Today Toyota released most details about its redesigned-for-2012 Camry models, including the highly competent Camry Hybrid.
As the best-selling car in America for nine years straight, the line of mid-size sedans have been so competent, it’s almost a hum-drum story – unless you happen to be one who prizes their near-appliance-like functionality.
As is the case for its siblings, the Hybrid retains the same dimensions as the outgoing Camry, but sheds weight – about 220 pounds in the Hybrid’s case, the most weight reduced of them all.
The Hybrid sees improvements throughout, particularly in its all-important fuel economy ratings. The current model was dethroned as mpg champ by the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, but Toyota incorporated an easy fix first seen on the generation-3 Prius.
Namely, the 2012 Camry Hybrid gets a larger four-cylinder gasoline engine displacing – in the Camry’s case – 2.5 liters boasting superior power, thus allowing it to lope along more often in its optimal operating range.
Paired with Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system, the new Camry Hybrid now promises a best-in-class 43/39-mpg fuel economy rating, with an average of 41-mpg.
This represents a comparatively massive improvement of 12 mpg in the city, beating the Sonata hybrid by 7 mpg.
The Hybrid’s gasoline-electric drivetrain is anything but anemic too, serving up 200 horsepower for respectable acceleration.
As mentioned, while the 2012 Camry models share the same basic dimensions of their predecessors, they are re-engineered throughout, sharing few parts in the chassis and interior.
On the exterior, newly sculpted lines front and back eliminate some of the bulbous humps of the old model adding up to an attractive presence. The grille is redesigned wider presenting a purposeful new face for the car.
Inside, materials and design have all been tweaked too, with most Camry models – except the entry level and LE Hybrid – getting a new display audio system in the center of the dash.
For models so equipped, the 6.1-inch display audio screen is uncluttered without too many buttons surrounding it, yet is functional while drawing the eye to it for a high-tech and useful touch.
Hybrid buyers may wish to upgrade to include it, as it can be mated with satellite radio with helpful features including XM Fuel Prices to route the driver to the lowest price gasoline.
Safety-wise, in addition to ABS brakes with over-ride system, traction control and stability control, the Camry now comes with 10 airbags, has seats designed to (further) minimize whiplash, and makes available an optional blind spot monitoring system, back-up camera, and more.
In all, Toyota has expressed a lot of enthusiasm for the significantly upgraded and fuel efficient Camry Hybrid. Given new auto sales have been driven by economical models, the company said it expects sales for the Hybrid to nearly double from 28,000 units to around 50,000.
According to the New York Times, the base 2012 LE starts at $22,500, the SE at $23,000, the XLE at $24,725, the Hybrid LE at $25,900, and the Hybrid XLE at $27,400. Destination charges are extra.
Reviewers and customers have come to expect the car to simply perform, and while not as viscerally alluring as some other models, the upgrades give it good prospects to continue on as a top seller for the tenth year in a row.