The 2012 Toyota Camry Is an Affordable Used Car Under $15,000

The Toyota Camry combines reliability, fuel economy, and practicality at an affordable price. Thanks to those qualities, the car has been the best-selling midsize sedan in America for nearly 20 years. Toyota sold over 1.2 million Camry units in the United States for the 2012 model year, OICA reports.

And U.S. News named the 2012 Toyota Camry the most affordable midsize car. It beat contenders like the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima. In addition, the 2012 Camry ranks ninth on U.S. News’ list of the best midsize cars under $15,000.

Here’s what you can expect with a 2012 Toyota Camry.

What comes standard in a 2012 Toyota Camry?

2012 Toyota Camry LE sedan, used Camry, used Toyota Camry
2012 Toyota Camry LE | Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

Toyota fully redesigned the 2012 Camry for the sedan’s 11th generation. The redesign gave the interior a makeover and the exterior a more angular look. The 2012 Toyota Camry came in six trims: the four-cylinder L, LE, SE, XLE, and the V6-powered XLE and SE.

The changes for the 11th-generation Camry also included a slight power boost. The 2.5-liter inline-four engine produces 178 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque. That’s up from 169 hp and 167 lb-ft the previous year. The 2012 3.5-liter V6 Camry models kept the same engine specs from 2011: 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque.

As for fuel economy, the four-cylinder gets a combined 28 mpg. The V6 is a bit behind at 25 mpg.

Inside, the 2012 Camry benefits from an updated touchscreen interface. The six-speaker audio system is also an upgrade with Bluetooth connectivity. In addition, the system includes Entune, providing smartphone-connected services such as stock prices, Pandora radio, traffic updates, and the Bing search engine.

How safe is the 2012 Toyota Camry?

Like many Toyota models, the Camry comes with a bevy of safety features. Front and rear airbags, blind-spot monitoring, brake assist, and stability control all come standard on the 2012 model. 

In addition, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2012 Camry a Top Safety Pick. The only area where the car didn’t earn the highest score possible was the driver-side overlap, which received poor marks.

However, Edmunds reviewers note the braking distances to stop from 60 mph were better than the average midsize sedan.

Which 2012 Toyota Camry model is best for you?

With six trim levels, a used 2012 Toyota Camry offers plenty of options. 

The standard L trim gives you a lot to start with: cruise control, split-folding rear seats, Bluetooth, USB jacks, and 16-inch steel wheels.

Offering the same powertrain, the LE adds perks like remote keyless entry, Bluetooth streaming audio, and a central interface for audio, phone, and car information.

The Camry SE kicks things up a few notches in technology and performance. It boasts 17-inch or 18-inch alloy wheels depending upon the engine size. Both the four-cylinder and V6 SE get a sport-tuned suspension, sport seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated exterior mirrors. On the V6 models, expect more upgrades, including navigation, HD Radio, voice recognition, and smartphone and web integration.

The luxurious XLE reels in the performance suspension to the softer setup of the LE. But this Camry model gives you more luxury with a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, and an upgraded display interface. The V6 XLE also gives you a rear-view camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, and heated front seats. 

The average price buyers pay for a used 2012 Toyota Camry is $11,250 to $12.970, U.S. News reports. If you’re looking for a standard model at the lower end of the price range, consider the L or LE. The LE gives you more perks without a much higher cost. 

If you want a sportier feel and some luxury upgrades, the SE is the way to go. According to Edmunds, that trim level is the most popular for the 2012 Camry. And if luxury is what you’re looking for, the XLE is your best bet.

Is buying a used car worth it?

Among reliable used cars, the 2012 Toyota Camry checks most boxes: good fuel economy, a spacious cabin, and a host of safety features.

If you have a choice among popular midsize sedans — including the Hyundai Sonata and Honda Accord — U.S. News recommends the Camry. The Sonata falls short of the Camry in reliability and safety. And the Accord can’t match the reliability, either, or the Camry’s larger trunk and lower ownership costs.

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