Toyota unveiled its all-new Camry, the mid-size sedan that has been the auto company's bread and butter for decades.
The Camry has been America's best-selling car for 13 of the past 14 years. If ever there were a sedan that could be called the world's car, it's the Camry. Since its introduction in 1983, Toyota has sold 15 million of Camrys. It's as popular as a taxi fleet vehicle in the Middle East and North Africa as it is with families throughout the Americas and even car-snobbish Europe.
The mid-size sedan segment has always been one of the most competitive for automakers in the North American market. Toyota has kept a tight grip on that lead with the Camry by offering the sedan with two engines - a V6 and a four-cylinder. The 2012 model year Camry that goes on sale Wednesday, the seventh generation of the nameplate, also comes with an optional gas-electric hybrid engine that belts out 200 horsepower and gets 43 miles per gallon in city driving.
The all-new 2012 Camry blends an evolution of the car's values - such as comfort, efficiency, reliability and safety - with a more appealing design and engaging driving experience, Toyota Division's group vice president and general manager, Bob Carter, said. Competition in the midsize sedan segment is the strongest it's ever been, and the all-new Camry is designed to maintain its long-standing leadership while also broadening its appeal.
Although consumers have long been attracted to the fact that Camry consistently scores high in quality ratings, Toyota is sprucing up the car's exterior with more sculptured headlamps and additional chrome accents on its LE and XLE models. The car now comes with rear seat-side airbags and 60-40 split rear seats for extra cargo capacity form the trunk.
Toyota said Camry models will be the first to feature the company's latest electric power steering control system, which will offer more flexibility to steering-feel tuning. The system regulates power-assist response based on vehicle speed, and for the first time steering-input rate. The vehicle-speed sensing feature will provide light effort during low speeds, changing to moderate effort during higher speeds. The SE grade will features power-assist ratio that provides a more sporty feeling than the LE and XLE, according to Toyota.
Electricity is only consumed when assist power is necessary, helping to improve fuel economy. Electric power steering is also more environment-friendly, as it doesn't require hydraulic fluid, Toyota said.
The Camry comes with a Bluetooth wireless connection and a USB port that allows playing music and videos from portable devices. The standard audio system on LE, XLE and SE has a 6.1-inch screen and six speakers. The screen also displays the energy monitor and fuel consumption data, and functions as the monitor for the available integrated back-up camera (SE and XLE only) and the Display Audio System.
The screen also offers a new value-driven navigation system and serves as a portal for Entune, Toyota's new multimedia system. An available HD Radio system enables CD sound quality from digital FM broadcasts, and has features that maximize analog and AM broadcast sound quality. The system will include HD Radio with iTunes tagging for future purchase and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
The top-of-the-line audio is equipped with a new seven-inch Premium HDD Navigation system with Entune and JBL. This system offers a new split-screen feature that allows for simultaneously displaying navigation and audio information.
Camry also offers the new JBL GreenEdge audio system that combines an eight-channel amplifier and door-mounted acoustic lens speakers, to provide a high-quality sound. The GreenEdge amplifier achieves a 66 percent reduction in overall mass and a 50 percent enhancement in sound efficiency. The GreenEdge speakers produce a higher output of sound with the same power or less consumption of conventional models.
Toyota said new sound absorbing materials silence any noise that manages to penetrate the interior. In particular, engineers focused on suppressing noises that are near the frequencies of human speech to provide an environment that's more comfortable for conversation. Measures that focus on reducing wind noise include stronger door and rocker area seals; optimized placement of sound insulating materials; foam applied in the roof, pillars and door openings; acoustic glass used for the V6 and Hybrid model's windshield; and special bracing of cowl intake louvers.