2012 Toyota Camry: The new connected car

The biggest update in the new Camry comes not under the hood, but in the dashboard. Toyota's new head unit brings in navigation and a host of connected features.

2012 Toyota Camry
Wayne Cunningham/CNET

For the Camry's 2012 update, Toyota chose to leave the engine alone, but give the car new cabin electronics.

That is one sign of the growing importance of advanced cabin tech in cars. But the new Camry is also a very connected car, a realm that only recently was reserved for premium brands such as Audi and BMW. That Camry has been the most popular car in the U.S. suggested that data feeds in cars are rapidly entering the mainstream. It seems a similar trend to the Internet, which in the early '90s was the domain of computer science students and high-tech hippies. Then AOL brought it to the masses by letting its users browse the Web.

Much of the Camry's data comes in through satellite radio, with traffic, weather, gas prices, and stock quotes, all things which we've seen before. But Toyota takes a jump forward with Entune, its new app integration service giving access to Bing local searches, Pandora, OpenTable, and other familiar apps. As a first-generation technology, Entune is not perfect, but it represents a good way to integrate smartphone functionality safely into the car.

We were also impressed by the new voice command system in the Camry. But the new head unit also seems to have a problem connecting to older iPhones, at least through its cabled connection.

There are, of course, other updates to the Camry, such as improved handling and a restyled body, but the cabin electronics are the biggest step forward.

Read our review of the 2012 Toyota Camry .

 

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