Prognosis Negative How do doctors do it? How do they tell people that their loved ones are sick, afflicted, or even terminal? Sure, it's one thing to deliver bad news like a mechanic: "Your transmission's fried lady, that's gonna be three grand." But doctors need to be sensitive to the great anguish that will accompany their diagnosis. Nobody wants to find out that their formerly healthy family member isn't well, and a doctor's compassion is as important as his healing hand. The way the news gets delivered is crucial to how a patient, family and friends come to accept the situation and cope with treatment and its aftermath. Can we then, get a doctor to write this review of the new Camry? Because after a week behind the wheel of the 2012 Toyota Camry SE V6, one thing is clear: This best-seller is ailing. Now, we understand that the car is a veritable institution – there are presently some 40,000 people snapping up Camrys every month. And yes, for most of the car buying public, the new midsize Toyota will continue to provide safe and suitable, if unsurprising, transportation. By our estimation, however, there are at least two, probably three, maybe even four or five other midsize sedans offering a better overall package of price, performance and personality than Toyota's breadwinner. The short list starts with the Kia Optima and ends with the Hyundai Sonata, but the forthcoming Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima deserve their shots as well. But it's not just healthy competition that's enfeebled the Camry, it's that the Camry itself has grown old and tired. Despite Toyota's claims that the 2012 model is "all-new," it's not so easy to spot what's different between last year's Camry and this one, at least from the outside. The styling of the newer car adheres closely enough to both the spirit and letter of its predecessor that this 2012 not only looks like the 2011, they have virtually identical measurements. Sure, there are a few tighter creases on the 2012, particularly in the fascias, but that's the sort of change that merely betrays Toyota's adherence to the auto industry's philosophy of planned obsolescence. That said, it's not even a particularly good implementation of said concept, as the seventh-generation Camry isn't appreciably more modern in style than the sixth – or fifth, for that matter. Worse than the side-step with the styling is that we're having a difficult time finding things about the car that have been significantly improved. A lot has changed, especially inside, but most of it is a proverbial rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic. The instrument panel, for instance, looks nice in photos, but in the real world, it's a hodgepodge of different textures and sheens of plastic on its many parts. Compared to the Optima, the Toyota's dash looks downright cheap. We do recall what seemed like real metal trim pieces on the Camry's doors, but amidst all the fake "metal-look" plastic elsewhere in the cockpit, …
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|MPG||25 City / 35 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||178 @ 6000 rpm|
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