Toyota's Camry has been given a redesign for 2012, but Toyota didn't mess with success when it came to the fundamentals. It's still offered in both gas and hybrid versions and while styling changes have been made, it's still unmistakably Camry throughout. Buyers still have their choice of the base L, LE, sporty SE and top-level XLE models. Hybrid buyers can now choose between LE or XLE trims.
Engines receive few changes for the new model year. Base-level Camrys come equipped with a 2.5L inline 4-cylinder engine that makes 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque--an improvement of 9 horsepower and 3 pound-feet of torque over the 2011 model. The SE and XLE models can be fitted with a 268-horsepower 3.5L V6. Both of these engines are paired to a 6-speed automatic as the only transmission choice.
The Hybrid has been given two available trim levels for 2012: LE and XLE. Both come with a 2.5L 4-cylinder mated to an electric motor for a combined 200 horsepower. The car can run on either powerplant individually, or it can pair them together, depending on conditions. A button on the dash allows the driver to select an EV only mode, which can be used up to 25 mph, depending on the battery charge. A CVT transmission is standard.
Interior space has been enhanced thanks to the redesign, which slightly reshaped the body to allow more usable room for rear seat passengers. Improved sound deadening has been added as well, helping to limit road noise. Safety features include front-side airbags, curtain-side airbags, driver and passenger front knee airbags, an antiskid system, traction control and anti-lock brakes.
Standard features on all Camrys include cruise control, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, air conditioning, Bluetooth, USB/iPod interface and outside temperature gauge. Six-speaker stereos are also standard, however, the LE and 4-cylinder-equipped SE and XLE models get Toyota's Display Audio system, complete with 6.1-inch touchscreen. Six-cylinder models get a slightly better version of the Display Audio system, which adds navigation, HD and satellite radio. Toyota's new Entunes system is also part of the package, pairing with a smartphone to facilitate the use of popular mobile apps like Pandora, and allowing voice control of many of the car's functions. The upgraded system is optional on 4-cylinder SE and XLE models. A top-level version, with a 7-inch screen, is available on V6 XLE models.
A multitude of options are available, depending on the trim. A Convenience Package with a proximity unlock system and pushbutton ignition is available and a backup camera can be ordered on SE and 4-cylinder XLE models, but it's standard on the V6-equipped XLE. Leather seats are optional on 4-cylinder XLE models and standard on the V6 XLE. Other options include a wireless cell phone link, heated seats and a blind spot detection system.
The 2012 Camry has been redesigned both inside and out. Although it rides on the same platform as 2011 models, it's been given all new bold-looking sheetmetal with a more aerodynamic style. The trunk is now larger, offering more storage space and all models feature 60/40 split folding rear seats, providing the ability to transport longer items. The Hybrid model features an updated 2.5L inline 4-cylinder engine and electric motor combination, which provides a total of 200 horsepower, up from last year's 188. The interior features increased headroom as well as hip and legroom, and the seats have been redesigned to be more comfortable.