2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE: Technology In A Mid-Size Sedan

A Fairly Generic Infotainment System

Our 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE includes the mid-level Display Audio with Navigation and Entune infotainment system, which we’ll simply refer to as DA6 for simplicity's sake. It's one step above the base radio setup, adding a 6.1-inch touchscreen LCD display for the folks who want an affordable setup with navigation and app support. Toyota also offers Premium HDD Navigation with Entune and JBL speakers that serves up a completely different experience.

The Hardware

Toyota sources its DA6 system from Harman Becker, a subsidiary of Harman International and sister-company to JBL, Harman Kardon, and Infinity. Unlike Ford, which uses a single SoC and memory configuration for all SYNC and SYNC with MyFord Touch systems, the hardware in Toyota's DA6 system can change between car models or even shipping dates.

This generic approach to radios and infotainment is actually pretty common in the auto industry. The result is that multiple radios can carry the Display Audio with Navigation and Entune designation, even while Toyota optimizes the supply and cost of the underlying hardware. Chrysler is another manufacturer that sources generic radios, but maintains the same names (730N, 430N, 430, and so on). It simplifies identification of the specific configuration with a simple code on the bottom corner of the radio, at least. Toyota, in comparison, doesn't take this extra step. So, we haven't been able to figure out exactly what powers the system in our 2012 Camry Hybrid XLE.

Nevertheless, Toyota's DA6 centers around a 6.1-inch touch-screen LCD display. The company won't comment about its screen resolution, but a bit of digging into Chinese parts supplier catalogs reveals two options for 6.1-inch LCDs: 800x600 and 480x234. We suspect the Camry employs the latter due to its blurry text and graphics. Typical mid-level 6.1-inch aftermarket DVD and navigation systems also feature the same QVGA resolution.

Toyota's infotainment system certainly isn't the nicest-looking thing we've ever seen. Compared to the solutions we’ve already evaluated, like SYNC with MyFord Touch and Kia's UVO, the DA6 is frankly pretty ugly. There’s really no excuse for the boring round rectangular boxes with white text on a black background, particularly since you're paying $1700 for the upgrade. That's almost twice as much as SYNC with MyFord Touch, including navigation.

A lot of the infotainment system functionality centers around the touchscreen interface, but Toyota also includes physical buttons for volume control, radio tuning, audio settings, phone, car information, apps, and track navigation. The buttons are labeled with text in all-caps, which isn't particularly clean, in our opinion. But, if you have eyesight issues, the words certainly stand out.

The large font is on the steering wheel controls, too, where Toyota provides generous functionality that includes volume, mode, return, phone controls, and voice recognition buttons. There’s also a four-way directional switch with a select button in the center, which is used to navigate the DA6 system, or advance/rewind audio.

The Software

QNX's Neutrino RTOS powers the Toyota DA6 system, which isn’t surprising. If you're unfamiliar with QNX Neutrino, it's actually behind many OEM infotainment systems, including Audi's MMI, Hyundai’s Blue Link and infotainment, and Chrysler's radios. The operating environment found its way into more than nine million cars last year. So, if you have an infotainment system that isn’t Ford SYNC or Kia UVO, its most likely driven by QNX Neutrino.

  • blackmagnum
    Are we rivals to Car and Driver now?
  • apache_lives
    but can it run crysis?

    wait its a car on a computer related website my bad
  • Anyone got this and forgone the Display Audio with Navigation and Entune option and instead got an proper aftermarket nav system (not those portable ones)?
  • alyoshka
    Shouldn't they save all that power wasted on the in car electronics and utilize it for the commuting purpose itself?
  • Sakkura
    alyoshkaShouldn't they save all that power wasted on the in car electronics and utilize it for the commuting purpose itself?Small problem: Even if it's using 500W, that still only amounts to a little more than half a horsepower.
  • lunyone
    Though, in this case, it's used to maximize has mileage.
    I"m thinking it was "GAS" mileage :)
    Under the "Hybrid Synergy Drive > Combining The Power" section.
  • lunyone
    During our week with the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE, we found that aggressive driving from stoplight to stoplight was actually quite a big of fun
    I'm also thinking it was "actually quite a bit of fun"??
  • lunyone
    Sorry last comment was from the "The End Result" of the Hybrid Synergy Drive section.
  • xsamitt
    Do I see a trend happening here?
    I guess if this is the way things are going why not review some skidoos next time?
    Word on the street they too also have advanced computers nowadays.
    Hard core Computer world be gone,we've had enough of you apparently!!!
  • cangelini
    lunyoneI"m thinking it was "GAS" mileage Under the "Hybrid Synergy Drive > Combining The Power" section.Thanks, fixed!