Additional Matters of Sound - 2012 Toyota Camry Long-Term Road Test

2012 Toyota Camry Long Term Road Test

2012 Toyota Camry SE: Additional Matters of Sound

February 01, 2012

camry nav guidance volume

Magrath and I sometimes disagree on cars, but definitely not on our long-term 2012 Toyota Camry SE's audio system: It's really not very good and I'd be tempted to ante up for the optional JBL system (or aftermarket stuff) just to listen to NPR. I, too, fiddled with the equalizer settings, couldn't get it to sound how I wanted, and gave up.

Similarly, Toyota doesn't give you enough steps for the navigation system's guidance volume. (I've noticed that a lot of my coworkers mute the navigation system's verbal guidance, but I always turn it back on, because I end up missing turns if I have to pay attention to what's happening on the screen.)

So I entered a destination into our Camry's system and then had to sit through some low-speed traffic. The first verbal prompts from the nav system nearly deafened me, so I hit the sound icon, brought up this little display and tapped it down to the minimum audible setting. Still too loud.

Then, speeds picked up on the freeway, and the minimum sound level was a bit too quiet. But I wasn't about to turn the volume up and have it blast again the next time I slowed down.

Curiously, the situation is a lot better for Bluetooth-enabled phone calls...

camry phonekeypad

Admittedly, I don't make a lot of phone calls anymore. (And why would I with stuff like Whatsapp and iMessage?) But I happened to call the same person on consecutive days from two different cars. The first was a 2012 Civic EX and I was admonished, "You sound like you're just talking on speaker phone." The second was our Camry, which drew a rave review for phone call sound quality. So there's that.

Also, when I'm on a call, I can adjust the call volume by twisting the audio system's main volume knob, so there's plenty of stepped adjustability. Why can't I do the same when the nav system guidance lady is speaking?

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 3,332 miles

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