Toyota Camry Named
International Sedan of the Year
- Most Dependable -
by Road & Travel Magazine
2012 Toyota Camry Road Test Review
by Martha Hindes
Solid and safe. Smooth and dependable. For years, Toyota's Camry has stroked those family sedan needs with loyal, uncompromising predictability. So what's changed? For starters, like the few-days-old year of 2012, a 2012 Toyota Camry has been born as a new, seventh generation model. And like some previously highly-acclaimed versions, it again has won the hearts and minds of reviewers. For 2012, it won top honors as the 2012 International Sedan of the Year (ICOTY) for Most Dependable. Not bad for a re-born, right?
The 2012 Toyota Camry is indeed most dependable. And we love the safety and reliability it exudes, which is the reason it won in its category. According to ICOTY founder Courtney Caldwell (also publisher of Road & Travel Magazine), winning the honor of most dependable vehicle of the year is one of the most important as it lets consumers know in a word that this is a vehicle they can trust and rely upon to get their loved ones to their destinations safety. After all, the purpose of the ICOTY awards is to honor the qualities of new vehicles that best reflect our emotional needs at a specific time in our lives and lifestyles.
Caldwell knows how such an emotional connection can win an unmatched sense of loyalty from consumers that few products can claim. "The ICOTY
Awards are not about power and performance,
but rather about personality, passion and personal lifestyle," said Caldwell.
Bridgestone, longtime lead sponsor and supporter of the ICOTY Awards, recognizes the consumer-product relationship as critical to vehicle success. “Bridgestone is proud to support the ICOTY awards, and applauds the efforts of Toyota that like our company demonstrates a strong commitment to innovative technology,” said Michael Martini, president, Consumer OE, Bridgestone Americas. “Through the combined efforts of everyone in the auto industry, and led by automakers like those being recognized in the 2012 International Car of the Year Awards, we will continue to meet and exceed the demands of the motoring public.”
Actually, we don't find it surprising at Road & Travel Magazine that the Camry could cling so tenaciously to the winner's platform, considering the onslaught of competitors from near and far nipping at its rear fascia. (Names like Ford, Chevy, Honda, Hyundai and Nissan would love to do the honors.) We've been following, and been writing about, this staple for years, noting the fine-tuning touches and major overhauls along the way that have defined its progress and conditioned us into expecting more. And for those years, Camry has owned top spot among American buyers and that loyalty has extended beyond last year's untenable earthquake disaster in Japan and a few glitches that could have smudged the polish.
|2012 Toyota Camry named International Sedan of the Year - Most Dependable by Road & Travel Magazine. Accepting the award on behalf of Toyota is (l) Jim Colon, VP Product Communications. Courtney Caldwell, Editor, Road & Travel Magazine and ICOTY founder; and Mike Martini, president Bridgestone America OE (r) and ICOTY sponsor, presented the trophy to Jim. (Photo by Jeff Kowalsky Photgraphy)
Instead, the 2012 Toyota Camry is back a little bolder, roomier inside thanks to a redesigned interior, tonier thanks to upgraded trim, and a heck of a lot more fuel efficient than before. And while making such a transition has to be a little nerve wracking for company designers (remember the adage: “if it ain't broke, don't fix it?"), leaving it untouched wouldn't have been an option. So if a new, award winning, five-seater 2012 Camry sedan will be headed for your garage, here are some things we think you will like... How about some interior trim refreshes, including instrument panel, that complement it with a luxury feel, including cool brushed aluminum trim. Gauges and dials are repositioned for functional ease. New seating improves the comfort aspect and new materials move it from average to more upmarket. So does the enhanced hush factor, with this the quietest ever Camry inside. Outside there are chrome touches on the upmarket XLE version, along with larger, 17-inch wheels and heated side view mirrors.
If add-ons are in your budget, consider the blind spot warning to prevent you from drifting into the next lane, navi system (the newest necessity), and Entune multimedia system (newest techno crowd or pre-teen necessity).
While the 2012 Camry has added refinements, some things have gone away, the manual transmission that never was an attention grabber being one of them. Getting attention, instead, this year is the powerplant with improved fuel economy and horsepower over last year for the 2.5-liter, four. It ekes out three more city miles per gallon (25) and highway (35) than in 2011, with 178 horsepower better by nine. The 3.5-liter, 268-HP V-6 gains a mile each at 21/30, which Toyota claims is a segment best... (A 200 horsepower hybrid version gets 41 combined miles per gallon. (Road & Travel Magazine's Green Car Buyer's Guide, September, 2011)
Expect to pay about the same as last year, averaging in the low to mid $20K range, but with fewer trim packages to choose from. But for better fuel economy, spunkier handling and a more pampering interior, we think the trade off is a no brainer. Unless one misses stopping as often for fill-ups.
Road & Travel Magazine
2012 Toyota Camry - International Sedan of the Year
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