The family favorite brings new refinements.
The 2012 Camry has had a slight bump in power from last year’s model, giving the new 2.5 liter engine 181HP @ 6,000 RPM and 232Nm @ 4,100 RPM. That’s just about enough to send the Camry SE Plus from 0 to 100kmph in 8.2 seconds.
Now the Camry was never known as a performance car, and the new engine doesn’t do much to change that image. In all honesty the Camry is only meant to be enjoyed as a comfortable ride. The suspension cushions most of bumps along the way, and the superior sound isolation certainly adds to the feel of being inside a bubble.
If ever you decide to push the Camry, higher revs aren’t reached quickly, and even then the car just seems to run out of steam quick. It’s not meant to be a driver’s car, and the irritating whine of the engine certainly dissuades from flooring the pedal. The affect of this is that you’ll be driving the Camry around comfortably, and the easy gear changes also mean improved fuel consumption. Complete city driving throughout my time with the 2012 Camry resulted in an average fuel consumption of just under 10 liters/ 100km.
That said, highway speeds are comfortable, and with the SE Plus’ tuned suspension and slightly rigid body structure, turning tight corners is surprisingly composed, with not as much body roll as I expected. Of course, the Vehicle Stability Control also kicks in when needed to cut down the power, but I never pushed the car that much for VSC to step in.
At the end of the day the 2012 Camry is targeted for people with families, who want a comfortable ride that’s reliable and is easy on the petrol. On a functional level the 2012 Camry could be exactly what you’re looking for, but it never extends outside of the norms of styling. You’ll feel happy in it, but never special. The price of the SE Plus model in particular maybe a bit of hard sell for some, because at AED 100K there’s a whole market that opens up, and the Accord presents a stiff competition. Still, the later has the disadvantage right now of being the “old” model.
So the 2012 Camry SE Plus is a safe bet, but expect the returns to be equally simple.