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2020 Toyota Avalon TRD: Sure, Why Not?

Joining the Camry in getting the TRD treatment.

If the thought of a Camry TRD seemed a bit strange, then you're really not going to be able to wrap your head around the 2020 Toyota Avalon TRD. The same formula for the Camry package is applied here, only it's marketed to a very different set of buyers. According to a Toyota official on hand for the Camry and Avalon TRD event we attended recently in Dallas, the development team aimed the regular Avalon toward buyers of the Audi A6 and Cadillac CT6, and the TRD expands into the territory of the Kia Stinger GT and dearly departed Ford Fusion Sport.

Like the Camry TRD, the majority of the mechanical changes to the 2020 Avalon TRD were made to the chassis. Along with a 0.6-inch drop in ride height, TRD-specific spring and damper tuning improves stiffness in the front by 10 percent and the rear by a whopping 50 percent over the base Avalon. Again, three additional underbody braces keep everything glued together, but the Avalon lacks the v-shaped brace present behind the rear seats of the Camry TRD.

Those excellent, 19-inch black wheels inspired by German DTM racing are the same set that dresses up the Camry TRD as well, though unlike the optional summers on the Camry, squidgy all-seasons are the sole choice for the Avalon TRD. The calipers gain the same upgrade to a two-piston set-up, and the discs also grow the same 0.9-inch as the Camry TRD. Aside from a small lip spoiler, the Avalon does away with the Camry's rear wing, but retains the black exterior accents and interior TRD appointments.

Aside from that hilarious TRD catback exhaust, the Avalon's powertrain is also untouched, outputting the same 301 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque spit from Toyota's naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V-6, routed to the front wheels through the familiar 8-speed automatic. Though larger and heavier than the Camry, the Avalon TRD still scoots; our sister pub MotorTrend clocked the Avalon Touring at a 6.0-second 0-60 mph run, so expect the numbers for the TRD to be near identical.

Thanks to sharing the same all-season tire as the Touring, the TRD isn't too far removed from the Avalon Touring on the autocross. In fact, without the Touring's adaptive suspension, the TRD falls a smidge behind on refinement during abrupt changes in direction.

On the road, however, is where the 2020 Toyota Avalon TRD shines. It's nearly as comfortable as the rest of the Avalon family, and if you leave the transmission to its own devices, it becomes an incredible long-distance cruiser. It's also a bit of a statement vehicle, thanks to those 19-inch TRD wheels, darkened exterior, and buzzy exhaust. The bigger question is will any Avalon buyers bite? We shall see, because the Avalon TRD is coming, whether anyone wants one or not. Couldn't hurt to try though, right?

2020 Toyota Avalon TRD Specifications

ON SALE Fall 2019
PRICE $43,255
ENGINE 3.5L DOHC 24-valve V-6/301 hp @ 6,600 rpm, 267 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
TRANSMISSION Eight-speed automatic
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD sedan
EPA MILEAGE 22/31 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 195.9 x 72.8 x 55.9 in
WHEELBASE 113.0 in
WEIGHT 3,638 lb
0-60 MPH 6.0 seconds (est)