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2012 Toyota Camry Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Toyota Camry was new.


Performance: 7.5

Test drivers think the 2012 Toyota Camry provides good acceleration with both four-cylinder and V6 engines, smooth shifting with its six-speed automatic transmission and cushy handling. Reviewers like both engines in the 2012 Camry because they are powerful enough for daily commuting and lengthy road trips.

If you’re looking for a lively and engaging car, you should test drive the Mazda6, Ford Fusion and Suzuki Kizashi. Automotive journalists like the performance and handling on these cars because they are more composed through tight corners. However, the Camry is built for comfort, and test drivers say it delivers.

  • "Count on the '12 Toyota Camry to deliver the kind of drive you'd expect. It's smooth, comfortable, and quiet, and otherwise unremarkable." -- Motor Trend
  • "The Camry's liquid-butter driving experience is better than ever." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "All versions we're driving, from the LE four-cylinder to the XLE V6 to the vitamin-enriched SE, perform better than the models they replace." -- Inside Line

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 Camry is offered with a choice of two engines: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 178 horsepower, or a 3.5-liter V6 making 268. A six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode comes with all trim levels, while the SE trim gets steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

The EPA says the four-cylinder Toyota Camry gets 25/35 mpg city/highway, while the V6 gets 21/30. The 2012 Camry’s fuel economy is an improvement compared with the previous model, and its four-cylinder model is now the most fuel-efficient, non-hybrid, non-diesel car in the class.

The Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima get one less mile per gallon in the city. Toyota also claims best-in-class fuel economy for its V6 models, which the EPA backs up. The Honda Accord’s V6 engine gets one mile per gallon less in the city than the Camry’s V6.

Overall, test drivers are pleased with the 2012 Camry’s acceleration and power. They say the four-cylinder engine is lively and competent for everyday driving. Reviewers think the V6 engine provides impressive power and the six-speed automatic is a quick, smooth-shifting transmission.

  • "Tasked with motivating the roughly 3,200 lbs. Camry, the four-cylinder is nearly silent in its operation and perfectly capable of working with its six-speed automatic transmission to deliver perfectly acceptable acceleration." -- Left Lane News
  • "The new six-speed automatic transmission performs its duties admirably. Shifts are quick enough for family sedan duty and perfectly smooth - just what you want out of a gearbox designed to increase fuel economy and coddle in equal parts." -- Autoblog
  • "Even though the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine lacks oomph off the line, it actually feels peppy and not too much of a slouch compared to its 3.5-liter V-6 sibling when passing slower traffic." -- Road and Track
  • "The four is strong in this car, so there's no reason for the V-6 take-rate to go up." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

The Toyota Camry is meant to be a comfortable daily driver, not a high-performance machine, and the automotive press says they’re fine with that. The 2012 Camry will coddle you over bumps and is a good car for daily commutes and long road trips. Toyota put a new electric power steering system in the 2012 Camry, and test drivers are not impressed. They say the steering feels vague and unresponsive.

If you prefer sharper handling, the automotive press suggests upgrading to the Camry SE, which features a sport-tuned suspension for a more athletic feel. Reviewers think the Camry’s braking performance is average for the class.

  • "The new cars go down the road well, although the electronic power steering is notably lacking in on-center feel, even by Camry standards." -- Car and Driver
  • "Though Camrys are engineered more for comfort than corner carving, their handling is predictable and composed in most normal driving situations." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Camry hasn't exactly morphed into a driver's car, but it's no longer a one-dimensional cream puff, either." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "No one's saying this is ever going to be a sport sedan, but the Camry SE is fairly confident without too much flop or push. In standard driving circumstances, most owners will enjoy a comfortable ride that fields potholes and breaks in the pavement without transferring jolts to the cabin." -- Autoblog

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