2012 Toyota Camry gets ‘Recommended’ by Consumer Reports

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 30, 2011

Consumer Reports magazine gave a “recommended” review to the revamped Toyota Camry, the top-selling sedan in the U.S. This is quite unusual as the magazine has not proven to be a big fan of models built by Japanese automakers. The review for the 2012 Camry came out for the February 2012 issue of the magazine published by Consumers Union, a non-profit group.

The 2012 Camry started selling last October. Its assessment described the new Camry to have a “nicer interior, more responsive handling, and better fuel economy than before." It also said that the Camry’s four-cylinder model with a 27 mpg overall rating is tied with the Hyundai Sonata.

These two have the best fuel economy when compared to the other conventional family sedans that are gasoline-powered. Automakers want to get favorable reviews from Consumer Reports, which is deemed to be one of the most objective due to its policy not to accept advertising and to buy each vehicle it tests. Historically, Consumer Reports has been giving generally positive reviews to Toyota’s cars but it said in 2007 that it will examine the brand more closely because of some defects it discovered in the Tundra pickup, Lexus GS luxury car and older V-6 engine Camry sedan.

Last August, the magazine declined to give a “recommended” seal of approval to Honda Motor Co.'s 2012 Civic, which had made its list previously. Honda has announced that it will revise the Civic but no details have been divulged so far. The Camry has an enviable record of being the No. 1 car in the U.S. when it comes to sales for 13 of the last 14 years.

Toyota has promised that it will do what it can to keep its top rank. Toyota is aiming to sell 360,000 Camrys in the U.S. in 2012. This is lower than its record in 2007 of 473,108 Camrys sold. The Japan disaster last March had reduced the output of Toyota’s plants. As a result, sales this year through October fell by 7.4% to 275,004 units when compared to the previous year.

Could the new Toyota Camry sustain its momentum for the 2012 model year and grab its 10th straight annual dominance as the best-selling car in the United States? The answer lies in the fact the 2012 Camry – now in its seventh generation -- has been made more appealing with its greater driving dynamics, new sophisticated design, a roomier interior and a quieter and more comfortable ride as well as best-in-class safety and fuel economy and an array of multi-media technology.

It builds on the legacy of the first Camry introduced in 1983, which worked its way to become the benchmarks for quality, dependability and reliability in the modern midsize sedan segments. As a testament to its appealing characters, over 15 million Camry models have been handed to customers around the world since its launch.

Bob Carter, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager, remarked that the new 2012 Camry combines the car’s evolved values -- like comfort, reliability, safety and efficiency -- with a more engaging driving experience and a more appealing design. He noted that while competition in the midsize sedan segment is at is stiffest, the 2012 Camry is designed to stay on top while strengthening its appeal.

Three powertrain choices – now more responsive and more fuel efficient -- are available for the seventh generation of the Camry. One of these is a revised 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that could provide up to 178 hp (+ 9hp) of output and up to 170 lb.-ft. of torque. All 2012 Camry models with this engine boast of EPA-estimated fuel economy values of 25 mpg city/35 mpg highway/28 mpg combined (plus 2 mpg).

Thanks to the Dual VVT-i (Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent) technology that could control valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts, this 2.5-liter engine boasts of optimal performance and efficiency no matter how fast the engine goes. In addition, torque has been optimized over a broad engine speed range thanks to the Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS).

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