2012 Toyota Camry Long Term Road Test - Miscellaneous

2012 Toyota Camry Long Term Road Test

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Chicago Bound

December 06, 2012


Our long-term Toyota Camry SE has a new owner and like the recently departed Acura NSX, it is going to an Edmunds.com employee. Marvin is an Edmunds sales representative in the greater Chicago area. He was looking for a comfortable and reliable commuter car for work. The Camry definitely fits the bill.

Marvin was in town for a company meeting and had the chance to inspect the car himself before making a final decision. The Camry met his expectations and we closed the deal after a short test drive. The "no haggle" selling price was our private party TMV of $21,546.

For reference, we paid $26,397 (plus tax and title), which means the Camry depreciated about 18 percent in the year we had it. That's low depreciation for one year and is a testament to its resale value.

Unfortunately, the Camry never made it to the 20,000 mile goal we set for our long term cars. Its final odometer was 17,201.

Marvin crunched the numbers and found that it would be less expensive to ship the car back, rather than drive it to Chicago. He will make arrangements with a delivery service in the next few days.

We wish Marvin well and bid farewell to our long-term Camry.

Final Odometer: 17,201 miles

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Or...

November 22, 2012


Currently, I'm recuperating from a turkey overdose at the girlfriend's parent's house where we are discussing their next car. 

They drive so infrequently that fuel mileage is irrelevant, but they drive enough to want something nice. They keep asking about a 2012 Toyota Camry SE, like our long termer (they test drove one and liked the seats) and, while I like it, I 'm trying to suggest alternatives. Just to stir the pot.

But they've got some rules...

-Nothing American. I've tried to sell them on the Fusion but it's not happening. Their current car is 8 years old, American and failing. Their last domestic died at around the same time and they're over it. 
-Sedan or small crossover. Nothing with two doors, no hatchbacks, no three-row monsters. 
-Under $30K. 

Again, I like our Camry and it's a darned fine pick, but it's also taking the easy road. There's a nice Accord out for 2013. The Altima's good. Rav-4 and CR-V, too. And then there are all of the Korean cars! 

The Camry 's got a lot of traction here because of the brand equity and every other suggestion is fighting an uphill battle. 

What would you do? 

Mike Magrath, Features Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry: Low Profile

November 08, 2012

Camry_horn lock volume.jpg

Other than an LS7 exhaust or the occasional "War Pigs" at top volume with the windows down, I don't like cars to announce my arrival. I especially don't like auto dome lights that illuminate when I turn off the engine. I don't need the guy standing outside my car with shaved head, Warren Sapp jersey and Colt .45 tall boy -- my neighbor's buddy, he says -- seeing where I put my fat cash stacks before exiting the car. The guy wouldn't be so bad, actually, if he just wore #32 like a proper Raiders fan.

I also don't like horns that sound when I remote lock the car. They annoy me and I believe they annoy others, a wimpy horn especially. The Camry has a wimpy horn. But it also allows you to set the sounding volume when you remote lock the car. I RTFM, which told me to then RTF(Navigation)M, to learn how to access the settings menu. If you don't have the nav system, the dealer can customize the horn volume for you. But with the nav, you just dive down a few menus and lower the volume completely. Success. Only the ambers flash to confirm you've locked the car when walking away.

Next task: kill the auto dome light.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Feeling Patriotic

November 06, 2012


Election Day always brings out the patriot in me. Exercising a basic component of democracy is important, whatever your political leanings may be. How did I celebrate? I drove to work in our long-term Camry, which just happens to be one of the most American cars on the market.

With about 80% of its parts made in the U.S. and assembled in Kentucky and Indiana, the Camry helps to keep Americans hard at work. To be perfectly honest, yeah, it feels a little weird to have a Toyota grab this honor. A Ford Mustang would certainly seem more appropriate, especially if I could do a burnout in front of my polling place, but alas, only about 70% of its parts are domestic.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry: The First 15,000 Miles

October 25, 2012

Thumbnail image for Milestone_5002.jpg15KCamry-1.jpg

Yesterday on Interstate 5, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, our long-term Camry SE broke 15,000 miles on its odometer.

Aside from the steering wheel mounted audio controls, which are only working some of the time, there are no problems to report at this time. And that MAINT REQD light is calling for the Camry's third oil change. It should get done next week.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2012 Toyota Camry: There's a Reason

October 9, 2012

2012 Toyota Camry

There really is no accounting for popular taste. How else does one explain Maroon 5? Or Crocs? Or Gangnam Style? Sometimes a lot of people simply like bad things. Conversely, sometimes a lot of people know a good thing when they see it. Porsche 911s. Bob Marley. Beer.

So how does one explain the Toyota Camry? More than 300,000 people bought the car last year. It's the midsize sedan gorilla, even with formidable foes like the Altima, Accord and Sonata. Here's how I explain it:

The Camry does just about everything right.

Our SE, for example. You walk up to it, grab the door handle, and it unlocks. I'm a simple knuckle-dragger, so things like remote access and push-button start delight me. But then you sit down and realize you have a lot of space. A big center console and all the requisite gadget connections you expect in 2012. Power front seats.

A big rear seat area, even a suede/leather upholstery package. That package is looking a little shabbier these days as we approach 15,000 miles. Our kids spill cracker crumbs and vanilla cream (at least I think that's what it is) and our dogs climb around back there finding a comfortable spot. The door panel and console plastic is getting scuffed. Readers regular chide us for being hard on our cars, but remember that for every year you put on your family sedan, we probably put on three.

The four-cylinder's good. Nothing to rave about, but nothing to disparage. It jumps off the line quick enough and gets a little raspy when wide open. The V6 is the call for those who want more motor, but many won't want or need it.

What's more about the Camry, it feels like it wants to be used. It's not precious. Toyota dressed it up a bit for the redesign; Hyundai forced everyone to step up their interior game. But otherwise, you don't feel bad using the Camry. Door panels get kicked, armrests get scratched on the point edge of a flat-screen TV box. The Camry feels comfortable. You take care of it, sure. But you don't obsess.

We may all know people whose homes just feel welcoming. The furniture's a little banged up. Maybe the oak table suffered a few pumpkin carving mishaps over the years. But the kids are happy and there's room to play tag without knocking over a vase from the Ming Dynasty. Life happens there. It's not a place whose owners treat it like a hotel lobby, a place you're afraid to set down even a cocktail napkin.

Enthusiasts will always trot out the Camry as emblematic of defeat. Suburban dad, ground into submission. The car that says you no longer seek thrills behind the wheel, you no longer wish to connect with a machine. The Camry says you didn't want to think too hard, and would you please just leave me alone so I can watch network TV."

I'm not buying it. I mean, I'm literally not buying a Camry (I'm soft-pedaling around a minivan purchase, so I've got my own problems). But I wouldn't blame anyone who does and I'm not buying the enthusiast argument. The Camry's a great car. The new Ford Fusion may give it a serious run for the money. It's equally adept at everything, but offers an even sexier interior and an optional buttercream turbo 2.0-liter under the hood.

As for the Camry, I'm probably telling you nothing you didn't already know. Go ahead: tell me why it sucks.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2012 Toyota Prius C, 2012 Toyota Camry SE and 2013 Scion FR-S: Show Me

October 3, 2012

2012 Toyota Camry

Allegedly the tiny aerodynamic strakes that are sprinkled around the 2012 Toyota Prius C and 2012 Toyota Camry in four places make a difference in straight stability and small-angle yaw behavior at speeds over 25 mph. I've been told it's a difference that can be felt in a double-blind back-to-back handling evaluation.

My knowledge of Toyota internal politics suggests the effect must be demonstrable for them to have spent the money. In both cases the claim is one of improved on-center handling and stability, not fuel economy. Now that I think about it, I saw some on our 2013 Scion FR-S during the suspension walkaround shoot, too.

I used to tune suspensions for a living, and straight stability and inital yaw response and feel was a huge part of that. I understand the power of aerodynamics, too, but I'm having a hard time buying into all of this.

But where are these little nubs? Well, each rear taillamp sports a pair, as seen above.

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Would It Have Beaten the 2013 Honda Accord EX?

September 21, 2012

2012 Toyota Camry

A couple of our readers (you, perhaps?) candidly told us that we should have used our long-term 2012 Toyota Camry SE ($28,658) in our recent Honda Accord vs. Toyota Camry comparison test. You argued that it would have provided much stiffer competition for the 2013 Accord EX ($26,195) despite the slightly larger price gap it would have created. The Camry LE we actually used in that comparison test cost $23,925.

Well, I drove our long-term Camry SE home last night. It's a great commuter car, one of the best in this class right now. But I'm not sure it would have beaten the 2013 Accord EX. Why not? For three reasons...

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2012 Toyota Camry: Non-Rental Car

September 14, 2012

2012 Toyota Camry

"Is this a rental?" asked one of the girls as she climbed in for the morning carpool to school.

"No, it's not a rental," I said. "What makes you think that?"

"It has cloth seats," she said. "I didn't think you could get those anymore except in rental cars."

"At least it doesn't smell funny," she added, before I could respond.

I just turned up the stereo and drove.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 12,552 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Carpool Rescue

August 22, 2012

2012 Toyota Camry

Caller ID told me it was Vehicle Coordinator Rex Tokeshi-Torres ringing my desk phone even before I picked up.

"Can you check the box for a spare key for our long-term Mazda 3?" he asked.

I checked, and there wasn't one. But it's not unusual for us not to hold the spare to a car that's owned by the manufacturer. Often times they retain the primary spare in case we, uh, temporarily misplace our key.

Turns out, Erin Riches was stranded in Hollywood with the Mazda 3, sans key. (I'll let her tell you her story in a separate post).

So not wanting Erin to wait on the curb of Sunset Blvd. while we recovered another Mazda key from 45 miles south in Orange County, I grabbed the keys to the Toyota Camry, and drove the 7.5 miles to collect her.

Traffic was bad going across town, and Erin was a bit over-caffeinated by the time I reached her 35 minutes later. But at least she hadn't yet bought any I Heart Hollywood t-shirts or donned a Wonder Woman costume.

I dropped her off at home, and picked her up this morning before heading into the office to sort out the Mazda 3 biz.

Kinda nice having a carpool buddy for an otherwise mundane Camry commute.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 11,922 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry: Crushing The Competition

July 26, 2012


In terms of sales, anyway. Here are 1011 midsize sedans ranked in terms of sales through the first half of 2012.

Toyota Camry:   213,903
Nissan Altima:   157,101
Honda Accord:   155,178
Chevrolet Malibu:  141,437
Ford Fusion:   136,849
Hyundai Sonata:  117,412
Kia Optima:   73,158
Chrysler 200:   69,102
Volkswagen Passat:  55,065
Mazda 6:   25,369
Subaru Legacy:   24,272

It's also interesting to combine the Sonata and Optima given that they're related.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry: Unassuming, But Still Well Liked

July 18, 2012


We've got some pretty cool cars in the fleet right now. FR-S, JGC SRT8, NSX, XF ... but our Toyota Camry SE is still one of my favorites.

Yeah, I know. Lame, right? But it's a lot like Erin wrote a couple of months ago in her Greater Than The Sum post. The Camry doesn't knock you on the head with anything dramatic, but it's supremely competent and easy to to live with. Sometimes I like getting in and just driving, not having to worry about scraping on speed bumps or how I'm going to fit a child safety seat.

Yes, our Camry is boring, applicance-like transportation. But it's really good at that. And it's not too boring, like the Camry used to be.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry: The Knight in Shining Cosmic Gray Mica

July 16, 2012


One of the cars pictured needed a jump. Was it: A) the nearly brand-new Toyota Camry; or B) the 1999 Volkswagen Passat, a car whose reliability history on Consumer Reports looks like a Dalmatian's coat. Hmm. Even the dimwits on Jay Leno's Tonight Show street interviews could get this one.

The long-term Inside Line Camry: graciously coming to the aid of my neighbors, one car at a time.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 10,744 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Gone Soft

June 27, 2012

Camry_door touch.jpg

I have, I admit it. No amount of pharmaceutical is going to help. These days, I'm easily impressed with things like keyless access and the "smart key" feature on our Camry. Approach the car, thumb the door handle and voila - access. It's like practicing to be a Jedi. Such a simple, lazy feature and one that, once accustomed to it, you start looking for it on every car.

You find yourself getting indignant. Why doesn't this $15,000 Hyundai Accent have it? Why not this $11,000 Nissan Versa sedan?

But keyless entry's getting harder to miss these days, especially in the Camry's class. It's standard included with the Convenience package on our SE. Standard across the new Altima range. Standard across most Kia Optimi. Standard on the Acura ILX but, oddly, not the Accord. With the Accord redesign around the corner, we figure this is a short-lived oversight.

Eventually, I will require that the car bring itself around to my door, extend the driver seat out on a rail, and convey me into its quiet cocoon. It's happening. In 2012, they'll unlock the door for you, but some won't let you do a burnout. That's how it starts. Rise of the machines and all that. See you on the human farm.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor 

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: 10k Milestone

June 25, 2012

Milestone_5002.jpg 10k milestone camry.JPG

It took seven months for our longterm 2012 Toyota Camry SE to crest 10,000 miles. So far, so good. For me this car has been a pleasant surprise, what with its do-everything-very-well demeanor. And look - a metric fuel gauge. Base 10 increments. Yeah, I'm a geek.

Is there anything we've not adequately covered on this midsizer that you'd like to know about? Add a comment below.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 10,097 miles.

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2012 Toyota Camry: This Isn't Broken

May 24, 2012

Camry Shift Knob.jpg

Why is it that I can remove the shift knob of virtually every Toyota, yet I can't on virtually every other car? Just twist it left and off it comes. Is the prevalence of people putting aftermarket shifters on their automatic-equipped Camrys, Corollas and Avalons that great?

Is this some brilliant feature every other brand is missing out on? Let me in on the secret Toyotaphiles.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 9,008 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry: Camry, Explorer, Quest or 3: Which One For Me?

May 16, 2012

2012 Toyota Camry

The past few months I've spent a lot of time in the Explorer, the Quest, the Mazda 3 and the Camry. Notably, these are all vehicles that I think car shoppers with families might consider. I can certainly see the appeal of all of them, but if I had to choose just one of them for my personal use (as a parent), I know what I'd be.

Explorer: At first I liked the Explorer, and it does sort of seem like a no-brainer choice at first glance. But the more time I spent with it, the more its appeal waned. It is comfortable on the highway, and MyFord Touch -- once we finally get it updated -- is a pretty cool feature in my opinion. But I grew weary of its "drives big" persona, occasionally overtaxed turbo-4 engine and tight second-row seat space. No thanks.

Mazda 3: I'll start with the 3's biggest drawback first: it's just a little too small inside. But it's not that bad, and I think I could enjoy owning one, especially if my kids were out of the bulky child safety seat phase but still young enough that rear legroom doesn't really matter much. At that point, 3 is pretty appealing. It's the most nimble in the group and certainly the most enjoyable to drive. The hatchback body style also offers up extra versatility. Plus, the 3 is the cheapest car in this group.

Quest: The Quest, I suppose for obvious reasons, works a lot better for family use than the Explorer. It also doesn't have nearly as many drawbacks. It drives very well thanks to its V6/CVT combo and compliant suspension tuning. And I really like a lot of the features that are on our van, such as the easy-to-use nav/audio interface and push-button open sliding rear doors. The main drawback for me is that, yes, it's still a big minivan ... and an odd-looking one at that.

Toyota Camry SE: Well, this is the car I'd buy. It's still seems odd to say it -- a Camry. How prosaic. But the new Camry is so much better than the previous car that I don't mind the stereotype. It drives well in a modestly sized sort of way (especially in comparison to the Quest and Explorer), is very comfortable up front and in back, and has some nice features. Fuel economy is also very good. The big downside within this group is the inability to haul bulky items. But I'd live with that in exchange for all the other benefits. Go Camry.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: The Price of Popularity

May 14, 2012

toyota camry pl.jpg

As I approached the Camry with an armful of groceries in the Whole Foods parking lot on Saturday, I wondered why the key fob wasn't opening the car's door. Tap, tap, tap. Nothing.

Then I peeked in the window and realized this wasn't our Camry. It was its doppelganger, another dark-colored model.

The same thing happened to me in another parking lot on Sunday. When every other car on the road is a Camry, it's easy to make that mistake, I guess.

Some people shy away from the most popular models because these cars tend to come with greater risk of theft. Also, as my experiences illustrate, they don't exactly stand out from the crowd.

How do you feel about this? Is a vehicle's popularity a factor that you consider when car shopping?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 8,439 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry: How Much Car Can You Afford?

May 08, 2012


I was playing around with the affordability calculator on Edmunds. I put in how much I was willing to pay monthly, how much I could put down up front, how many years I wanted to spread it out, and took a guess at a financing rate. I just wanted to see what it would spit out.

When testing the long-term fleet, we get to drive a lot of cars above our means. You start to lose a sense of reality for pricing, at least I do. Our calculator said I should look for something in the Toyota Camry range. Huh? I'm a professional woman.

Now maybe I put in numbers that were way too low. I didn't put in how much I could afford but how much I was willing to pay. I can't see having an enormous car payment when I don't own a home. But this got me to thinking about how much people put into their cars. Are we all living above our means in the U.S.? Can you really afford that car you're driving?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 8,266 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Beep

May 07, 2012


Toyota likes its cars to beep. Perhaps you've noticed. Lock the doors: Beep. Unlock the doors: Beep. Open the trunk with the fob: Beep.

Beep, beep, beep, beep.

It's possible this is annoying. It's also possible it can be partially disabled. Whatever. It's a lot of beeping. Especially if you happen to drive a Sienna, which beeps when you look at it.

Also, Toyotas beep if you put your laptop bag on the passenger seat and drive to work. Used to be they'd beep indefinately. Now, however, they only beep for maybe 30 seconds while flashing the seatbelt light. Then the light goes solid and the beeping stops.

Until you get to work. And lock the doors.


Josh Jacquot, Senior editor 

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Overall Thoughts

April 30, 2012


I got a lot of quality time (three weeks straight) with our Camry recently. Normally, you'd think that an extended duration in a Camry would be the result of some kind of long-term test car banishment. But even if true, I wouldn't mind -- I actually did enjoy driving it.

The previous generation Camry was outclassed by a lot of other midsize sedans. This one holds its own. Whether its driver comfort, fuel economy, performance, interior quality, styling, handling (SE trim) or rear seat comfort, the new Camry does very well in my opinion.  I suppose a possible downside is that it doesn't really excel in any of these areas. You can likely find another midsize sedan that beats the Camry in a particular area. The latest Camry is not going to be a flashy choice in this segment. But it's a smart one.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: The Three-Box Design

April 20, 2012


In my "Hard Time Choosing" post last Friday, brendan_m made a comment that caught my eye. He wrote: "I'd take the Camry over just about any other car in the midsize segment. (Passat and Accord are too big for my tastes.) It's the closest to the traditional three-box sedan shape. Larger greenhouse, better visibility."

I find that interesting because, if you look at the cars in that photo collage, the Camry does have one of the most traditional designs (three box refering to "boxes" for the engine area, the passenger compartment, and the trunk area). A lot of other automakers are going with a more coupe-like sloping roofline for their new sedans.

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Sign That I'm A Grownup Now

April 18, 2012


Earlier this week I turned 40 years old. I don't feel old. But remember when you were a kid and your parents turned 40? You thought they were pretty old, right?

Then there's this: I really like our Camry. It drives well, it's comfortable, it looks pretty good, it's very useful for daily life, the four-cylinder's powerful enough with good fuel economy, and it's not an SUV or a minivan. I even look forward to driving it in a odd sort of way.

A few months ago Caroline wrote that the Camry wasn't her, that she wants a car that makes her heart skip a beat. Is the Camry for 40-year-old me, then? I'm not sure if I want the answer, for fear of result.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 7,310 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry: Hard Time Choosing

April 13, 2012

 Toyota Camry.jpg

I really do like our Camry SE. It'd be on my list were I planning to purchase a midsize sedan sometime this year, But I also like the Optima, Sonata, new Malibu and Passat. Then there's the new Accord, Altima and Fusion for 2013. Got to wait to see how those turn out, right?

I know I'd have a hard time choosing.

What catches your eye for this segment?

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 7,182 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry: In Case of Key Fob Failure

March 31, 2012


This tag fell out of the glovebox of our 2012 Toyota Camry when I was removing the owner's manual. It explains how to start the car in case of key fob failure. I found it to be interesting.

This is the first example I've seen of the work-around being as simple as holding the key over the ignition button. In the early days of keyless technology many OEMs built hidden slots someplace in the car. If the key died, you'd stick it in the slot to allow the car to start.

As I remember it Nissan's spot was left of the steering wheel, low on the dash. GM took a similar approach. The C6 Vettes had a nook in the glovebox, and it was tucked away in the center console for the STS. The Mercedes solution was removing the 'push' button manually to expose the slot behind it. Even Toyota used to use a slot in the dash, near the start button.

I'm going to go out on a limb here, a short limb, and say that of the versions I've experienced, I like the approach in our 2012 Camry best.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 6,565 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Thieves Like Camrys

March 22, 2012

toyota camry ss.jpg

The Camry is popular with consumers, so it's not surprising that the Camry is also popular with thieves.

LoJack Corporation recently released its third annual Vehicle Theft Recovery Report. The company makes a vehicle recovery system that was instrumental in the recovery of some 10,261 stolen vehicles in 2011; the report's findings are based on statistics garnered from these recoveries. (By the way, according to LoJack, its recovery success rate is 92 percent).

The Camry was the most stolen and recovered 2011 model last year, according to LoJack. The Camry also made a couple of appearances on the list of most stolen and recovered models that are five years old and newer, with the 2007 Camry in the number one spot and the 2009 Camry coming in at number four. Overall, the most stolen and recovered model last year was the Honda Accord, with the Camry in second place.

Do you consider statistics like this when deciding which vehicle to purchase?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Subtle Logo Placement

March 12, 2012


I like this tiny Toyota logo and nameplate which are subtley placed on the Camry's rear bumper just below the trunk. In fact, near as I can tell, this is the only place the Toyota name actually appears on the outside of the Camry SE. The trunk says "Camry" on the left side and "SE" on the right, but the name Toyota appears only here.

Hit the jump to see just how subtle it really is.

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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

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: In a Nutshell

March 06, 2012


Besides the road tests on Inside Line, we also produce tests for the main Edmunds site. Every now and then, we'll use one of our long-termers as the test subject. My latest piece to go live was on our Toyota Camry. While we, as a group of editors, are generally in agreement on our take on vehicles, occasionally we disagree. By "we," I mean Magrath and myself. And that's good, I think.

There's a good portion of things that Mike and I disagree on, yet we both acknowledge that there is rarely a definite right or wrong in our opinions. It keeps things fun and lively around here. I'm all about dry-aged beef, while he's convinced grass-fed is the way to go. I like Scotch, while he's into Gin. I'm into cars that are fast, inconvenient and dangerous and he has more luxurious leanings. You get the idea. It's a civil discourse, and it rarely ends in fisticuffs or tears.

It's similar to how I approach movie or restaurant critics. I find the ones that closely match my tastes and follow them. When things get more subjective, finding that black or white delineation gets difficult. So I just take everything as an opinion in shades of gray.

And that brings me back to my Camry test drive. I contend that the 2012 Camry just barely moved the needle, while he argues that it's a big step forward. To me, the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima represented a big leap forward. Those models went from backmarkers to frontrunners overnight. Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

What do you think?

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 4,817 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Hmm...

March 06, 2012

Camry and Abarth.jpg

What's going on here?

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 4,550 miles.

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Ugly, But...

February 27, 2012


Today we ran an article on called The 100 Most Beautiful Cars of All Time. And no our long-term 2012 Camry did not make the list. In fact there's only one Toyota on the list, the 1967 Toyota 2000GT.

Those with an eye for cars won't find this surprising. Toyota has never been confused for a boutique design house. Sure the Supra had its moments and the Lexus LFA has its following, but the fact is that for the most part Toyotas fail the "I saw one and I just gotta have it" test.  

What might surprise you is that two other midesize sedans in the Camry's pricepoint are on the list, the Volkswagen CC and the yet to go on sale 2013 Ford Fusion. Some commentors are already calling us fools for leaving off the Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata.

My point is that a midsize affordable four-door no longer needs to be unattractive, which our 2012 Camry undeniably is. Toyota can't seem to figure that out. Although our Camry's dark color hides much of its homeliness, anybody that finds its shape appealing needs a new set of bifocals. 

But ugliness is not new to the Camry. Once simply innocuous, the Camry made a turn from just boring to downright ugly two redesigns ago when its snout took on the shape of a sick rhino. The new 2012 Camry looks better than that, but not much.

Shame really, because this is the best driving Camry since the mid-1990s. I've driven it many times over the last few months, and I still cannot find something to complain about. It isn't even boring, which has been the dig on Camry's since the Reagan administration. Fact is, I like driving this car as much as or more than driving our long-term Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata. Yeah, I'm surprised too.

But this Toyota really is that good, regardless of what our Executive Editor Michael Jordan says.

Now, if they could just fix the way it looks. 

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 4,146 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: No Triple Blink?

February 20, 2012


Sure, our Camry has auto headlights (an essential these days) but no triple-blink automatic turn signals? Is that why so many Toyota drivers aren't signaling?

Not a deal breaker by any means, but something that, if I were to buy one, I'd yell about every time I went to change lanes quickly on the highway.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry: Video Review

February 16, 2012


Here is Senior Editor Erin Riches with a video review of the 2012 Toyota Camry. This video covers the whole Camry range but features running footage of our long-term Camry SE.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Ladies Love the SE, Apparently

February 08, 2012

(photo by Scott Jacobs)

With January sales showing a 56-percent increase year-over-year, the Camry is enjoying a bit of a hot streak, and the model owes much of its current success to the SE trim. SE models accounted for only 7 percent of total sales in the previous-generation Camry, but in the wake of the car's 2012 redesign (which recast the SE as the line's most performance-oriented trim, with larger tires and a sport-tuned suspension), SE sales have swelled to 35 percent of the Camry's mix.

During an interview on Monday at the recent National Automobile Dealers Convention in Las Vegas, Bob Carter, Toyota's group vice president of U.S. sales, said that the manufacturer plans to exploit the SE's popularity by bumping it up to 40-42 percent of total Camry production. Carter noted that the SE is especially popular with younger female buyers, and their presence has lowered the average age of all Camry buyers to 45 -- a figure that's lower than the segment average.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry: Super Bowl Ad

February 01, 2012

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Yes, this is a screengrab from the Super Bowl ad for the 2012 Toyota Camry. Yes, those women are acting as end tables. Or as armrests of a pretty sweet lady couch. Or they're practicing their Yoga cat pose.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry and 2012 Chevy Sonic: Super Bowl Bound

January 30, 2012

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Two of our Long Term Cars, the 2012 Toyota Camry and the 2012 Chevy Sonic, will have ads at this year's Super Bowl.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Feels More Expensive Than it is

January 29, 2012

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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
17-inch wheels
6.1-inch touch-screen stereo with AM/FC CD with Six speakers, USB port and Bluetooth
Remote entry
Sport Fabric Seats -- 6-way driver, 4-way passenger
60/40 split folding rear seat
Cruise control
Tilt/telescoping sport steering wheel with paddle shifters and Bluetooth controls
Power door locks and windows
Two 12V aux outlets
10 cup holders
10 airbags

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

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Superb Headlights

January 19, 2012


I'll admit that this photo doesn't mean much without something to compare it to, so you're going to have to trust me on this one. This generation Toyota Camry has awesome headlights. This photo was taken in high-beam mode where both the reach and coverage are better than virtually any car I've driven recently -- and far better than anything else with this kind of price tag.

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: The Sales Crown

January 13, 2012


What's that? You don't care for our long-term 2012 Toyota Camry SE? Well, there are many people that do like -- and even buy -- the Camry.

The name "Camry" is an Anglicized phonetic transcription of the Japanese word kanmuri (冠, かんむり), meaning "crown" (Wikipedia). How appropriate.

The Camry was not only the best-selling mid-sized car of 2011, it was the best-selling car of 2011 with over 300K units sold. (The 2011 figure includes 2010-2012 MY with 2012MY starting in Sep.)

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Sparkly

January 09, 2012


This picture shows a close-up of the paint on our 2012 Camry SE. It's called Cosmic Gray Mica.

My passenger this weekend remarked on the strange color paint on our Camry. I said "What do you mean? It's black, or sort of a charcoal gray."

"No, it's weirder than that. Not in a bad way. Just different."

I never really thought so until I saw the Camry in glaring sunlight this morning. It's like a really cool nail polish. And it goes well with the lurex sweater I'm wearing today. <end of girl talk>

 Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Favorite Time of the Year for Driving

December 29, 2011

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Took this on the way in to the office earlier this week. This is the one time of the year in Los Angeles when it's possible to commute at regular freeway speeds, when the on-ramp stoplights are green and when we measure travel by miles instead of minutes. Gotta love the holidays. Here we actually got to drive the 2012 Toyota Camry at 70 mph!

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Could You Be More Specific?

December 27, 2011


Because blowouts are such a bummer, it's really nice to have a warning light illuminate to let you to make the rounds and check your tires. Tire pressure sensors get even better when you have a fancy display to tell you the pressures of all four of your tires. That makes filling them up even easier.

But you know what's even better, and I'm looking at you Camry, is knowing which tire pressures on the fancy new display correspond to which tire. So close...

Think you could pencil in an update for that sometime soon?

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 1,998 miles

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Un-Dew It

December 23, 2011


Our new Toyota Camry is super quick. Super quick at defrosting/defogging, that is.

Several times I've gotten in the Camry when it was covered in dew or fogged up from the cold. I put the wipers on to clear the front windshield. Then I rolled down the windows to clear the side windows but nothing doing. They came back up just as opaque as they went down. When I pushed the buttons for the window and mirror defoggers, they cleared up in seconds. I've never seen a car clear up that quickly. The back window literally took about 3 seconds. Now, that's service.

Any of you have a Camry is a colder climate? Does it work this quickly when there is actual frost on the windows?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Wants Versus Availability

December 09, 2011


Our Camry purchase has triggered a lot of discussion about the options we chose for our test car. When we buy cars for the long term test fleet, we decide what trim level and options we want, and weigh that against what we can afford and what is actually out there on the dealership lot.

You can use a configurator all day long and design the car of your dreams, but what you'll find on the dealer lot is rarely what you had in mind. Dealers order vehicles not for the sake of variety, but instead they choose options and colors that they think will sell the fastest and maximize profit.

Each time you choose a color and an option, the pool of cars that will match that description gets smaller and smaller. And since we were one of the first to get a Camry SE, there were even less available to choose from. If you aren’t willing to budge on your options, you can always custom order the car, but you're going to wait 8-10 weeks on average.

We knew that we wanted a four-cylinder SE and that we wanted it with the Entune system. But the cars out there didn’t just come with Entune. They also came with a moonroof, and the convenience and leather package. This added $3,601 to the MSRP, in addition to the $1,050 that the Entune already cost.

Next we had to find a Camry with those options and in a color that wasn't the typical black, silver or white. We could've had a silver Camry sooner, but we decided to wait an extra week for the Cosmic Gray Mica (which looks more like a midnight blue) we ended up getting.

A Camry with an MSRP of $28,656 may seem pricey for some people, but keep in mind we didn't pay that. We negotiated and ended up paying the invoice price, which was $26,397.

For those curious, the V6 model, though not in our original game plan, would have cost an extra $1,300 and pushed the price out of reach. We are a big company, but we still have to follow a budget like everyone else.

When buying a car, you'll have to strike a balance between what you want, what is available, and how soon you want it. If you set out to buy a red car, with a sunroof and the upgraded sound system, will you be able to find it in the real world? And if not, are you willing to order and wait for it? Or would you be willing to consider the black one sitting in the showroom with the sunroof and leather package?

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate

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2012 Toyota Camry: NHTSA 5-Star Side Crash Test Videos

December 08, 2011


Yesterday, the 2012 Toyota Camry scored an overall five-star safety rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Sure, the popular sedan has taken some blows to the ol' reputation thanks to a series of recalls. But when the redesigned Camry arrived we all knew the chances of it scoring well in crash tests were high seeing as how it not only has a high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel unibody but three more airbags -- passenger knee and rear-seat side airbags.

Hit the jump to get a sense of how safe you'd be in the event of a side impact by watching the videos where NHTSA threw a barrier at the Camry and then ran it into a pole.

For the frontal crash and rollover tests, the Camry scored four stars. And last year it got an overall score of four stars.

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2012 Toyota Camry SE: Band of Brothers

December 08, 2011


I recently drove our spanking new 2012 Toyota Camry to my local bank on a busy afternoon, where the only open spot I found sat between three other Camrys.

Including mine they spanned 3 generations, and as I looked around the lot I saw several more. Say what you will about the car and its performance, but these things are everywhere. There can be no doubt the Toyota Camry has been and remains to this day a hugely successful product.

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Past Long-Term Road Tests