2012 Toyota Camry SE: A Pleasant Surprise
March 08, 2012
Not gonna lie to ya: I was a little put off as I was about to head over the deliciously twisty Ortega Highway when I realized I hadn't turned off the Camry's stability control system before I left my garage. Fun Police, release your rage upon me in one, two, three...
Anyway, when I pressed the ESC-off button, I was quickly reminded I was in a Toyota, which generally means you can't turn off the ESC once you've started moving. You can turn off traction control if you're driving slowly, but not stability control.
Oh well, I wasn't about to pull over just to turn it off. I mean, I'm in a Camry, so how much excitement was I really going to have in this thing anyway?
Turns out, far more than expected. Two aspects stood out:
First, the stability control never once cut in on me (to add brakes or cut power), despite the fact I took some of the turns pretty aggressively. My fears about the system being overly controlling were unwarranted.
Second, the Camry SE's handling is more than respectable. Steering is fairly precise, has reasonable feel and body roll is decently controlled. We're not talking sports car speeds here, but there's enough precision to actually have some fun through turns.
Kept finding myself muttering, "This thing is a Camry?"
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 4,800 miles.