Buying used: Toyota Camry from 2010 to 2012 won’t disappoint

Available with either a four-cylinder or V6 engine, this generation was offered in a variety of trim levels

2012 Toyota Camry
Unsurprisingly, this iteration of the Camry has held its value. The 2012 edition will run you anywhere from around $10,000 to the high teens, depending on trim level and drivetrain

Ted LaturnusThere wasn’t much to separate the Toyota Camry between 2010 and 2012, aside from minor styling cues and options packages.

These were all pretty good years for Toyota’s mid-size sedan, and it maintained its reputation as one of the more reliable cars on the road.

Available with either a four-cylinder or V6 engine, with a hybrid version as well, this generation of Camry was offered in a variety of trim levels. Then, as now, when you purchase a Camry, you usually get a four-wheeled appliance that gives you years of hassle-free motoring. Groups like Consumer Reports and J.D. Power have consistently given the Camry top marks in just about every department for years.

One of the more popular models is the middle-of-the-pack SE, powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder or 3.5-litreV6 engine. The four banger develops 178 to 179 horsepower, and this engine is utilized throughout Toyota’s lineup, in one form or another, including in the Venza and Highlander.

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The most popular transmission is a six-speed automatic, but you can also get a six-speed manual. The auto box features a manual sequential shift feature, and both the manual and automatic transmission versions have almost identical fuel economy, with the automatic being slightly thirstier in town.

Standard equipment on the SE includes the usual roster of one-touch front power windows, air conditioning, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, fog lamps, cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering, and power outside mirrors.

There are all kinds of storage bins and compartments inside the car, both on the centre console and the dashboard, and usability is the key here. The SE also features lightly tuned suspension, aluminum pedals, larger 17-inch wheels and is a smidgeon sportier than the base model.

Disappointingly, heated seats were optional – part of the “Leather and Moonroof Package,” which also features rear reading lamps, Bluetooth, XM satellite radio and other bits and pieces.

Three safety recalls are on file with Transport Canada. One involves possible issues with the left rear brake hydraulic line on some four-cylinder models, while the other two concern the infamous “incompatible” floor mats and resulting accelerator pedal issues. Toyota mounted a vigorous campaign to sort all this out.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States has 21 technical service bulletins on file for this vintage of the Camry. These range from wonky sun visors, “dusty” heating and air conditioning systems, occasionally “inoperative” engine cooling fans, possible engine oil leaks with the V6 models, and sunroofs that may leak because of clogged drainage tubes.

Consumer Reports really liked the Camry in these years. Aside from a minor glitch with the braking system, it got top marks in just about every category, garnering a “best bet” designation from this organization. This also applies to its safety rating – top marks in front, side, and offset crash tests, both from NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Some comments to CR from owners:

  • “can be a little noisy”;
  • “bottom of seats too short for tall drivers”;
  • “competent handling, quiet”;
  • one interesting comment from an owner who claimed to have had a Toyota of one type or another in his driveway since 1980: “Total unscheduled (non-maintenance) repairs: $410 in 30 years. Time will tell.”

Marketing researcher J.D. Power liked most things about these years of the Camry, especially the overall quality and powertrain. Still, it was less enthusiastic when it came to things like style, comfort and overall performance. Nonetheless, they gave it a “better than most” rating for overall quality.

Unsurprisingly, this iteration of the Camry has held its value. The 2012 edition, for example, will run you anywhere from around $10,000 to the high teens, depending on trim level and drivetrain. V6 models seem to be valued at about $1,000 more than the four-cylinder versions, with the XLE, with all the trimmings, the priciest.

Toyota Camry, 2010 to 2012
Original base price: $23,165 to $23,965
Engine: 2.5-litre four cylinder and 3.5-litre V6
Horsepower: 179 to 268
Torque: 171 to 248 foot pounds
Transmission: six-speed manual or six-speed automatic
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 9.0 city and 6.1 highway, with the SE four-cylinder with automatic transmission and regular gas
Alternatives: Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Avenger, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Mitsubishi Galant, Saturn Aura, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Magentis, Mazda6

Ted Laturnus has been an automotive journalist since 1976. He was named Canadian Automobile Journalist of the Year twice and is past president of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). For interview requests, click here.


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