2012 Toyota Camry SE: Another Camry Convert
March 15, 2012
I didn't like the last generation Camry. It may have been a smooth performer and probably as reliable as an anvil, but that exterior styling! It was such a turn-off (was the hood inspired by a Bottlenose dolphin or what?) as was the downgraded interior.
This new one still has a few styling details wrought from the School of Disjointed Design, such as where the dash meets the door panels (looks like they're from two different cars) and the similarly mismatched taillights (thank you BMW for championing this horrid trend).
But overall, it's fairly clean outside and there's better quality inside. Yet it's under the skin where the new Camry shines brightest. Add me to the list of those impressed with this car's driving dynamics, especially the performance of the four-cylinder/automatic powertrain. Along with the expected refinement there's crisp overall response with plenty of grunt down low and through the midrange. When the tranny should downshift, it does so pronto. Higher speed passing power is surprisingly strong too. Yes, we have the sporty SE trim, but like Monty pointed out, the handling is also solid.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 5,526 miles