Toyota unveils new Camry


Toyota pulled the wraps of the newest version of the Camry this week in a multi-city event as big as the sales expectations on its best seller.

The Camry has been Toyota’s bread and butter model for more than a decade. As North America’s best selling car for 13 of the past 14 years, the redesigned Camry offers a more spacious interior, better fuel economy, improved safety and more.

“The all-new 2012 Camry builds on Toyota’s leadership in quality, safety and sustainability, offering drivers a more attractive design and more innovative driving experience,“ said Warren Orton, director at Toyota Canada Inc. “Canadian customers have valued the Toyota Camry for nearly three decades making it the leader in the intermediate segment.”

Toyota says it is offering five different model grades to choose from: the value-driven LE, premium XLE and sporty SE grades. The XLE and SE are available with four-cylinder or V6 engines.  The Camry Hybrid is offered in LE and XLE grades.

Though no word on Canadian pricing, Toyota Group vice president Bob Carter said at an event held in the U.S. that in spite of new features and refinements added, prices will be anywhere from $200 to $2,000 lower than the outgoing model.

News reports say the Camry again offers three powertrain choices. All Camry models with the revised 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine now offer 178 horsepower, an increase of nine hp, and 170 lb.-ft. of peak torque.

Fuel efficiency numbers are 8.2L/100 km city, 5.6L/100 km highway, and 7L/100 km combined. The 2.5-litre engine employs Dual VVT-i (Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent), which controls valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts for optimal performance and efficiency at all engine speeds. The Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS) helps optimize torque over a broad engine speed range.

The Camry now comes equipped with 10 standard airbags: dual-stage advanced SRS front airbags, front and rear seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver’s and front passenger’s knee airbag. The front-passenger’s knee airbag and rear-seat side airbags are new to Camry.  

Like all Toyota models, the Camry will feature Toyota’s Star Safety System standard, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA).  It also features the standard Smart Stop Technology brake-override system.  An electronic tire pressure monitoring system is standard equipment.

Debuting along with the new model is a new hybrid system, or at least a highly revised version of the brand’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, including a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

New for the 2012 Camry Hybrid, an EV Drive mode allows the driver to operate the car on the electric motor alone for up to 2.5 kilometres at lower speeds (below approximately 40 km/h). The EV indicator illuminates when the vehicle is being propelled solely by the electric motor.

As on the previous Camry Hybrid, ECO mode optimizes throttle response and air conditioning output to prioritize maximum fuel efficiency. A Hybrid-exclusive instrument cluster with Hybrid System Indicator and fuel consumption indicator helps the driver to operate the car as economically as possible.

Instantaneous fuel consumption is shown with LEDs (light emitting diodes) around the outside of the average fuel consumption gauge. The car’s Multi-Information display graphically shows fuel consumption in real time and can also show energy flow, and cruising range information. 

As before, applying the brake converts the motor to a generator that captures the kinetic energy from the still-spinning vehicle wheels, storing it in the hybrid battery pack. Putting the shifter into “B” uses regenerative braking as a form of engine braking for enhanced control on steep descents. New hill-start assist control helps prevent the vehicle from rolling backward when starting off on an incline when the brake pedal is released.

Look for the model to hit dealerships in the coming months.