2012 Toyota Camry Styling

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Styling
The Camry has been completely redesigned for 2012, but it can be so subtle from some exterior angles that you might not even notice. Admittedly, there's nothing radical here: The dimensions are almost exactly the same; the doorcuts are slightly different; and the roofline and greenhouse has been subtly tweaked. Overall, the new Camry is not a thing of beauty; all the changes in styling and shape seem geared more for interior space and aerodynamics than for shape or stance.

And to confirm the new Camry's evolutionary direction, Toyota calls the design theme "Rational Tech-Dynamism," which "aims for a rational and advanced style with sporty exterior and a modern, luxurious interior."

Essentially, the result is a Camry that from most angles looks a little boxier and more angular, and reminds us a bit more of the 1996-2001-era Camry. Toyota claims that the sharpness of the Camry's corners—they call it 'aero corners'—helps improve aerodynamics. And in back, it helps increase trunk space.

The 2012 Toyota Camry looks crisper, neater, and a little more upscale than the previous version, but it's as ubiquitous as ever.

There are a few key appearance differences within the Camry lineup, too. For instance, sporty SE models get a split, winged air dam that we saw at times as Subaru-influenced; but XLE and hybrid trims come with a more wide-open (but louvered) air dam (with XLEs getting a little extra chrome in the upper grille). Toyota also placed more consideration on the lower area's design to aid pedestrian safety, improve aerodynamics, and yield better cooling.

Thankfully, Toyota has replaced the former interior that we saw as a 'Corolla-plus' layout with one that looks part influenced by Lexus sedans, accented with some of the dash details from Toyota's newest SUVs, like the new 4Runner. Like most new models, the Camry gets a multi-layered dash appearance; Toyota says that the layered, stitched-leather look of the instrument panel was modeled after saddles, while the center gauge cluster and audio and climate controls were inspired by media players like the iPod. And we like the chunky, multi-function controllers on either side of the steering wheel, positioned right where your thumbs can be.

While some might think the styling a snooze, we ended up really liking it for two main reasons: Firstly, it goes against the grain with respect to more organic designs like the Hyundai Sonata and the (albeit more conservative) Volkswagen Passat. And secondly it doesn't sacrifice function for form, especially with respect to rear headroom. 

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