Spied: 2012 Toyota Camry

Each successive generation of Toyota Camry seems to take one or two minor styling risks that generate some conversation without jeopardizing the model’s staggering sales figures. These spy photos showing the car running bare in the desert indicate that will be the case again when the car launches in the coming months.

Last time around, the car had a touch of BMW’s overstyled “Bangle butt,” and the rear should remain a talking point. The new taillight design falls somewhere between those of the current Subaru Legacy and Volvo S60, both of which, interestingly enough, represented dramatic stylistic overhauls of two historically conservative cars. Compared to those cars, the Camry’s red lenses come to more fang-like points down at the bottom and come to sharper points on the rear quarters. While we’re talking about styling inspiration, the linear cut of the C-pillar reminds us a bit of a Cadillac’s.

It’s really only when our eyes meet the front end that the new Camry starts looking like itself. There’s no direct outside inspiration for the new nose, and it looks modern and bold, but also a bit generic. There’s no egg-tooth overbite for the corporate “T” logo, though, which automatically makes the front better looking than the last Camry’s.

This is a rare instance, however, where conservative design might actually be risky for Toyota. The Hyundai Sonata and the Kia Optima have delivered dramatic styling in their latest incarnations, and the 2013 Chevy Malibu is on its way with a touch of Camaro showing through its new skin. In the end, though, we’re thinking Toyota’s traditional buyers will appreciate the Camry’s very simple shape.

Under the hood, we expect Toyota will again offer four- and six-cylinder engines, and the car shown here clearly displays hybrid badges, so the third and most-fuel-efficient model in the range will return. With the Ford Fusion hybrid serving as an efficiency benchmark—it returns 41 mpg city and 36 highway—expect Toyota to improve on the previous gas-electric Camry’s 31/35 ratings. The traditional gas-engine models likely will swill less juice, too. If the above comes to pass, it likely will mean business as usual—make that big business as usual—for the sales king.

Thanks to: Car and Driver


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