Long-term update: 2012 Toyota Camry meets 2005 Toyota Camry

Long-term update: 2012 Toyota Camry meets 2005 Toyota Camry

This would be our first update on the 2012 Toyota Camry SE Plus long-termer that we picked up from Al Futtaim Motors more than a week ago. When we sat down to figure out what to write about this car, we came to the conclusion that there isn’t much to be said about the Camry. After all, it is a Camry. It’ll sell by the sackful, and there will always be a rabid bunch who’ll keep hating it. So after contemplating for a while, we decided to do the updates for this car differently. From now on, we’ll pitch our Camry against a variety of random cars, and see if it really blows as much as vocal opponents claim it does. This week, we put it against, what else, one of its predecessors, the 2005 Toyota Camry.

The Toyota Camry has been revamped for the 2012 model year, still uses the platform that debuted with the 2007 model. However, there are some out there who contend that the Camry has lost its way since 2007. Are they full of it?

We’ll start off by comparing the mechanicals. And we’ll end there with only a few words. The new Camry’s 181 hp 2.5-litre engine far outclasses the 154 hp 2.4-litre in the 2003-2006 Camry. The new one is only 10 kilos heavier than the 2005 model. The new one has a 6-speed while the 2005 one had a 4-speed automatic. And let’s not even talk about handling. Aside from better suspension tuning, the new Camry is also 20 mm lower in height. The new Camry wins based on specs alone.

But while armchair-racers keep whining, real Camry buyers are looking for cabin space, which is why they didn’t just pick up a Corolla. And the 2012 Camry is at the top of the class now. While these two cars are exactly the same length, the 2012 has a 55 mm longer wheelbase than that old one. That means the front wheels are further away from the rear wheels, leaving more space in between. While the difference isn’t obvious from the front seats, we estimated at least 50 mm more space for the knees in the back seat. Arguably, the headroom is less by 20 mm, but you’d only notice that if you are almost 7 feet tall.

In terms of aesthetics, we feel both cars look good. Some call them boring, but they’re only boring because you see so many of them around. If you had Butter Chicken daily, you’d be sick of it too. That said, we like the look of the kitted 2012 one better, simply because it looks more aggressive.

Inside, the new Camry wins easily, but only to a certain extent. The 2012’s stitched leatherette dash, cushy upholstery and digital gadgets are excellent, bringing the car bang up-to-date with the competition. But some of the cost-cutting measures are obvious. There is more use of hard plastics on the door panels, especially at the rear; the boot does not have covers on the goose-neck hinges any more, so you have to be careful with your luggage; the front cup-holders don’t have a cover; and the knee “cushions” on either side of the centre console are just nearly-hard plastics with fake “stitches” moulded in. Still, from the driver’s seat, the new Camry offers a much better ambience; the fake wood looks more realistic than before; and back in the boot, the lining is more extensive, unlike the old model which had a lot of exposed metal showing.

And that’s about it really. Another thing Camry buyers look at is reliability. While the old one is proven, it is too soon to tell for the new one, but Toyota is now offering a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty anyway, so it’s no big deal.

The only issue remaining is that the Camry now costs Dhs 101,000 for this optioned-up 4-cylinder SE Plus model. Back in 2005, you could pick up a fully-kitted 4-cylinder for maybe Dhs 75,000 in the UAE. However, for that 35% premium, you now get a better engine, more space and more gadgets. Navigation, keyless start and Bluetooth were unheard of back then. Hopefully your salary has also gone up by 35% since then. If not, it’s time to get a better job. Because inflation is a killer.

Original Mileage When Borrowed: 5,883 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 7,100 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 12.5 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 0
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 0

Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Borrowed: Dhs 0

Read all 2012 Toyota Camry long-term updates

What do you think?



  1. Author

    The 2005 Toyota Camry was provided by long-time reader Rahul Jones.

  2. Can you please avoid swearing

  3. Good comparison Mash. The pics with both camrys together are spot-on. Last but not the least, hats off to Rahul Jones for maintaining the camry in top shape.

  4. Its common sense that the new Camry would be a lot better then this older model.
    Altough I enjoyed it as its nice to see how the car developed over time, this kind of comaparison should be done against 2012 Accord, Altima…to help ppl decide which one to buy.
    Same thing I can suggest for other popular models Prado vs Pathfinder etc etc.

    PS: Hat down to Rahul for maintaining the car so well.

  5. Hopefully your salary has also gone up by 35% since then. If not, it’s time to get a better job. Because inflation is a killer……..i loved this better than the review…..haha

  6. What has gone wrong with this civilized website. Whats with offensive language? As well as the editor and author of this column?

    First of all the words “SHIT” is used in a car review? Is that mature?

    Secondly, in the 8th paragraph, second line, the author makes a spelling mistake by writing, “SE Plue model”.

    Lastly, the largest users of camry’s are cab drivers, and any reviewer with the least amount of sense would have taken their opinion, which is and has been for the past years that the 2007 to 2011 model is good and has upheld the camry name in every sense of the word. But, where it has dropped the ball, is in build quality, which simply put is horrifying.

    As a keen user of this website and a car-lover, I would like to inform you that I usually take your opinion in high regard, therfore I would like to request that such errors be taken care of.

  7. Probably the only 2 Red Camrys in town?! Indeed, RJs Camry is very well maintained

  8. Rahul.. Thats a beauty uve gotten right there. Kept it quite well. Keep Up!

  9. nice review but the new one is the shit and when i say “shit” i really mean shit ,missing the earlier model which had the best looks .

  10. Hmm seems the new one rules the roost, personally i liked the model that Rahul has as the best.

  11. Thanks guys. 🙂

  12. Really for 7 years of progress it is not enough, i don’t know how this car on road, but looks not like famous midsize family or business sedan! from back its really lower then Honda City. I agree with” Khedr May 26, 2012 Reply -Can you please avoid swearing” but what to say about this cars and price? Toyota and AlFutMot loosing they level. Good review and editor right choice 2 red Camry – super! and about compare to accord or others.. next time. and do not forget take a new player like KIA or Hyundai.

  13. Mash

    what is the last word on this new camry? a no brainer over the others or shall we wait for the new accord and altima to come?

  14. Love the solid feel of early Camrys (upto 2006). After that the build quality has suffered a lot. Even there is no re-assuring thud when you bang the door, instead you feel like you are banging the door of a Lancer 🙂

  15. No offense but The old camry could use a much much nedded and way overdue inside shampoo and exterior polish. Cobone can be got for as low as 200 aed. Pls consider getting it done.

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