2012 Toyota Camry Appears, Like the Second Coming

Toyota brings forth the 2012 Camry, a brand new, apparently good car born from the ashes of arrogance and unintended acceleration. The company had a great deal at stake with this launch, and reviewers are treating it like Christ coming down from the mountain. (Google reports 663 stories.)

Indeed, Toyota hopes its reputation will be born again, and I haven’t read a bad review yet. The most balanced is from Car and Driver’s Csaba Csere, an old pro. The most breathless may be on AutoSpies, which looks to be a reprint of the Toyota press release.

So, what have we got here? It’s a quieter, more refined car than the 2011, with a subtle but effective redesign, a 2.5-liter four, a 3.5-liter V6, a very good hybrid—all with decent performance, better ride and handling, and a much-improved interior. The 4-cylinder and hybrid models cost less than last year’s cars.

It’s a slightly better driver than the 2011, and the SE models get tweaked suspension and steering, sport seats and, yes, paddle shifters for the 6-speed.

Some of the company’s new ads feature NASCAR driver Kyle Busch—which is kind of strange, given that the Camry’s a mass-market commuter car for buyers with an average age of 60.

As you don’t see here, Kyle just lost his license for speeding in North Carolina—128 mph in a Lexus LFA—but has apologized. Anyhow, Joe Gibbs runs Camrys in his team, so that says something.

To get back to business, Camry has been the best-selling passenger car in the U.S. since 1997 (save for 2001), and some 15 million have been sold since it was introduced in 1983.

As others have noted, “They must be doing something right.” And we predict the new Camry, despite some real competition from cars like the Malibu, Altima and Passat, will come back strong.

Are all the positive reviewers acting like sheep, or do you think there will be real value in the 2012 Camry?


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