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2012 Toyota Camry SE Test Drive Review
Pictures, a video clip and a consumer's review of the 2012 Toyota Camry SE sedan from a dealership test drive.

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2012 Toyota Camry SE
Standard 17" Alloy Wheels
2012 Camry Front 3/4 View
We recently received a post card in the mail from the local Toyota dealership offering us a $40 Visa gift card for taking a test drive of the new 2012 Toyota Camry sedan.

I requested a test drive of the sportier SE model in "Classic Silver" paint. It came equipped with 17" alloy wheels, fog lamps, underbody spoilers, side rocker panels, a small lip spoiler, a back up camera, and chrome exhaust tips.

This 2012 Toyota Camry SE features the revised 2.5L I4 engine with 178 HP, 170 torque, 25 MPG city and 35 MPG highway fuel economy. A 3.5L V6 with 268 HP, 248 lb ft of torque and 30 MPG highway fuel economy is also available.

We drove around the '12 Camry for about 15 minutes on suburban streets at 45-50 MPH, on the highway at 75-80 MPH and around the dealership parking lot.

2012 Camry Front Nose
Mirror Aerodynamic Fin
Front Passenger Seat
During the test drive, I kept on comparing this 2012 Camry to the 2010 Camry SE (2.5L I4) I had recently rented and also my friend's 2011 Kia Optima SX (2.0L 274 HP).

The two tone leather accented interior of the '12 Camry is more attractive than the '10 Camry but about equal to the luxurious feel of the '11 Optima SX. It was a warm day, so I was definitely wishing that the '12 Camry had those awesome air cooled seats like in the '11 Optima SX.

One major difference, in my opinion, between the 2007-2011 Toyota Camry interior and the new 2012 is the much more comfortable flat arm rest. I found the silver door pull / handle in the '10 Camry to be bothersome when I tried to lay my left arm across the arm rest. The '11 Optima also has an equally comfortable flat arm rest with soft padding.

Radio & Steering Wheel
Two Tone Rear Seats
Rear 3/4 View
Around town, on the highway and in the parking lot, the 2012 Camry drove as expected with very little road noise, excellent stability in the turns or over bumps and a refined feel to the power delivery of the 2.5L engine and six speed automatic transmission.

I did miss the extra power of the 2.0L turbocharged engine in my friend's 2011 Kia Optima while driving the '12 Camry which only has 178 HP with about the same fuel economy. Although the Camry's 2.5L naturally aspirated I4 still felt more than powerful enough for 99.9% of everyday driving with strong acceleration for charging up highway onramps.

Rear Bumper View
Underbody Spoiler
Aerodynamic Underbody
Overall, I really enjoyed driving the 2012 Toyota Camry SE and would definitely choose it over a 2007-2011 model due to the more comfortable interior and attractive angular exterior.

Choosing between the '12 Camry SE or a 2012 Optima SX is a much more difficult decision since the Kia has ventilated front seats that greatly increase occupant comfort on brutally hot days in South Florida.

Even with Kia's 10 year or 100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty, I suspect that many car buyers will opt for the proven reliability of a Toyota vehicle over the relatively unproven crop of "new" Kia vehicles.

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Driver Seat
Navigation Applications
During the test drive, I captured a few short clips and later edited them into a brief video. To view the video, click on the blue link below. To download the video to your hard drive, right click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or "Save Link As".

2012 Toyota Camry SE Test Drive Video

GPS Navigation Screen
Gear Shifter & Drink Holders
Rear View Backup Camera
The Navigation System's Apps (Applications) included "Map", the Bing Search Engine, "Weather", the Pandora music, service, "Sports" and "Stocks".

MP3 CD Player
Six Speed Automatic
Vanity Mirror & Light
Some of the other standard features of the 2012 Toyota Camry SE include dual zone automatic HVAC climate control, a 6.1" touch screen, a multi function smart key fob, leather wrapped steering wheel, leather lined dashboard, USB power plug, AUX input jack, two 12V power outlets, vehicle stability control (VSC), 4 wheel anti-lock brakes, a tire pressure monitoring system, and an engine immobilizer to prevents theft.
Engine Start/Stop Button
Smart Key
USB / Aux Input / 12V
Another feature of the 2012 Camry SE that I'm really looking forward to having in my next car is the "Smart Key Fob" that you never have to take out of your pocket. As you walk up to the vehicle, the proximity sensor detects the smart key and allows you to open the driver's door. Then you just put your foot on the brake pedal, and press the engine "Start/Stop" button.
2.5 Liter I4 VVT-i Engine
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Power Window Switches
Driver Power Seat Controls
Rear Back Up Camera
Trunk & Pass-Through
Tail Light Assembly
The 2012 Toyota Camry SE may only cost about $500 more than the LE model but it does have one disadvantage compared to the cheaper model. There is only a small "pass-through" in the trunk of the SE instead of the large opening in the LE's trunk when the seats are folded down.
Tail Light Aero Fin
25/35 MPG
$1,981 Annual Fuel Cost
10 Standard Airbags
Assembled In Kentucky
0W-20 Synthetic Motor Oil
Free ToyotaCare 25K 2 Years
XLE Blind Spot Monitor
For more, check out the home page of Paul's Travel Pictures or visit my 2007-2011 Toyota Camry Repair Guides page.

If you have a newer model, check out my 2012-2016 Toyota Camry DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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