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Toyota Camry Atara SX 2012 review: snapshot

Changes have been made under the skin with sports suspension and other local input to make Atara SX a satisfying drive.

Camry Sportivo was a popular choice in the previous lineup. It had a bit of sporty sass about it (for a Camry) and the mandatory boot spoiler, alloys and mild body kit. The Sportivo name itself has a certain ring to it. That's why we find it perplexing that the name has been summarily dropped, replaced by the  Atara SX nameplate.


But it's the new Sportivo complete with alloys, boot lid spoiler and mild body kit. It's the penultimate Camry in the new lineup selling for $35,990 which is sharp pricing when you look at what you get. Paddle shift for one, a full size spare, fixed price servicing at $130 a pop, reverse camera and plenty more. Atara SX has sports seats to go with its sports flavour and partial leather upholstery along with a sports multi-function steering wheel, even the pedals have been given the treatment.

Then there's that new dash — looks like it came from a car costing twice as much — looks like a Lexus dash in this case with a large 6.1-inch touch screen controller and a host of electronic and multi-media connections and systems.


Changes have been made under the skin with sports suspension and other local input to make Atara SX a satisfying drive. It doesn't feel like Camrys of old, that's for sure. Even the 135kW/231Nm four cylinder petrol engine feels lively while drinking a scant 7.1-litres of regular unleaded per 100km. On the road it offers up sharper responses than other models in the range and it even feels like the six speed auto has been recalibrated to sporty.

All Camrys are “Australianised" in terms of dust sealing, noise and vibration reduction, suspension setting, steering, brakes and other stuff. And Toyota does an excellent job of it — so good we wonder why our spec' cars aren't the standard international specification. But the yanks still like them mushy. Pity.

We appreciated the ECO warning light in the dash that lets you know when you are driving most economically. It's all you really need rather than systems that deaden the car's response. That's going too far.


Five star crash safety, bluetooth, electric power steering and it's Aussie made — gotta like that.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

Altise 2.4L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $6,000 – 9,350 2012 Toyota Camry 2012 Altise Pricing and Specs
Atara R SE 2.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $6,300 – 9,790 2012 Toyota Camry 2012 Atara R SE Pricing and Specs
Atara S 2.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $6,700 – 10,340 2012 Toyota Camry 2012 Atara S Pricing and Specs
Atara SL 2.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $8,000 – 12,320 2012 Toyota Camry 2012 Atara SL Pricing and Specs
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