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Old 24th August 2012, 14:29   #1
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Default Review: 7th-gen Toyota Camry (2012)

The Toyota Camry has been launched in India at a price of Rs. 23.80 Lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you’ll like:

• Spacious premium sedan with excellent refinement levels
Lexus-esque exterior styling. Great road presence
• Competent 179 BHP petrol engine & 6-speed AT gearbox
• Neutral ride and handling balance. Much improved over earlier Camry generations
• Toyota’s bullet-proof reliability and superb after-sales service

What you won’t:

• Priced higher than all other competitors
• No diesel engine in the lineup
• Basic safety kit by segment standards. Only 2 airbags. No ESP or Traction Control
• Still not as dynamically accomplished as the European sedans
• Lacks some D2 segment gizmos (rear audio controls, sunroof, paddle shifters etc.)

The Camry Hybrid:

Review Link

Last edited by GTO : 28th August 2013 at 16:37. Reason: Adding link to Hybrid Review
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Old 24th August 2012, 14:30   #2
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Default Toyota Camry : Official Review

The executive sedan segment is a fast growing one in India. A glut of launches in recent years has made the customer spoilt for choice. Right from Skodas to BMWs, every carmaker is out there with a model or two. The Japanese, of course, are also eager to grab a bite of this segment, with their reliability and consistent product quality pitted against the Europeans’ neat feature list and brand oomph. The Camry sits on top of Toyota’s sedan product chain in India (Lexus being a different brand by itself), but it has always been positioned in the middle of the wide price range that this segment carries, starting with Skoda and tapering off towards the 3 Series and C-Class.

It is interesting to note that the Camry started off as a Toyota Celica Camry way back in 1980. Only in 1982 did the Camry get its own badge. As of December 2010, Toyota had sold 14 million units of the Camry worldwide, making it the second bestselling Toyota after the Corolla. The Americans & Australians love it and that’s reflected in the fact that it has been a best-seller in these countries for over a decade. Known as a car that never dies, over 90% of Camrys sold in the US since ‘94 were still in use in 2010. In India though, none of this has really worked for Toyota. The two earlier Camry generations saw their sales trickle down to single digits. In fact, Toyota had stopped importing the previous gen Camry for a while now. Their rational being that, with the new model around the corner, having a huge dead stock is a risk not worth taking.

This is the 9th generation Camry. For India, it's the 3rd generation of Camry on sale and the Asia-spec version or, more specifically, the Thai version. While the previous two generations were CBUs (Completely Built Units) attracting high import taxes, this time around, it’s going to be assembled in India in the same plant as the Innova and Fortuner. The Karnataka facility will be the 11th plant worldwide to assemble the Camry. Localization has been kept to the bare minimum to start with in order to adhere to the norms; only the suspension and axles are being sourced locally. The good thing for customers is that the pricing could be lower than the previous gen CBUs. As overpriced CBUs, the Camry never got the attention it needed from the target market, while the lack of a diesel mill and single digit fuel efficiency dissuaded many high mileage customers. The majority of the previous gen cars thus landed at 5 and 7 star hotels, thanks to the import discounts they derive from automotive purchases (search Team-BHP for info on EPCG schemes).

So, what USPs is Toyota banking on, apart from its bulletproof reliability and quality? No, there are no plans to launch a diesel version anytime soon. According to Toyota, its target audience is the mid to senior-level executives who would prefer refinement and reliability to brand factor. According to their market research, the diesel engine really does not matter to this audience. In essence, this car is all about what is required, but if you aspire for more, look elsewhere.

Review: 7th-gen Toyota Camry (2012)-toyota-camry-specifications-comparo.png

Let’s start with the exteriors; the designers have worked overtime to get the design right on this one. Gone are the days of the “plasticy” front end and overgrown side profiles. The front end has a very Lexus-ish aura to it. The bigger chrome grill and headlamps, along with the raised front hood lines, give the car a very premium look. Even the hood has a nicely crafted crease running around, lending the car a wider overall stance from the front, without being overbearing. The bumper has a neat spoiler lip. However, the sticky point at the front would be the lack of LED lighting or even daytime running lights which are fast becoming a segment norm. All you get is a projector setup with wash facility for the self-levelling headlights. The quality of chrome on the grill and lower mesh area plastics (of the bumper) are top notch.

I particularly like the subtly flared wheel arches with the flat fender edges. The chrome strip that runs along the running board breaks the monotony of the side and gives the car an upmarket feel. The first Camry sold in India also had a similar chrome accent on the side strips, but this is the one that really works. The ten-spoke alloys are quite attractive with the spokes having a wider landing at the rim. This, along with the 215/60 R16 tyres, does a decent job of covering up the wells. As usual, an enthusiast like me would have preferred wheels that are a size larger.

Another nice design cue is the curved door edge dividing the front half from the rear. From the absolute rear, the car looks tight as all the width from the front seems to have transposed to height. The rear gets a spoiler lip at the bumper edges and LED lights. Just like every other “Indianisation” effort, chrome has been applied generously on the car.

The paint quality, fit and finish are top notch and consistent, just as we have come to expect from Toyota.

Lexus-esque face. Chrome trim under the headlights and tail lights is part of the accessory list:

Notice the window sill's height on the rear door. Will offer owners that much more privacy:

Automatic HID lamps in action. Double barrel design with integrated turn indicators. Running lights are standard halogens:

Headlamp washer system:

Classy LED lights. Chrome at the bottom is (thankfully) not standard:

Optional rear view camera is neatly tucked away underneath the number plate trim:

10 spoke 16" alloy wheels with 215/60 Yokohamas:

I love the placement of this chrome strip, gives a classy touch to the side profile:

The curved door edges are another subtle yet beautiful design cue:

Under-body fins are aerodynamic aids:

Fuel tank also gets a cover with channels to route the airflow:

Amazing road presence:

Last edited by Jaggu : 27th August 2012 at 16:09. Reason: Minor correction, 11th plant
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Old 24th August 2012, 14:32   #3
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Default Toyota Camry : Official Review

The exterior design theme continues to the interiors as well. It’s all about simple functionality on the inside, which is now noticeably more spacious. The packaging is smart. For starters, the roofline has been crafted so as to liberate more headroom at the front. The A and B pillars have shed flab, improving visibility as well as carving out precious square inches for occupants. The tallest of drivers will feel comfortable with the abundant head room, while shoulder room is equally generous. The doors open wide enough for easy ingress, and seating is not so low that one has to struggle to get in, especially in tight parking spaces. The beige theme syncs well with the black soft touch upper half for the dash (leather) and the door pads (faux). Environmentalists may not like the use of wood veneer, though the finish is rather good and doesn’t feel artificial at all. The front has more glass area than the rear. Still, rear passengers wouldn’t feel claustrophobic. The seats are a mix of real and artificial leather with a supple feel, and the right amount of firmness where it matters. It is the typically conservative beige leather that would wear well with age. I wouldn’t term the leather luxurious as in the European cars, but would rather call it practical.

The driving position is quite comfortable. With the 8-way electrically adjustable seats and the manually adjustable steering wheel (rake & reach), it’s easy to find your comfort zone. The sliding center armrest is a boon for those long journeys. The only gripe is the lack of under thigh support, which you will definitely feel if you are over 6 feet tall. All controls fall nicely into your hands, the stalks are placed conventionally and the steering gets a set of buttons for the entertainment system, MID, phone and cruise control. The horn button works well, though the two puny sources up front need better volume. The “optitron” meters are easy on the eyes and legible in harsh sunlight, with a blue hue to the lighting (blue not to my personal liking). The fuel gauge area is taken over by the Eco meter that is basically an inline display of fuel efficiency. The fuel gauge has been moved to a corner with a small graphical display.

The pedals are of the right size and spaced out properly. The dead pedal is a great tool for long journeys. One oddity is the placement of the parking brake which is foot operated ( la Mercedes). Unfortunately, the parking brake sits too close to the dead pedal, especially when activated. If your foot is on the dead pedal, you might mess up that expensive leather shoe in the limited gap.

All-round visibility is good from the driver’s seat. Rearward view is manageable, even with a slightly raised rear hood. The internal rear view mirror comes with an “auto” night mode but in our test car, it was throwing some reflection and blurring my view. The external mirrors and their concave edges do a decent job at keeping the blind spot area to a minimum. I would have preferred them to be a size larger though.

The front dash console has a slot to accommodate the cell phone and some knickknacks. The sunglasses get a box on the roof next to the rear view mirror. There is a tiny spot in between the second power point and USB slot (next to the gear selector) to keep your change. The sliding center armrest opens up to a deep storage bin, which would have been more useful with a smaller compartment on the top too. Apart from that, there aren’t too many storage areas.

The touch screen DVD head-unit doubles up as a vehicle information display (basically fuel average, trip history etc.). It supports CD, MP3, USB, AUX in and Bluetooth. Its screen is used by the optional reverse camera as well. The ICE has a basic 5-band EQ. Sound quality is good for low to mid-range volumes. At high volume, the speakers start jarring.

There are two sets of MIDs. One inside the meter console with the odometer, 2 trip meters, distance to empty count, average speed for the trip, time elapsed and ECO mode level (which is basically the fuel efficiency for the current trip). The second MID is placed on the touchscreen audio display that again shows the average speed, elapsed time, cruising time and a bar graph display of the FE figures vs the trip duration. You can also see the historical fuel efficiency data of past trips and the best efficiency recorded so far (till the data is reset by the user).

It’s a mixed bag at the rear where most prospective customers will spend their time. Seat support and angle are good. An average Indian would have no complains on long journeys, but the taller amongst us will find under-thigh support to be inadequate. Visibility again is great and the overall ambience is bright, but not over intrusive due to the tall waistline of the rear doors. The center armrest folds down to give access to the boot and a set of cup holders. The nearly flat floor pan, 4-way control switch on the front passenger seat, contoured upholstery and the wide rear bench contribute to a highly comfortable ambience. Rear A/C vents with air volume control keep you cool. The ambient lighting system should give a soothing effect at night.

On the other hand, there are some things that are not right here. A typical customer from this segment would aspire for more features. Missing goodies like a rear sun blind and controls for the audio system are sure to disappoint many, especially since the competitors offer all these and more. In short, you are at the mercy of the chauffeur and, if he is in a bad mood, God help you! These minor details shouldn’t have been compromised in a 20+ lakh car. Indians are value conscious; this is where I feel Toyota misread the market. Banking on quality and refinement alone is not the right marketing funda, is it?

Leather and wood combination works well. Cross button MID & Phone controls are unique:

Optitron meter console. The AT transmission lets the engine peak at about 6,100 rpm in a pedal-to-the-metal driving style:

Nifty heads up display is optional. Toyota should make this part of the standard equipment list:

Leather and wood gear lever. Cup holder to the left and ashtray + lighter up ahead:

Engine Start / Stop button. You can also see the headlamp washer button, and one to disable the parking sensor buzzer:

Comfortable front seats offer plenty of adjustment options. The relatively higher seat position makes it easy to slip in:

Driver's seat has 8-way electric adjustment, plus lumbar support:

Spacious foot-well. Notice the parking brake pedal protruding into the dead pedal area:

Passenger seat gets 8-way electric adjustment (no lumbar option):

The boss on the back seat can easily change the position of the front passenger seat:

Illuminated & lockable glove box is large in size. iPhone placed to indicate relative size. No soft touch lining inside:

The A-pillars are covered with the same fabric as the roof. Nice touch:

Power outlet and USB / AUX inputs for the ICE are located in front of the center armrest. Small area to hold coins. Nope, a regular smartphone won't fit:

Touchscreen MID (on the ICE head unit) displaying trip statistics. Strictly for the FE addicts amongst us:

Electric ORVM with a wide view at the edge. Still, they should have been a size larger:

Rear doors open real wide. The quality of rubber beading is top notch:

Comfortable rear bench offers great space. Can fit 3 without issue. Lumbar support has scope for improvement:

Even with the front seat all the way back, there is enough knee room:

Head room is a non-issue:

Rear A/C vents:

Rear A/C console is contoured to allow the 3rd passenger to sit comfortably. Notice the lumbar is also shorter for the middle passenger. Flat floor pan results in good foot room:

The rear armrest houses two cup holders:

Rear door pads can accommodate 2 bottles each. Door pads should have been more upmarket for a 20+ lakh car:

Ambient light placed under the front seat:

A practical feature, if you ask me. This is a clip that holds the spare wheel cover in place:

Abundant boot space! Luggage nets are optional:

Last edited by Jaggu : 27th August 2012 at 16:08. Reason: Minor correction to seat adjust description
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Old 24th August 2012, 14:33   #4
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Default Toyota Camry : Official Review

2.5L dual VVTI petrol engine:

179 BHP @ 6,000 rpm and 233 Nm max torque @ 4,100 rpm:

A real surprise awaits you as a driver, especially for those of us used to the boring Toyotas in India. The engine-gearbox combination is just right and will appeal to the enthusiastic driver in you. It’s not an outright hooligan, but more like a seasoned player who knows his game.

To start with, the engine has been upgraded to a 2.5 L dual VVTI engine (the older car had a 2.4 L unit). The first thing you notice about this 4 cylinder engine is its refinement level. The engine is super silent and unless you glance at the rpm gauge, you will not realize that it's ticking. From the outside, a mild burble at the exhaust is all you get. The mountings and engine bay insulation do a good job at isolating the mayhem up ahead of the cabin. The suspension was silent with just muted thuds filtering in. At higher speeds though, wind noise did creep through. This is the only spoiler in the otherwise silent environment.

Max torque comes in slightly higher (233 Nm @ 4,100 rpm), albeit you won’t realize this due to the seamless power delivery from the motor. The 2.5L engine churns out 179 BHP @ 6,000 rpm. Be it from stand still or a sudden burst, the engine responds like an electric motor. The 6-speed AT kicks down reasonably quick and then holds the revs till about 6,100 rpm. This is the sweet spot when you go aggressive with the right foot. The engine note is just a mature growl which will bring a smile to your face at high rpms. Unfortunately, there is no sports mode on the gearbox. Only a manual sequential shift gate is available, along with a gear indicator on the center console MID. Don’t bother, this mode is quite pointless as there is not much of a performance difference. A paddle shift would have been a worthy addition for fun times. Interesting to note that there are no forms of traction control or ESP, showing signs of cost-cutting by Toyota.

Overall drivability is good, as we found out in the two lane country roads dotted with villages and tractors. A pleasant surprise was the fuel efficiency. Even with the foot hard on the accelerator, the figure dropped to about 5 – 6 kpl. With a gentle foot, it will easily squeeze out 8 – 8.5 kpl. The ARAI-quoted figure of 12.8 kpl seems doable on outstation drives.

After driving so many other Toyota sedans, the ride & handling left me surprised. Gone are the days of ship-like behaviour...this is a big difference with the new gen car. At very low speeds, minor road irregularities are transmitted through the cabin. As soon as you hit the 30 – 40 kph mark, things get better. With just two people inside, overall ride quality was pleasant while comfort levels haven’t been compromised. The fine tuning at the suspension has made the car more fun and engaging to drive. Throw the car around corners and it trails neutral without any fuss. Body roll is well-controlled. With the side bolstering of the front seats, one can be forgiven for feeling a bit overzealous on turns. There is even a decent amount of feedback from the wheels. The EPS is a disappointment to the purist though. While steering feedback is acceptable at higher speeds, I would have preferred the light steering to be tighter and with more weight. At parking speeds, the effort required is minimal and one hand turns are easy to execute. With great all-round visibility, the car is manageable, despite its large size. The turning radius of 5.7 metres is disconcerting for narrow city roads. In the balancing act between handling and comfort, Toyota has got it correct, as not many prospective owners would be driving the car themselves. On the occasional trips that they do, they aren’t going to be complaining.

The braking was excellent at slow & medium speeds with top notch feedback and progression on the pedal. Only in a panic test did the pedal feel a tad hard, though the car dropped speed without trouble and trailed in a straight line. The Camry has 160 mm of ground clearance and didn’t scrape on any of the 9+ road humps we encountered. That said, we were only two onboard. I’ll leave the final verdict of this area to our ownership reports.

Exposed wire going to the AT box will be a source of concern if your parking has rodents around:

Counter weight for the engine mount. So, this is how they achieve the refinement levels!

Intake expansion chamber for those sudden bursts, or is it to control the intake growl?

Last edited by GTO : 24th August 2012 at 17:48. Reason: Small typos
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Old 24th August 2012, 14:34   #5
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Default Toyota Camry : Official Review

Other Points:

• 3 year / 100,000 kms standard warranty. No extended option.

• Friendly Moderator & Audiophile Navin has just booked one in the beige metallic colour. Expect his car to have the best & most professionally installed ICE of any Camry in India!

• The best selling passenger car in America for 13 of the last 14 years. To put things in perspective, Toyota sells more copies of the Camry in the States annually than Maruti does the Alto in India.

• Only 1 variant and trim level available at launch. No manual transmission and no choice in terms of standard equipment and pricing.

• Host of accessories (including heads-up display) to customize the car will be available right from launch. A couple of them are highlighted in the pictures.

• 4 shades of paint : Pearl White, Silver Metallic, Beige Metallic & Black.

• While the interiors were reworked, the body panels are all new.

• Has a simple smart key with keyless start / stop, immobilizer and alarm.

• Other safety features include impact sensing fuel cut-off and speed sensing door lock.

• Only 2 front airbags provided. Even a Swift gives you 2 airbags with ABS & EBD!

• The head-unit has an inbuilt mic and amp, along with speed-sensitive volume control.

• Rear seat offers a bright yet private environment when you want to work on that laptop.

• Rear sun blinds are a must in peak summers, due to that slanting roof line.

• Wiki says "The name Camry is an Anglicized phonetic transcription of the Japanese word kanmuri, meaning "crown".

• Thanks to GTO for helping with the final compilation & Moderator Stratos for processing the pictures.

Disclaimer : Toyota invited Team-BHP for the Camry test-drive. They covered all the expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by GTO : 28th August 2013 at 16:39. Reason: Removing old hybrid comment that's no longer relevant. Car launched here
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Old 24th August 2012, 14:34   #6
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Default Toyota Camry : Official Review

The Smaller & Significant things:

Spare wheel is also a full size alloy:

Easy access to the boot from the rear seat:

Ambient lighting source inside the door handle; there is a reflective strip on top as well as a small aperture below the box that allow the light to disperse. Rear door has an ashtray!

Ambient light source and switch on the roof area (rear):

Exposed wire connector under the front seats. Remove that cap to access the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number):

B-pillar carved out for more space. Height adjustable front seatbelts, as expected from this segment. Similar to the A-pillar, the fabric cover extends here as well:

The ECO drive display. The dial on right will indicate the FE you have achieved with your right foot:

Soft and supple perforated seat leather:

Yes, the rear window winds down completely:

Both driver & front passenger get an illuminated vanity mirror:

The front armrest has a deep storage box below:

Stitched leather dash top, neat premium touch. Top quality plastic vents and wood veneer panel:

Sunglasses holder and the front cabin lights:
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Old 24th August 2012, 14:38   #7
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Default re: Review: 7th-gen Toyota Camry (2012)

I like the fact that the Camry has come of age. It’s now great looking, nearly lexus-like, while the ride & handling are balanced (unlike the boats of yesteryear). These cars easily match an E Class and 5 series for backseat comfort.

On the other hand, they’ve clearly overpriced it by 2 – 3 lakh. I’m honestly shocked that the 2012 Camry CKD costs more than the older Camry CBU (that carried over 100% import duty!).

The Skoda Superb offers so much more at a lesser price. Yes, the Skoda can’t match the reliability or after-sales of Toyota. But if you want reliability, why not consider the ol’ Accord or the snazzy new Sonata that is also significantly cheaper?

Toyota loyalists will bite. I think this car has been launched more to keep Toyota fans within the brand family. Say, those upgrading from an Altis or those who already have a Fortuner in the house. Hoteliers who were attracted to the Camry because of EPCG benefits will stay away though.

Last edited by GTO : 24th August 2012 at 14:46.
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Old 24th August 2012, 14:46   #8
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Default re: Review: 7th-gen Toyota Camry (2012)

2 Airbags !!
Terrible Terrible Pricing.
If this car had been a CBU it would have cost as much as an A4
The Sonata at a few Lakhs lower offers more IMHO.
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Old 24th August 2012, 15:00   #9
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Default re: Review: 7th-gen Toyota Camry (2012)

Another car killed off by terrible pricing strategy.

What was Toyota thinking. In this time of high petrol prices and several competitive offering with far more features, Toyota has made a carnal mistake of bringing in only petrol engine option and pricing it very high for what it's worth.
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Old 24th August 2012, 15:03   #10
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Default re: Review: 7th-gen Toyota Camry (2012)

Plastic like wood veneer, minimal safety features and petrol, if not for the safety features, this might have been mistaken for an Accord facelift. The car isn't going anywhere, Toyota won't be bothered with a waiting list anytime soon.

Toyota needs to get a big size diesel sedan from wherever they can. This lame attempt should have been canned and the Vios should have been launched with a diesel. Its a relief that they haven't placed the instrument console in the centre and they managed to give two wipers all for a bargain 24 lakhs. The Teana still has company.
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Old 24th August 2012, 15:17   #11
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Default re: Review: 7th-gen Toyota Camry (2012)

Why doesnt Toyota offer this with a diesel ? The volumes will increase exponentially.

For an instance plonking the Fortuner's 3.0 D4-D in this , just like Chevy used the Captiva engine in Cruze

Last edited by karan561 : 24th August 2012 at 15:20.
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Old 24th August 2012, 15:20   #12
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Default re: Review: 7th-gen Toyota Camry (2012)

One of the news reports (Business Line) mentions that the earlier car was priced at 21.58 - 23.73 lakhs. That was a CBU. This is a CKD and it is priced at 23.8 lakh. Maybe they are charging for all that chrome!

Cue the american price comparisons

Designwise, its quite dull to look at what with those straight lines and grown up Altis look.

In fact if you compare the 2002, 2006 and this one, the A,B,C pillars including that rear window quarter-glass are almost unchanged. The doors are also quite similar, with a rising waist-line being added in the current one by cleverly changing the shape of the door mirror base.
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Old 24th August 2012, 15:23   #13
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Default re: Review: 7th-gen Toyota Camry (2012)

Now, this car looks like a real luxury car from Toyota.

* Nice exterior design - scores very high in this point in my view but too much of chrome in the front.
* Great interiors - this time, really liked the new interiors. As GTO has said, the car now looks like it has come of age.
* Really Really looks like a luxury car.

* petrol only -
* beige will get muddy - This I say from my personal experience. I feel dark colours are more suited for Indian conditions.
* parking brake intrusion - Will the parking brake not get mistakenly pressed while keeping the foot on the dead pedal? What if this happens at high speed?
* pricing is horribly wrong.

Excellent thread and pics anyways!

Last edited by W.A.G.7 : 24th August 2012 at 15:24.
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Old 24th August 2012, 15:25   #14
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Default re: Review: 7th-gen Toyota Camry (2012)

The pricing could have been better, I don't see it as value for money at this price. It has no features, I mean Toyota is even offering traction control on the Fortuner, why not on this. And only 2 air bags? Seriously?

The chrome is garish.

The HUD is even an accessory for the Fortuner, nothing new about that.

Frankly, the car seems to be good. If only it was priced at the competitions level, I would have imagined it to do well. Right now all the competitors do more at a lesser price.

Last edited by Akshay1234 : 24th August 2012 at 15:29.
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Old 24th August 2012, 15:30   #15
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Default re: Review: 7th-gen Toyota Camry (2012)

Lost the game on the pricing front, IMO.
Barely there feature list, lack of safety features (only 2 airbags) will affect the sales! Oh yeah, lack of a diesel option! In such times?

Rightly said by someone, if this was a CBU, it would've costed as much as an A4!!

Whats with the excessive chrome? Too much of it for my liking. Even the door handles have chrome on it!
The "guntha mantris" would love that though .

Space is aplenty, and so is the premium feel. Thats that.
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