Consumer Reports: New 2012 Toyota Camry gets top marks

2012 Toyota Camry

Consumer Reports has ranked the redesigned 2012 Toyota Camry tops among family sedans. That may give a boost to Toyota's hopes for Camry to retain  its spot as the top-selling car in the U.S.

The midsize Camry managed to top all other car sales in 2011 despite the disruption of  parts and supplies  by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Earlier in the year, Camry sales fell behind competitors such as Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima.

The Consumer Reports review cites approvingly a nicer interior in the 2012 Camry, along with crisper handling and better gas mileage. CR reviewers tested all three versions of the Camry. The four-cylinder model registered 27 miles per gallon in their combined city and highway driving, while the V-6 version hit 26 MPG. The gas-electric hybrid Camry got a chart-topping 38 MPG in combined driving. Based on previous reliability data, the four-cylinder and hybrid versions get the coveted Recommended label from CR, but not the less reliable V-6.

In discussing the Camry's interior, the CR reviewers cited plenty of head and leg room, and a nicely stitched and padded dash. On the highway, they appreciated a quiet, comfortable ride -- also an improvement over the previous generation. The full review is available in the February issue of Consumer Reports or the CR website if you are a subscriber.

Passat rated lower

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat, also redesigned, was tested in the same group of family sedans but received a lower rating from Consumer Reports. The testers say the Passat has grown larger and less agile, with a more ordinary interior compared with past versions.

"Volkswagen has made the redesigned Passat surprisingly similar to the Camry, but with so-so results," says David Champion, senior director of CR's auto test center.

In its ranking of family sedans, CR made the hybrid version of the Camry its No. 1 overall choice. Among competitors, the Nissan Altima also made its Recommended list.

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