2012 Toyota Camry SE: Band of Brothers
December 08, 2011
I recently drove our spanking new 2012 Toyota Camry to my local bank on a busy afternoon, where the only open spot I found sat between three other Camrys.
Including mine they spanned 3 generations, and as I looked around the lot I saw several more. Say what you will about the car and its performance, but these things are everywhere. There can be no doubt the Toyota Camry has been and remains to this day a hugely successful product.
The car to the right of ours represents the 2002-2006 model, of which 2.2 million were sold in the USA. It sold more than 400,000 units and was the #1 selling car in each of its five years.
The bookends represent the 2007-2011 edition, which will end its run with about 1.9 million sold. This generation came out of the gate stronger than any ever Camry ever had, with 473,000 sold in its first year. Its overall numbers sagged somewhat in the latter part of its five-year run because of things like the housing market collapse, the UA debacle and the earthquake/tsunami.
Despite all this chaos this generation of Camry maintained its #1 sales title from 2007-2010 and enjoys a clear lead going into the last month of 2011 over the Nissan Altima, the up-and-coming Hyundai Sonata and others.
To date, the Toyota Camry has won the sales title every year since 1997, with the sole exception being 2001, the last year of a rather homely generation.
How will the new generation fare, represented here by our 2012 Toyota Camry SE? There is every reason to believe it will continue the trend, because certain weak points that were starting to get noticed have been addressed. Interior quality has been improved, the seats are nicer and there's more usable interior space. MPG is up even as power has increased slightly, handling is better and the model lineup and pricing structure have been greatly simplified.
And the hybrid model has made huge strides. At 41 mpg combined the 2012 Camry Hybrid LE hybrid is fully 8 mpg better than the 2011 model.
The only question mark for me is the EnTune system and how it fares in real-world usage.
If you asked me 12 months ago I wouldn't have said the following about a Camry, but I'm looking forward to the next 12 months.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing