2012 Toyota Camry SE: Feels More Expensive Than it is
January 29, 2012
As you can imagine (and you've probably heard from us before) we get the "what car should I buy?" question more often than we can count. While this isn't all-inclusive, there are three general types of people who ask. First, there's the person who wants confirmation that the car they want is a good bet. "What's a good car? I'm looking at X. Do you like that?" Next is the person with absolutely no idea what's going on or what the automotive industry has done in the past 20 years. "I'm looking for a new car. The old Chevette's had it. Blew a tire back in '93 I don't know that I trust Chevy anymore. Also, Audis catch fire; don't want that."
The last type is the one that is the easiest to deal with and the one most people can relate to even if it means thinking outside the automotive sector. These are the people who just want a good car for a good price. They don't need to screw a dealer they just need to feel like their money was well spent.
At $23,760, our 2012 Camry SE is money well spent.
I wouldn't have made this claim about the last Camry. It was a nice car and a reliable way to get from point A to point B, it just didn't feel like a deal. The interior wasn't this nice, the ride wasn't this composed and if memory serves me, it wasn't this quiet on the road.
Here's a list of some standard features:
Projector Beam halogen headlamps
Integrated fog lamps
Heated power mirrors
6.1-inch touch-screen stereo with AM/FC CD with Six speakers, USB port and Bluetooth
Sport Fabric Seats -- 6-way driver, 4-way passenger
60/40 split folding rear seat
Tilt/telescoping sport steering wheel with paddle shifters and Bluetooth controls
Power door locks and windows
Two 12V aux outlets
10 cup holders
And of course there's the 2.5-liter, 178-horsepower (173 horsepower in California thanks to CARB) I4 and six-speed automatic transmission.
So it works out to be a good deal on paper, too. It's not sexy and it's not the kind of car you lean on at the beach hoping people will notice it's yours, but it feels like the kind of car where you'll know where your monthly payments are going. I would recommend this to person #3 and confirm this decision for #1. Type 2? Just back away slowly, they're going to buy a used Chevette again anyways. No sense letting that garage full of spare parts go to waste, right?
Mike Magrath, Features Editor