Midsize car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $7,100 – $20,400*


2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid


2012 Toyota Camry SE


2012 Toyota Camry SE


2012 Toyota Camry SE

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Fuel economy (Hybrid)
  • Passenger room/comfort
  • Ride
Cons:
  • Handling/roadholding

There’s no secret to Camry’s long-running sales success: Toyota’s midsize simply satisfies more buyers more often than any other car on the market. The seventh-generation models are the best yet, combining useful improvements and new features with the time-tested virtues of smooth powertrains, good fuel economy, and quiet, roomy cabins. The Hybrid is arguably the most impressive Camry, blending fine real-world fuel economy with peppy acceleration and a laudably seamless powertrain, partly offset by a smaller trunk and higher prices when new. Camry is still pretty plain vanilla–even the sporty SE models–but it remains a compelling choice in a practical, pleasant, family-focused sedan that offers much to like and no surprises.

Overview

The 2012 Toyota Camry was redesigned with new styling, new features, and a significantly improved powertrain for the Hybrid model.

Four-cylinder models included the L, LE, SE, and XLE. The V6 was offered in SE and XLE trim. The Hybrid came as an LE or XLE.

The L was fairly well equipped, with tilt/telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, height-adjustable driver seat, split folding rear seat, power windows/locks/mirrors, digital-media player connection, USB port, and wireless cell-phone link. However, many might consider the step-up LE for its remote keyless entry, steering-wheel radio controls, and automatic headlights.

SE models were the sporty Camrys, and include heated power mirrors, a sport-tuned suspension, and larger tires (17s with the 4-cylinder, 18s with the V6). V6 versions also added a navigation system, rearview camera, power driver seat, keyless access and starting, and satellite radio. Most of those features were optional on the 4-cylinder.

XLE models added the usual luxury and convenience touches, including navigation system, rearview camera, satellite radio, keyless access and starting, and sunroof, many of which were also available as options on lower-level models. Other options included leather upholstery, heated front seats, blind-spot alert, and Toyota’s Entune infotainment system and Safety Connect assistance system.

Three powertrains were offered in the Camry: a 178-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic transmission; a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and 6-speed automatic; and a Hybrid carrying a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder paired with an electric motor for a combined 200 horsepower, along with a CVT transmission that behaves much like an automatic.

Camrys are front-wheel drive.

In 2012, the regular 4-cylinder models were EPA-rated at 25 city/35 highway. The V6s rated at 21/30. The big improvement for 2012 was the Hybrid, which rated at 43/39 – up 4 to 12 mpg over the 2011 Hybrid. All Camrys use regular-grade gas.

These Camrys included all the expected safety features plus a driver knee airbag, and also offer a rearview camera, blind-spot alert, and Safety Connect assistance system.

Yearly Updates

2013 Camry
The seventh-generation Camry entered its second year with very few changes. A rear-cross-traffic alert was added for SE models with the optional blind-spot monitor/lane-departure warning system, and the base L version joined other Camrys with a standard Display Audio touchscreen sound system. The only other news involved minor revisions to interior detailing and trim materials.
2014 Camry
Toyota didn’t introduce any significant changes for the 2014 Camry.
2015 Camry
The Toyota Camry got a substantial revamp for 2015 that included new bodywork (the only exterior panel carried over is the roof), a stiffer internal body structure, a redesigned and upgraded interior, new infotainment and safety features, and a sport-luxury XSE model.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Three powertrains were available in the 2012-14 Camry. Conventional models could be equipped with a 178-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic transmission, or a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and 6-speed automatic. The Hybrid carries a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder paired with an electric motor for a combined 200 horsepower, along with a CVT transmission that behaves much like an automatic. All Camrys are front-wheel drive.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/153
Engine HP 178
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 170
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic 25/35 26.9
dohc I4/electric1
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/144
Engine HP 200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) NA
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
CVT automatic 43/39 32.0
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/211
Engine HP 268
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 248
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic 21/30 26.4

1. Hybrid models. Combined gas/electric torque NA. Hybrid XLE was rated at 41/38 mpg.

Road Test

We estimate 4-cylinder Camrys run 0-60 mph in around 8.5 seconds. The engine is smooth and willing but short on low-end muscle, so overall performance is only adequate. V6 models are impressively strong in all situations; they do 0-60 in just 6 seconds or so. Camry’s automatic transmission is smooth and alert with either engine. SE models include steering-wheel shift paddles, in line with their sportier demeanor.

This Camry is one of the quicker midsize hybrid cars. We estimate 0-60 mph at a little over 7 seconds except in Eco mode, which dulls powertrain response and thus performance for the sake of max mpg. Initial acceleration is leisurely even in normal Drive, but power is otherwise more than adequate. Mid-range throttle response is surprisingly immediate, especially for a hybrid. The CVT provides smooth power delivery. The stop/start function is generally unobtrusive except for occasional mild shudder on engine restart.

In a mix of city/highway driving, a 4-cylinder Camry averaged 26.9 mpg. In mostly highway driving, a V6 averaged 26.4 mpg. A test XLE Hybrid averaged 32.0 mpg in mostly urban-area highway driving. All engines use regular-grade gas.

All Camrys have comfort-biased suspension tuning that delivers a mostly composed, absorbent ride, though moderate float can occur over large humps and dips at highway speeds. SE’s firmer sport suspension exacts only a minor penalty in ride comfort versus other models, but the SE V6’s standard 18-inch tires produce more thump and jiggle on patchy surfaces than the 16- and 17-inch wheels.

As ever, Camry is a pleasant, low-stress daily-driver that’s predictable and safe in challenging conditions. But enthusiasts will find little enjoyment here, even in the sportier SE models. The suspension is simply too soft for truly agile cornering, though body lean is modest. Steering is accurate and linear, but could use more road feel. The brakes in conventional Camrys provide swift, drama-free stops. Unlike the others, the Hybrid’s brakes can be a bit grabby at low speeds, an artifact of the regenerative-braking feature. But it’s not a serious flaw, and most other hybrids suffer from it too.

Wind rush and tire thrum are noticeable at highway speeds, but far from intrusive. Both conventional engines are impressively hushed at cruise, but the 4-cylinder gets a bit noisy in full-bore acceleration. The Hybrid’s electric drive emits faint whirrs and whines during braking and low-speed driving.

The dashboard is both stylish and user-friendly, with large, legible gauges and simple, easily reached controls. We especially like the good old-fashioned knobs used for major climate and audio settings. Unfortunately, the audio/navigation touchscreen is not shrouded or inset, so it can be difficult to read in bright light. Reaching the engine-start pushbutton, on models with that option, requires an awkward wrist-twist around the steering wheel.

The Hybrid shares a clean, user-friendly dashboard design with other Camrys, but replaces their tachometer with a “power” gauge that shows when the hybrid system is consuming electric power, recharging the battery, or just being driven ECO-nomically. As with most Toyota hybrids, drivers can monitor hybrid operation and fuel-economy data from the main dashboard screen, a small display in the gauge cluster, or both.

Run-of-the-mill hard plastics are mostly confined to the lower areas of dashboard and console. Interior decor is otherwise class-competitive–and visibly more upscale than that of previous Camrys, with plenty of soft-touch surfaces and attractive faux metal or wood accents. Unique trim gives SEs a slightly sportier vibe that’s in tune with their mission. XLE cabins have appropriately upscale touches, though the leather upholstery doesn’t look or feel very rich.

Six-footers find at least adequate headroom and ample legroom on well-shaped, comfortably padded front seats. SE’s sport seats have slightly larger side bolsters that hug the body, yet don’t feel confining. A tilt/telescopic steering wheel and multiple seat adjustments with ample range allow most any driver to get comfortably situated. Styling slightly impedes visibility aft and to the rear corners, but sight lines are clear elsewhere.

In back, legroom and knee space depend on front-seat position, but are sufficient even for 6-footers riding in tandem. Headroom is less generous, but OK for most passengers. The rear bench seat is just wide enough for three-abreast comfort, though the cushion is a bit short for best long-haul leg support. Entry/exit is easy despite slightly narrow door thresholds.

In conventional Camrys, the trunk is usefully shaped and roomy–Toyota claims 15.4 cubic feet–but sickle-shaped trunklid hinges complicate packing. So does a trunk opening that won’t swallow bulky hard-sided items. The 60/40 split-folding rear seat backs don’t lay fully flat, but have a sturdy, ribbed-plastic backing for dirty cargo. Cabin storage is ample, with a decent-size glovebox, a large open bin ahead of the shifter, a useful center console box, and spacious door pockets with bottleholders.

The Hybrid’s trunk has 13.1 cubic feet and a right-side pass-through that’s little larger than a loaf of bread. Both stem from the battery pack’s over-axle location, though other “hybridized” sedans have similar problems. At least the available space is usefully shaped.

Ratings

Model Tested: Toyota Camry LE 4-cylinder

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 8
80%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 7
70%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 64

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
109.3 189.2 71.7 57.9 3190
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
15.4 17.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.8 38.1 41.6 38.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2012 Toyota Camry 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: Noise from the ABS actuator pump can be heard, and brake, ABS, or traction control warning lamps may be illuminated because of a poor electrical ground on left side of car after a collision repair.
Seat
Description: Certain 2012 and 2013 Toyota Camry and Camry Hybrid models have sensors for the operation of the vehicles supplemental restraint system (SRS) which may incorrectly interpret certain seat usages or road conditions as a rear collision and disable the passenger’s side front air bag. (2012-13)
Electrical problem
Description: Passenger side headlight and rear window defogger may operate continuously because of a bad gound caused by an incorrectly installed or loose bracket on the engine compartment junction block assembly. (2012)
Electrical problem
Description: A faulty alternator pulley could result in insufficient charging. (2012)
Transmission problems
Description: Some drivers may notice an intermittent shudder when the transmission’s torque convertor locks up when driving at speeds between approximately 25 and 50 mph. Toyota developed a software revision to help prevent this condition. (2012-14)

Recall History

2012 Camry
Description: Certain 2012 model Camry and Camry Hybrid vehicles that had accessories including leather seat covers, seat heaters, or headrest-mounted DVD systems installed by Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC (SET) may not have a properly calibrated occupant sensing system in the passenger-side front seat. This makes it possible that the passenger’s side air bag will not deploy at all or deploy with inappropriate force for the size of the passenger in the seat.
2012-13 Camry
Description: The air conditioning condenser’s drain hose may become clogged allowing water to collect in the unit’s housing. The collected water may leak and get the air bag control module wet which may lead to a short circuit. This can result in inoperative airbags or inadvertent air bag deployment.
2013-14 Camry
Description: A short in the windshield wiper switch may cause inoperative windshield wipers.
2014 Camry
Description: On certain 2014 Toyota Camry vehicles equipped with 16- or 17-inch wheels, the lower suspension arm on the left side of the vehicle may have been incorrectly manufactured. The lower arm may not have sufficient surface area to hold one of the bolts that secures the suspension arm to the lower ball joint.
2014 Camry
Description: Fuel may leak from one of the fuel delivery pipes, possibly causing a fire in the engine compartment.
2015 Camry
Description: A faulty electronic control unit may result in the failure of the electric power steering system.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.