2012 Toyota Camry SE: Now THAT'S American
March 07, 2012
I use car horns quite a bit. People just seem to be in their own little world when they're behind the wheel, and I try to do my best to keep our worlds from colliding. As a frequent honker, I've become a bit of a horn connoisseur.
I like the two-tone Italian horns best. As uncommon as they are, I think they also draw a lot of attention; and that's the point of a horn, right? I also like the big horn blasts that come from classic American cars. I have a classic piece of Detroit iron from the 1950s that sounds almost like a train when I need to make my presence known.
What I hate are the wimpy little beeps that are associated with little econoboxes. No. That defeats the purpose of a horn. It's like having a Chihuahua as a guard dog. I have a couple of Japanese sportbikes that suffer this indignity, too, but I use some sharp revs instead of the horn, and that seems to be much more effective.
And that leads me to the Camry. I was at a red light behind a driver who was texting. The light turned green and their head never popped up, so I gave the horn two quick beeps. I was expecting a wimpy beep, but was pleasantly surprised that it instead burst out with a distinctly American-sounding horn.
Perhaps I shouldn't be too surprised, though, as the Camry is the "most American" car being made today. According to Toyota, 80 percent of the parts that go into it are made right here. I'm willing to bet the horn falls into that majority.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 4,886 miles