2012 Toyota Camry SE Plus Review

By on April 27, 2012
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The family favorite brings new refinements.

Good: Comfortable ride, aggressive styling, brilliant touchscreen entertainment system, decent fuel economy, great sound isolation, pleasant handling.
Bad: Sluggish engine that whines easily.
Price: AED 101,000
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

On the inside we see some significant changes and some much needed improvements in the 2012 Camry. The center console area is the most obvious design change from the previous model, but let’s take it from the top.

The top of the entire dashboard is covered in stitched leather, as is the steering wheel. Outside of that the rest of the materials used are soft felt rubber and hard plastic; the latter more prominent in the door panels. Of course, there’s some woodgrain as well, but it seems very out of place in the Camry’s beige and black interior.

The speedometer is extremely simple, with an additional meter that shows the average fuel consumption. I guess Toyota didn’t want this information cluttering up the trip computer screen at the bottom which shows the engine temperature, gear status and the odometer.

On the 3-spoked steering wheel we have volume control and media navigation buttons as well as the telephone and voice activated functions. For the voice setting to work you have to initially setup specific voice commands that carry out an order of your choice, such as switching the media, calling specific people, etc.

Now the 7-inch touchscreen in the center of the console is one of the biggest new additions to the 2012 Camry. I was pleasantly surprised to see the quick responsiveness as well as the high resolution display on the Camry’s entertainment system, something I have only seen in high-end cars.

The navigation system is easy to get used to, with big and bright fonts and grid layout for the map. Apart from the bright and basic color schemes, I would rate the 2012 Camry’s entertainment system as one of the best in the industry, it’s just that good.

Moving below that we see the climate controls, and further down is the gearbox, surrounding which are a many storage compartments. Overall the feel inside the Camry is very pleasant, but that’s mostly due to the roomy interior and exceptional sound isolation from outside noise.

And in many ways I can see Toyota has a done a lot of good by the consumer thanks mostly to the new touchscreen entertainment system and navigation, and the obvious leather trim. However, the huge amount of hard plastic and somewhat flimsy panels (on the gearbox, doors and under the dash area) just seems to take away the aesthetic appeal of the Camry.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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