The pace car in NASCAR has typically been U.S. cars so the fact that the new 2012 Toyota Camry will set the pace at the 2012 Daytona 500, which kicks off the Sprint Cup Series season, is definitely news. The only other time that a foreign car was chosen to set the pace was in 1971 with a Porsche 914.
Notably, the Toyota Camry comes from a foreign brand but it has been built in the U.S. for numerous years so it may be considered half-American.
For the last 13 years, the Toyota Camry had been the top-selling car in the U.S. Ed Laukes, TMS corporate manager of motorsports marketing, said that the DAYTONA 500 is the “perfect place” to display the all-new Camry, which will start selling this fall.
He added that teaming up with Daytona would mean that the new Camry could be highlighted in an “extraordinary way” as well as strengthen the commitment of Toyota to NASCAR and its fans.
The Camry has been in production in Georgetown, Kentucky, for 25 years, starting in 1986. Another facility that builds the model is in Lafayette, Indiana.
The 2012 Toyota Camry uses a simple yet elegant and modern design for its exteriors. This new model has a much lower and wider stance as compared to the previous generation. Basically, the design is an expression of luxury with Camry’s all-new chrome accents for the XLE and LE variants as well as the enhanced rocker panel mouldings and curved doors with crisp and clear-cut lines.
Obviously, the shape of the new headlamps is more dynamic while the expressive beam is more defined with the curves that merge along the new bumper panels. Adding sophistication to the all-new set-up, the main section of the taillights extends all the way to the trunk panel while both SE and XLE variants come with the new standard fog lights.
The SE finally launches its new lower body stance along with its unique upper grille with mesh design. A black trimmed sporty headlamp with fog lamps is now at the lower part of the grille. The rocker panel mouldings are interrelated with the SE’s rear and front spoilers, making it look wider than it is especially underneath. The trunk lid also comes with a spoiler to match the highly prominent new design of the new panel mouldings.
The all-new Toyota Camry will come in 4 colours where two of the four colours will be seen in the US for the very first time. The Clearwater Blue is a blend of blue and metallic silver pigment in hi-gloss finish. On the other hand, the Attitude Black Metallic is a blend of jet black and bright blue pigment for a more exotic combination.
Due to the similar dimensions from Camry’s earlier models, the 2012’s interior provides the same superior comfort and luxury. However, the newly styled dashboard and newly designed seats with newly adjusted headliner, pillars and door panel create more space and allowance over and out. The adjusted driver’s seat and the steering wheel’s tilt position significantly improve the driving comfort by 33%. It also helps in the driver’s overall position and visibility.
Meanwhile, both the front seat and the rear seat get longer legroom by 0.6-1.8 inches by moving the accelerator pedals further to the front. The centre console system’s new position has significantly improved the space on the middle seat by at least a couple of inches more.
The overall modification around the interior has nonetheless added to the new Camry’s spacious ambience. Thanks to the lean car design strategy, the designers were able to create a new shape for the interior that delivers a new level comfort.
Furthermore, the three dimensional structure and layering of the materials on the instrument panel provides depth while the overall contour gives the cabin more space.
The curves around centre flow freely to the instrument panel while the smooth textures add to a more laidback feel. In fact, even the tiniest details such as the softer seat paddings, the intricately stitched leather trims as well as the chrome and aluminium accents demonstrates luxury and style.
Toyota Camry’s XLE and LE models have two choices of colours for the seats. One of which is the grey and the other one is in ivory. The SE variant comes in 1 two-tone colour combination with black-on-grey or the black-on-black colour setup.
The 2012 model as a whole offers 4 types of fabric materials for the seats. The XLE and LE model uses fabric while the SE uses SofTex fabric material. The XLE’s V6 variant has standard leather seats and is also optional for the XLE’s 4-cylinder. Both the XLE and SE’s hybrid models are available in Ultrasuede leather.
In the meantime, the heated seats with variable temperature control are a standard for the Hybrid model only. The rest of the models like the XLE and SE 4-cylinders and also the XLE V6 are equipped with heated seats with regular functions.
Meanwhile, the significantly longer cushioned seats, higher back support and front seat’s new frame improves overall comfort, along with the 2.4 inches driver’s seat height adjustment option.
The new Camry SE’s side bolsters on the front seats are thicker to complement the 3-spoke sporty leather steering wheel with paddle shift controller. The steering wheel comes in all-leather materials be it for the SE’s 3 spoke sporty wheels or the XLE and LE’s 4-spoke steering wheels.
The luxury sedan caters to the needs of today’s consumer lifestyle by coming up with simplified and easy-to-use controls. The control knobs, for one, are highly responsive along with the rest of the controllers placed strategically at the centre console. Nevertheless, the added accessories at the front section such as the knee pads on both sides, media port for iPods, USB, audio and Bluetooth controls are designed and placed in all the right places.
To improve overall luggage capacity, all variants already feature a 60/40 standard split folding rear seat back support. It can be adjusted lower from the trunk for more convenience. The rear seats are now equipped with cup holders, armrest and air bags for all-around comfort and safety.