Who Am I Kidding? - 2012 Toyota Camry Long-Term Road Test

2012 Toyota Camry Long Term Road Test

2012 Toyota Camry SE: Who Am I Kidding?

December 19, 2011

2012 Toyota Camry SE

I could pretend (and sometimes I do pretend) that I find mid-priced, midsize, front-drive sedans boring, but the reality is I have a huge soft spot for cars like our 2012 Toyota Camry. They are easy to drive, they have just the right amount of room for four people and, more often than not, they have exactly the features I want.

After yet more Camry time over the weekend, I've decided that I like the suspension calibration on our SE. Indeed, it's firm by historical Camry standards, but I like how this car expediently deals with bumps and seams instead of flopping around for a couple beats.

Also, after a family dinner and a sightseeing tour of Pasadena residents' holiday lights, three of the car's four occupants were sacked out on the drive home -- real-world evidence that the ride quality is just fine.

2012 Toyota Camry SE

Incidently, I drove our long-term Camry as an alternative to my (future) father-in-law's 2001 Toyota Avalon XL... he expressed skepticism when I told him the Camry only had a four-cylinder engine, but I insisted with the transmission's extra gears (six-speed here versus a four-speed in the Avalon), the acceleration is better than you'd think.

Interior dimensions are pretty similar between these cars, until you look at the rear-seat legroom.

The old Avalon has more than an inch more in back, and the difference was obvious during the dinner/holiday lights cruise. One 5-foot-9 passenger was unable to slide his size 9.5 shoes underneath the Camry's driver seat (due to tight vertical clearance) and wasn't able to stretch his legs to the same degree when seated behind a 5-foot-10 driver. So it was comfy back here, but still not as comfy as a 10-year-old Avalon.

2012 Toyota Camry SE

2012 Camry SE
Length: 189.2 in.
Width: 71.7 in.
Height: 57.9 in.
Wheelbase: 109.3 in.
Front track: 62.0 in.
Rear track: 61.6 in. 
Cargo capacity, all seats in place: 15.4 cu.ft.
Front headroom: 38.8 in.
Front shoulder room: 58.0 in.
Front hiproom: 54.5 in.
Front legroom: 41.6 in.
Rear headroom: 38.1 in.
Rear shoulder room: 56.6 in.
Rear hiproom: 54.5 in. 
Rear legroom: 38.9 in.
EPA passenger volume: 103 cu.ft.

2001 Avalon XL
Length: 191.9 in.
Width: 71.7 in.
Height: 57.7 in.
Wheelbase: 107.1 in. 
Front track: 61.0 in.
Rear track: 60.0 in.
Cargo capacity, all seats in place: 15.9 cu.ft.

Front headroom: 38.7 in.
Front shoulder room: 58.4 in.
Front hiproom: 55.2 in.
Front legroom: 41.7 in.
Rear headroom: 37.9 in.
Rear shoulder room: 58.1 in.
Rear hiproom: 55.1 in.
Rear legroom: 40.1 in.
EPA passenger volume: 106 cu.ft.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 1,854 miles

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