• Sign in
  • |
  • Sign up

Car Review

2012 Toyota Camry SE V6: Real World Test

RELATED READING
See all Toyota Camry articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Infiniti cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION
2011 Toyota Camry

author photo by Brian Moody March 2012

If you're a combat veteran, smokejumper or ER Nurse, then I can understand why a car like the 2012 Toyota Camry SE V6 might seem boring. For everyone else, this car provides more than enough thrills to effectively remove its "Boring" label permanently.

But without some facts to back that up, that's just our opinion. Here's one fact that might change your mind about the new Camry. The 2012 Toyota Camry SE V6 can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6 seconds. For the sake of comparison, the current BMW 535i goes from 0-60 in 5.7 seconds according to BMW. It takes a 2012 Nissan Maxima (the "4-door sports car") about the same amount of time to reach 60 mph, and a Cadillac CTS with the 3.6-liter V6 will do it in 6.1 seconds.

We're not saying the Toyota Camry is somehow comparable to a BMW 5 Series or even a Cadillac CTS, but in terms of off-the line acceleration, 6 seconds puts the Camry in some pretty good company. And the Toyota's power is noticeable as soon as you tap the accelerator. Hold the pedal down and the car has an urgency and swiftness not typically found in Toyotas. The SE V6 specifically feels quick and tight - more like you'd expect from Nissan or Mazda.

Toyota also beefed up the Camry's handling for 2012. Even in LE trim, the car feels lighter on its feet and a little more athletic. The SE has even stiffer suspension than other Camry variants, and comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels. Opt for the V6 like our tester, and you get 18-inch wheels wrapped in 255/45 tires.

Granted, the Toyota Camry SE doesn't feel like an all-out performance sedan, but it is rewarding to drive, even if you drive it hard. The ride is neither overly harsh nor too soft. Like most BMWs, the new Camry SE strikes a remarkable balance between ride comfort and handling prowess. Toss it into a corner and it feels stable and predictable - a lot like the first Mazda6. The Camry's steering doesn't provide enough feedback, but it is light and quick enough that the overall feel is responsive.

Since the SE V6 is not the top of the line model (the XLE is), the interior is about what you'd expect from a mid-grade, volume-selling sedan - nice looking but not luxurious. The stitching on the dash, faux leather and suede seats, touch screen radio with satellite radio, HD Radio, iTunes tagging, a power driver's seat and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters are all included in the SE's price. Including the optional V6, the price is a reasonable $27,400.

Inside, the SE is nice looking, but once you touch some of the knobs and buttons, they clearly feel like plastic. Steering wheel mounted controls for audio and hands-free calling are the exception. These feel nicer and better quality than the other buttons and switches. The SE also gets sportier seats. Although the sport seats lack the initial cushy feeling of the XLE's seats, the SE's seats are ultimately more comfortable over a long haul.

Is the 2012 Toyota Camry SE V6 an all out, performance sedan? No, but it is one of the most comfortable sporty sedans available. Ultimately, the new Camry SE is everything you'd expect from a Toyota - it's reliable, it's affordable and it's overall look and feel reflect the high sales volume compromises any popular and affordable car must make. However, the SE V6 adds an element of fun that other versions of the Toyota Camry just don't have.

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE
Used 2012 Toyota Camry
$18,432
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Toyota Camry SE
Used 2015 Toyota Camry
$20,990
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2007 Toyota Camry
Used 2007 Toyota Camry
$8,993
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2002 Toyota Camry XLE
Used 2002 Toyota Camry
$5,432
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Close 
2012 Toyota Camry SE V6: Real World Test - Autotrader