Admit it; you thought the name of Mick Jagger’s old smash hit song was “Painted Black.” Well, at least I did. And, in fact, the song lyrics include the phrase, “painted black” on seven different occasions. Jagger and Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones) wrote the song and gave it the title “Paint It Black,” and reportedly Decca, the record label, added the comma. It reached number 1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. in May of 1966, and currently it stands at number 73 on the list of the Greatest Hits of the 60’s.
I love hits of the 60’s, and also love automobiles of the 10’s. The Toyota Camry SE that I drove around last week was painted black – Attitude Black. I get a positive vibe looking at these Toyota paint chips; as you recall, the Toyota Yaris I recently drove was painted Absolutely Red. This Camry, of course, is quite a bit more car, and in fact is America’s number 1 seller, having been so for ten straight years. They whip out over 300,000 units in this country, year after year, and have topped 400,000 units on several occasions.
For 2012, the Toyota Camry was totally redesigned, inside and out. I’ll admit I was perfectly satisfied with the styling of the 2006/2011 Camry, but for 2012 the company has given the car a sleeker, chiseled body style and the fuel mileage has been improved. The SE in my possession had the 3.5 liter, 268 horsepower V6 and was rated at 21 city/30 highway mpg. I observed 21.9 mpg in mostly town mode. Behind the V6 was a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters on the steering wheel. This is a front-wheel drive automobile with electric power steering to enhance that fuel mileage. It rides (rather firmly) on 18”, dark gray, five spoke alloy wheels fitted with P225/45R18 Michelin “green” Primacy radials. The mid-size sedan is 189.2” long and seats five, weighing in at 3,420 pounds. The trunk contains 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space.
The interior of the SE features leather-trimmed Ultrasuede sport buckets up front and matching two-toned (black/ash) fold-down rear bench with armrest and cupholders. All the sound system and Bluetooth connectivity items are present, as well as hard-disk drive nav/backup camera with touch-screen (6.1”). The JBL stereo has ten speakers in eight locations, and the Toyota cruise control is behind the steering wheel at 4 o’clock. Riding around in the peppy Camry is like wearing a nice old pair of shoes that don’t pinch your toes or bother the arches. It just kind of gets the job done without distress.
Base M.S.R.P. for the SE was $26,640.00, and that included the $895.00 convenience package as well as the leather seating. Moonroof, special mats, wheel locks, and freight brought the total to $31,202.00. That total is actually a couple of thousand dollars less than what Toyota charged for such a model in 2011, making the new Camry a pretty good deal that is “painted black.”