2012 Toyota Camry SE: Sleeper
March 30, 2012
Paddle-shifters. In a Camry. The absurdity gives that Mayan thing some credence.
This isn't our long-termer, but rather a V6 that came through the short-term fleet recently. Here I thought the RAV4 V6 was a sleeper. But this -- this is guaranteed to emasculate most dopey modified Civic drivers (kelly green New Era Yankees cap cocked to the side, gold sticker still affixed) from a stoplight.
You might even worry a Mustang V6 driver for about 1,000 feet or so in this car. This Camry posted a 14.7-second quarter-mile at 98.3 MPH in our testing. By comparison, we tested a Mustang V6 Premium at 14.1 seconds (100.3 MPH) and a Mustang V6 Sport at 13.9 seconds (101.2 MPH). Both were 2011 models.
Maybe we can agree that paddles have crossed the threshold of gimmickry in many cars. But these actually give the Camry V6 some heat. Maybe even a hint of soul, something that begs to be taken seriously and not written off simply as a six-speed refrigerator.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor