! Quick-cycling ABS makes the stop smooth as it can but the hard tires make quite a racket. Very good fade resistance in both pedal feel and stopping power/distance.
Skid pad: Steering feels a little springy and numb; however, it's far better than previous Camrys -- especially in precision. Very mild understeer at the limit and ESC is tuned to bleed throttle just below that limit. Pretty remarkable grip despite shrieking.
Slalom: Steering is very precise but a little numb. Neutral chassis with slight aptitude for rotation. Good in transition (doesn't flop over). In many ways, this reminds me very much of a Ford Fusion in how solid and precise it threads the slalom. Predictable and forgiving. I never thought I'd say this about a Camry. Also very good ESC, tuned to match the limit of the car.