2012 Toyota Camry SE: Track Tested
January 06, 2012
As a matter of policy, we test all of our new long-term cars when they enter the fleet. Yes, even if they happen to be of the Toyota Camry variety.
Thankfully, our Camry is the "sporty" SE edition. The SE bundles together larger tires, 15 percent stiffer springs, firmer dampers, sport-tuned electric power steering and SofTex-trimmed sport seats. Unfortunately, we got ours with the mainstream, volume-selling 2.5-liter inline-4 instead of the sauce-having 3.5-liter V6. And since we bought it in California, it's PZEV rated and thus produces 173 horsepower instead of 178.
So we've got the sporty suspension, the less sporty motor and a six-speed automatic transmission that kind of does rev-matched downshifts. How'd it do?
Vehicle: 2012 Toyota Camry SE
Driver: Mike Monticello
Drive Type: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2,494/52
Redline (rpm): 6,200
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 173 @ 6,000 (PZEV)
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 165 @ 4,100 (PZEV)
Brake Type (front): 11.7-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 11.1-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): MacPherson strut, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P215/55R17 (93V)
Tire Size (rear): P215/55R17 (93V)
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Primacy MxV4
Tire Type: All-season, low rolling resistance
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,238
0-30 (sec): 3.2 (3.2 w/TC on)
0-45 (sec): 5.5 (5.7 w/TC on)
0-60 (sec): 8.6 (8.8 w/TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 8.3 (8.5 w/TC on)
0-75 (sec): 12.6 (13.1 w/TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 16.3 @ 86.6 (16.5 @ 85.6 w/TC on)
Acceleration comments: Strong for a naturally aspirated four-cylinder, revs hard. But for some reason (perhaps our California PZEV car?), was 0.5 second slower to 60 than the last four-cylinder Camry we tested. Sport mode (with power braking) was quickest, as it lets the car rev to 6,200 rpm instead of 5,800, and shifts quickly. Manual shifting is via console lever (pull back for downshifts) or paddles. Does not hold gears to rev limiter. Sort of blips the throttle on downshifts.
30-0 (ft): 31
60-0 (ft): 123
Braking comments: Very firm pedal and not too much ABS commotion or tire squeal. Moderate nosedive, but the rear tires would lock up enough to cause the rear to kick slightly to the right each time. First stop was 124 feet. Shortest was fifth stop at 123 feet.
Slalom (mph): 64.6 (63.9 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.81 (0.80 w/TC on)
Slalom comments: This is a Camry? Seriously, it's not that bad at all. Steering has some feel, even if the effort is a bit artificially heavy. Suspension has good damping and it corners pretty flat. The tires are the letdown, as they give up and start sliding pretty easily. The Camry needs to be manhandled, thrown around the cones, to reach its max time. But with ESC on, you need to be very smooth to keep the system from stabbing the brakes. Thankfully, the intervention point is pretty high.
Skid pad comments: Good steering effort around the skid pad, could actually feel what the front tires were up to. Still, not much you could do about it, though. It just wants to understeer. ESC has high limits when on. But it's rather abrupt about cutting in when it does come on.
Db @ Idle: 39.4
Db @ Full Throttle: 69.7
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 63.7