Skip to main content

2012 Toyota Camry

Change year or car

$22,055

starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown

Sedan

Body style

28

Combined MPG

5

Seating capacity

189.2” x 57.9”

Dimensions

Front-wheel drive

Drivetrain

Overview

The good:

  • Attractive dashboard
  • Passing power
  • Better brakes
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Ride comfort, except in SE

The bad:

  • Light styling changes
  • Low-grip tires, except in SE
  • Some features deleted
  • Choppy ride (SE)
  • Sport seats too flat (SE)

5 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2012 Toyota Camry trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best Sedans for 2024

Notable features

  • Redesigned for 2012
  • Four-cylinder or V-6
  • Standard automatic transmission
  • 2 mpg better gas mileage
  • Larger trunk

2012 Toyota Camry review: Our expert's take

By Kelsey Mays

I’ve met plenty of Toyota Camry owners. To date, zero have raved about their car, yet the Camry’s sensible qualities attract shoppers in droves. Even in its final year, the outgoing Camry outsold all its competitors — and beat all but one of them in Cars.com’s family sedan Shootout last year. Redesigned for 2012, the Camry and its winning formula continue.

While the 2012 Toyota Camry lacks the instant appeal of some competitors, a number of important, incremental improvements make it a ratings-worthy contender for any family-car shopper.

The five-seat sedan comes in L, LE, XLE and sport-tuned SE trims. A four-cylinder engine is standard, with a V-6 optional on the SE and XLE. I reviewed the much-improved Camry Hybrid separately. The new Camry won’t go on sale until October, but I drove most variants at a media preview.

That Thing’s New?
Toyota describes the Camry as all-new — seventh generation, redesigned from top to bottom — but the styling suggests a milder update. The car’s length, width and wheelbase remain the same. The headlights look more reshaped than reimagined. The boomerang taillights add something fresh, but the side profile smacks of the old Camry.

The Toyota Camry SE has sporty body treatments and 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels, versus 16-inch steel wheels on the base model. Better integrated than the outgoing Camry SE — whose slapped-on extensions had all the makings of a discount nose job — it’s the clearest redesign of the bunch, if you can abide its face. I see the late-2000s Acura TL, some Mazda6 and a lot of woodchuck.

Revamped Interior
The overhauled cabin feels richer, if less consistent, than before. Dressed with stitched faux leather and a chrome-flanked, raised center panel, the dash has lots of upscale eye candy. The quality goes beyond sight alone — the climate controls feel weightier and the gearshift crisper moving from Park to Drive.

I prefer the last Toyota Camry’s cushy seats to the new version’s, which are a touch firmer. Still, the driver’s seat has good adjustment range, and the center console doesn’t encroach on hip or knee room. Though the backseat is not as cavernous as a Volkswagen Passat’s or Honda Accord’s, it fits adults fine, with good headroom and a hump-free floor. The Camry XLE loses its reclining backseat, but all trims gain a 60/40-split folding backseat. The previous generation’s SE and XLE backseats didn’t fold.

A few areas get the short shrift: cheap rear door panels, a ratty headliner, no more one-touch power windows all around. On the whole, though, cabin quality feels competitive, if short of the Kia Optima and Passat. And the Camry’s practicality — vast storage cubbies, visibility unfettered by a descending roofline or thick window pillars — should draw buyers.

Trunk volume measures 15.4 cubic feet, up from last year’s 15.0 cubic feet (14.5 in some trims) and beating the Accord. If trunk space is high on your list, check out the Hyundai Sonata and Ford Fusion. Both cars top 16 cubic feet.

The Gripe is Grip
The prior generation 
Toyota Camry was quick: capable with the 178-horsepower four-cylinder, muscular with the 268-hp V-6. That carries over for 2012, along with a 2 mpg improvement for each version in combined city/highway mileage, according to EPA estimates. At 28 mpg with the four-cylinder and 25 mpg with the six, the Camry leads all competitors but the Sonata. Credit Toyota for slimming most versions down more than 100 pounds, tweaking the drivetrain, adding fuel-saving electric power steering and outfitting the Camry with lower-rolling-resistance tires.

I’m sold on four of the five changes. Like most family-car automatics, the Camry’s six-speed stumbles on multi-gear downshifts, but it upshifts smoothly and usually kicks down soon enough. (Toyota has dropped last year’s stick shift.) What’s more, the Camry outsteers its predecessor. I drove 2011 and 2012 Camry LEs back-to-back, and the old car’s comatose steering feedback and highway discomposure have diminished. The 2012 Camry’s wheel still goes numb during quick lane changes — the Accord and Fusion maneuver better — but it feels more confident than it did.

The tires, however, are anything but. The Camry LE sedan has Michelin Energy Saver Green-X all-seasons, whose lower rolling resistance improves gas mileage. Alas, it comes at a high cost. Prod the accelerator, and the front wheels spin away. On sweeping curves, the tires break from the line early, reined in only when the standard electronic stability system calls order. The outgoing Camry employed run-of-the-mill Michelin Energy MXV4s. Where they stuck, the Energy Savers stray. Worst of all, I observed this after hours of moderate driving with temperatures in the 80s. On a blustery winter day, I fear the Energy Savers would fare even worse.

The Toyota Camry XLE and four-cylinder SE wear 17-inch Michelin Primacy MXV4s. They, too, lack much grip. The V-6 SE has 18s and Michelin Primacy MXM4s, which — finally! — play nice. They suit the SE, which improves on its discordant predecessor. The last SE handled too poorly to justify its choppy ride. I drove the two generations back-to-back, and the new one leans more but handles better — sharper balance, graceful drifting, better steering feedback. I only wish Toyota had worked similar magic with the suspension. It doesn’t jar as much through potholes and ruts, but small bumps are felt in a fatiguing, ever-present rhythm. Some competitors — the Suzuki Kizashi in particular — find better ground between ride and handling. The Camry SE has improved, but it’s not there yet.

Run-of-the-mill Toyota Camry trims ride a touch firmer than before, but overall comfort still impresses. So do the brakes. Toyota swapped in slightly larger four-wheel discs for 2012, and the linear response improves on the Camry norm.

Safety, Features & Pricing
As of this writing, the 
Toyota Camry has yet to be crash-tested. There are 10 standard airbags. As required of all 2012 models, an electronic stability system and antilock brakes are standard. A blind spot warning system is optional on the XLE. Toyota has yet to price the car, but officials told me the popular LE model won’t stray much from its 2011 price — $22,700 with the automatic — and the cost of the SE and XLE “will be substantially lower” than their predecessors. Those trims were around $24,000 and $26,500, respectively, with automatic transmissions.

Don’t expect to find a base-price Toyota Camry L easily. Toyota says the base trim will comprise less than 5 percent of all sales — mostly to commercial fleets, not consumers. Standard features include air conditioning, cruise control, power accessories, Bluetooth and an iPod-compatible stereo. Mainline Camry trims add steering-wheel audio controls, remote keyless entry and a touch-screen stereo with Bluetooth audio streaming. Check all the options, and the Camry can have heated leather upholstery, power front seats, a moonroof, JBL audio, two separate navigation systems (see the photos to compare) and Toyota’s Entune multimedia system, which we detail here.

Camry in the Market
Toyota went for short completions with the new Camry: Eke out another 2 mpg, refine the steering and handling, improve the brakes. Some buyers may wish the carmaker had opted to throw a styling long ball, as Kia and Hyundai did. Toyota could miss out on some new buyers because the redesign looks too mild.

But I’m not sure the Toyota Camry needed a styling overhaul; after all, its predecessor had aged well. The carmaker needs to restore the nameplate’s reputation for bulletproof reliability, which has sunk to merely OK in recent years. The interior is a few flubs short of family-car excellence, and the skateboard tires mar an otherwise refined driving experience. But the sensibilities remain, and on the whole the Toyota Camry has improved significantly. It remains, more than ever, a poster car for your right brain.

Send Kelsey an email  

 

Photo of Kelsey Mays
Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.5
  • Interior 4.5
  • Performance 4.5
  • Value 4.5
  • Exterior 4.4
  • Reliability 4.7
Write a review

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Great Car for reliability

We bought this car for our daughter for college and it has been an excellent car for her. It is easy to handle and drives well. She drove back and forth from Galveston to Dallas and I always felt like she was safe in this car. We have had no problems. Just keep the maintenance up to date and you will be great.

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 5.0
  • Interior 5.0
  • Performance 5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Exterior 5.0
  • Reliability 5.0
  • Purchased a Used car
  • Used for Having fun
  • Does recommend this car
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful. Did you?
Yes No
5.0

Love my Yoda

I absolutely love my 2012 Camry. I bought the car new and drove off the lot with only 9 miles. The car currently has 283,000 miles. It has never given me any problems.

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 5.0
  • Interior 5.0
  • Performance 5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Exterior 5.0
  • Reliability 5.0
  • Purchased a New car
  • Used for Commuting
  • Does recommend this car
11 people out of 11 found this review helpful. Did you?
Yes No
1.0

Don't buy...new or used!

Bought a 2012 brand new and after 2 months I had the leak on the passenger side from the air conditioner overflow. It got a bit moldy. The driver's side interior post has been coming loose for 10.5 years. The transmission went kaput at 113,000 miles. Cost a fortune to fix. Moon roof has rattled since day one. Toyota has done nothing to help.

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.0
  • Interior 3.0
  • Performance 1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Exterior 3.0
  • Reliability 1.0
  • Purchased a New car
  • Used for Having fun
  • Does not recommend this car
30 people out of 37 found this review helpful. Did you?
Yes No
See all 294 consumer reviews

Safety

Based on the 2012 Toyota Camry base trim.
Combined side rating front seat
5
Combined side rating rear seat
5
Frontal barrier crash rating driver
5
Frontal barrier crash rating passenger
4
Overall frontal barrier crash rating
4
Overall rating
5
Overall side crash rating
5
Risk of rollover
11.1%
Rollover rating
4
Side barrier rating
5
Side barrier rating driver
5
Side barrier rating passenger rear seat
5
Side pole rating driver front seat
5

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Toyota
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
36 months/36,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
60 months/60,000 miles
Roadside assistance
24 months/25,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
7 years/less than 85,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12, 000 miles
Powertrain
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
160- or 174-point inspections
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors