We’ve had glimpses of it already, but here are the official details and images of the 2012 Toyota Camry, which has been finally launched. The seventh-generation Camry makes its debut in America, where it has been best-selling car for nine years running and 13 of the past 14 years. The main selling points are the “bold, sophisticated new design”, more spacious interior, improved driving dynamics and an even quieter ride.
“The all-new 2012 Camry blends an evolution of the car’s values – such as comfort, efficiency, reliability and safety – with a more appealing design and engaging driving experience. Competition in the midsize sedan segment is the strongest it’s ever been, and the all-new Camry is designed to maintain its long-standing leadership while also broadening its appeal,” explained Bob Carter, Toyota Division group VP and GM.
Toyota says that the new Camry’s form is elegantly simple but modern, emphasising a wider, lower stance over the previous model. We can see the more crisp and precise character line, while things like the more strongly curved door cross-section and better defined rocker panel molding give it a more expressive look. The new headlamps and wrap around “arrow” tail lamps also help the more dynamic cause.
There are again three powertrain choices, all of which have been improved for better economy and performance. The revised 2.5-litre four-cylinder now boast 178 hp, an increase of 9 hp, and 230 Nm of torque. This engine employs Dual VVT-i for both intake and exhaust camshafts, as well as Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS) that helps optimise torque over a broad engine speed range. The 3.5 V6 has 268 hp and 336 Nm.
Both petrol engines come exclusively with a six-speed automatic gearbox with manual shift mode. In the Camry SE, “D range” sequential shifting allows manual shifting with the new steering paddle shifters even in D mode. The SE’s automatic transmission also features faster shift times in S mode, with downshift blipping control to boot.
The new Camry Hybrid debuts a highly revised version of the brand’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, including a new 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine. With US EPA-estimated 14.5 km/l combined, it yields a more-than 30% boost in fuel economy compared to the previous gen car, thanks largely to the new powertrain, but also due to lighter weight and optimised aerodynamics.
Like the old 2.4, the new engine is the HSD uses the Atkinson cycle. Combined with the electric motor, the system produces a combined 200 hp. A new water-cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system cools and controls exhaust gas injected into each cylinder, eliminating the need to richen the air-fuel mixture to control cylinder temperatures.
The Camry Hybrid now has a more pleasing sound under acceleration, according to Toyota. Speaking of that 0-60 mph (96 km/h) is done in 7.6 seconds, so it’s not a slow car by any means.
While the old car’s external dimensions are largely retained, the 2012 Camry offers a more spacious interior. A new dashboard design, modified seat locations, redesigned seats and “lean” door, pillar and headliner trim all combine to add “both real space and greater perceptual spaciousness” while also enhancing outward visibility.
The accelerator pedal and front seats were moved forward, and the rear-seat hip point was positioned rearward, increasing the couple distance by 0.6-inch. Together with reshaped front seatbacks, rear-knee room is up by 1.8-inch. The redesigned center console and front edge of the rear-seat cushion increase rear middle seat legroom by two inches.
The Camry is known for its comfort and hushed ride, and a lot of work has gone into this new model to reset the benchmark. Measures that focus on reducing wind noise include stronger door and rocker area seals; optimised placement of sound insulating materials; foam applied in the roof, pillars and door openings; acoustic glass used for the V6 and Hybrid model’s windshield; and special bracing of cowl intake louvers.
The dashboard structure and assembly was also thoroughly reworked to prevent noise intrusion. The structure employs a new cross member and center brace, along with sandwiched sheet steel to suppress resonance and vibration. With the sandwiched steel, asphalt foam is used to absorb vibration energy while increasing sound blocking effectiveness.
Damping-coating thickness and application areas have been optimised for reduced floor-panel vibration and noise penetration through the floor, and there’s a new type of carpet, too.
An inch here and a decibel there may not sound too exciting, but it looks like Toyota knows its market well with the Camry, and has improved on its best seller’s strengths, while offering more contemporary design in and out. However, this is just the US version – our ASEAN car may not be identical. But do you like what you see?
Hi res gallery after the jump.
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