2020 Toyota Camry Adds AWD Option for First Time in 18 Years
Not since the 1991 Camry AllTrac has Toyota’s ubiquitous midsize sedan offered all-wheel drive.
Toyota fans, your all-wheel drive Camry sedan prayers have finally been answered! If you've been harboring fevered excitement for a possible redux to the Camry AllTrac since its demise in 1991, you can now order a Camry and its larger sibling, the Avalon, with all-wheel drive. (For the past 18 years, Toyota's Camry has solely been available with front-wheel drive.) The all-weather-friendly driveline is available as a stand-alone option on Camry's LE, XLE, SE, and XSE trim levels.
Let's get this out of the way up front: The new all-wheel-drive setup can only be paired with the Camry's entry-level 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Sorry, the Camry's optional 305-hp V-6 can't be combined with all-wheel drive (at least, not yet it can't). That means the Camry AWD makes dow with 202 horsepower, or 205 ponies in XSE guise. As in the regular Camry, the four-cylinder engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Like the Avalon, the Kentucky-built Camry shares its TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform with a bevy of recent Toyota products, including the all-wheel-drive-capable RAV4 SUV. Therefore, it is of little surprise that the Camry AWD utilizes that crossover's new Dynamic Torque Control all-wheel-drive system, which can direct up to 50 percent of available engine torque to the rear axle when the front wheels slip. When extra traction isn't needed, the system can disengage the rear driveshafts and rely on front-wheel drive only, reengaging the rear axle instantly when needed. While the RAV4 donates its rear differential, the propeller shaft is from the Highlander SUV, albeit modified to fit the Camry.
Other modifications required by the extra drive axle include an electronic parking brake and a saddle-bag-style fuel tank, which straddles the rear-end components to make room for the added gear without compromising storage space or trunk floor height. Weight, as you'd expect, goes up relative to the front-drive, four-cylinder Camry; the AWD models are said to be 165 pounds heavier.
In keeping with its weather-ready image, the all-wheel-drive Camry will offer an optional Cold Weather Package that differs slightly depending on the trim level. On the LE, it includes heated front seats and door mirrors; on the SE, those items are included along with a steering wheel; and on the XSE and XLE trims, which presumably already have heated front seats and door mirrors, the package only includes a heated steering wheel.
You'll need to wait a few more chilly months for a Camry experience that guarantees a heated butt and some extra poor-weather traction, because the 2020 AWD models are expected to arrive at dealerships in the early spring. Hey, if you hung in there for nearly two decades, you can wait a little while longer for a Camry AllTrac successor, can't you?