Her and His Reviews

June 2012

2012 Toyota Camry

There are always two sides to everything, right? Well, the truth is there are many more than that! To keep our car reviews innovative and well-rounded, we are providing you with not just one, but two points of view on the same exact vehicle – Her and His perspectives.
 

Her: Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate,women-drivers.com
His: Don Hammonds, Writer, AutomobileJournal.com 

HER HIS
Price
MSRP: $33,698 MSRP: $33,698
Performance
Toyota redesigned the Camry and while the brand elements are not too front-leading and clearly T-o-y-o-t-a, the universal appeal is there. It's been a best seller in America 13 out of 14 years. The handling is responsive with the electric power steering, and the ride well-groomed. The Hybrid, a front wheel drive with a 2.5 liter four cylinder engine uses a compact battery and an electric motor ?? and transitions easily from one to the other. An improvement this year with an equivalent of 200 horsepower. Pretty decent, actually. It has a 2.5 liter 4 cylinder engine as part of its hybrid synergy drive system, and acceleration was really quite brisk. Moreover, the Camry Hybrid has some tremendous handling improvements. With the electric steering system the car doesn't waver, nor does the steering need lots of correction as did prior Camry's. Handling has been tightened up considerably, and has become sharper around corners and more stable overall.
Fuel Economy
40 highway and 38 city, but we got an average of 43 miles to the gallon. Exceptional! It's rated as 40/38 but that's misleading in a positive way. I consistently got 45 miles per gallon or better on the highway, and in city traffic, speeds up to 25 miles per hour--the norm in heavy conditions-- the car runs only on electricity. As a result there were several times when we got 65 miles per gallon with mixed condition city traffic.
The Car
A winner. Nothing stealth-like, although the brand has plenty of newer competition from Hyundai's Sonata Hybrid, VW Passat and others. The car's interior has been made larger; the touch points enhanced, and increased cargo volume. Transported by hearty 17" alloy wheels, this top-rated midsize sedan is great for the family. There no longer is a noise factor like in the 2011. Great visibility in this model! Leather and heated seats, along with the adjustability of the two in the front, help with customized comfort. Glad to see that the grill now showcases a bit more of an aggressive look to it. The new Camry Hybrid, like other new Camry models, has much better interior material, better presentation and much better fit and finish for starters. It's still not up to competitors like the all new 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco, hands down the midsized interior design leader. The Camry Hybrid is pretty decent on content, too. Styling? Well, a little better, but its way short of where it will need to be to attract attention in such a crowded market.
Safety
It is in this category, safety, which the Camry begins to step away from the Sonata. 10 airbags and blind spot monitors are a huge plus for me and my family. The optional monitors are integrated into the side mirrors ?? and cost $500, make such a difference. I believe this feature should be mandatory on all vehicles, as it serves as another pair of eyes for the driver. Other safety equipment includes traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, anti-lock brakes, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Another feature is Toyota's Safety Connect, which offers the driver a "Lifeline" with roadside assistance, and automatic collision notification and more. The big news here is Safety Connect, an OnStar like system that provides roadside assistance, a stolen car locator system, and automatic collision notification among other things. Otherwise, it's pretty much like most cars out there. Traction and stability control, plenty of airbags, anti-lock brakes, etc. and port with iPod connectivity.
Technology
The most-cool, voice activated Entune system is optional. It took yours truly a few extra go's-at-it, but that had nothing to do with the system. A sunny day had me poking around the screen with zero precision. However, in the evening's shade and after yoga (read: relaxed), it was quite intuitive. The system includes the satellite radio, HD radio, Bluetooth streaming audio, and the navigation among other items -- mobile apps and other data services are included. Oh, and don't the 'universal' styling fool you. Inside, prepare to jam with the subwoofer, amplifier and 8 speaker system. USB port with iPod connectivity. The display audio with Navigation Entune takes precedence here. It includes an eight speaker system, subwoofer and amplifier, USB port with iPod connectivity, hands free phone capability, Bluetooth technology, advanced voice recognition, customizable text responses, music streaming with Bluetooth and other features are included. It's easy to use and one of the best in the business. Pretty ho-hum to me. Toyota is perfectly capable of doing things with more imagination, but so far, at least with Camry, it's too cautious. More risk and daring is needed
Aesthetics & Styling
As said earlier, Toyota is a bestselling model, and they are not rushing to the front of the styling class. Be clear, that hasn't yet worked against them. The redesign for '12 is perfectly acceptable and with the other amenities on this hybrid, no one is complaining. Pretty ho-hum to me. Toyota is perfectly capable of doing things with more imagination, but so far, at least with Camry, it's too cautious. More risk and daring is needed
Warranty
The new Toyota Care is a nice touch: it allows for complimentary scheduled maintenance plan for two years or 25,000 miles. DO check with your dealer on specifics. The new Toyota Care is a nice touch: it allows for complimentary scheduled maintenance plan for two years or 25,000 miles. DO check with your dealer on specifics.

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