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2020 Toyota Avalon and Camry Get a Dash of TRD Hot Sauce

Sedans get spiffy sport packages with lots of flair.

Ed TahaneyWriter, PhotographerManufacturerPhotos

EAST LOS ANGELES, California—If you park a Toyota Avalon and Camry side by side, it's hard to tell them apart except for maybe their badges and funky grilles. Both have four doors, can seat up to five passengers, share the same V-6 engine, and are available in a variety of trims. The full-size Avalon offers slightly more room and a heftier price tag than the mid-size Camry. But add a dash of hot sauce by the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) team—a splash of Supersonic Red paint, a more dialed-in suspension, some underbody braces—and voila! You have the 2020 Avalon/Camry TRD edition.

These spicier sedans are certainly no replacements for proper sports cars like the new Supra or even the Toyota 86. Think of these TRD-enhanced sedans more as comfortable and enjoyable rides with an edgier look. I seriously doubt any owner will actually take either one to the track—and lets be clear, these cars aren't meant for that kind of use—but they certainly look the part if that's what matters to you.

The duo are both sportier-looking, in a mid-'90s Chevy Monte Carlo Z34 sort of way, except with four doors instead of two, more horsepower (301 hp vs 210 hp), and a bit more visual flair than the Monte. Looks-wise the Camry TRD is the way to go; the two-tone Midnight Black metallic roof looks pretty rad on it, although the black XSE trim grille makes the Avalon look somewhat more sinister.

The TRD package comes with the same V-6 as other Camry variants, rated at 301 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. The trusty six is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Basically, TRD started with the XSE-spec Avalon and SE-spec Camry, beefed up their front and rear suspensions with thicker underbody braces for rigidity, and dropped a half inch in ride height; you'll notice the lower-slung attitude every time you navigate steep driveways and road bumps, which require more care than usual. Under all of this is a set of 19-inch black TRD rims covering 12.9-inch front brake rotors, with dual piston calipers in red.

I thought I might nick the Camry TRD's rims parking too close to the curb, but ended up scratching the side and rear aero kit, with its red pinstriping that extends like catfish whiskers, instead. It kissed a steep Pasadena curb outside of a friend's house—sorry Toyota! The body kit includes black badging, dark mirror caps, and a rear spoiler to complete the sportier package; it looks sportier on the Camry, since there's just a sliver of a spoiler on the Avalon. Both TRD specials also come with large-ish sunroofs and twin tail pipes around back.

There are three drive modes to choose from—normal, eco, and sport—which translate to slow, slower, and a little better when you mash down on the right-most pedal. The sport-tuned exhaust with engine sound enhancement and an intake generator sounds decent on the Camry, if you're into that sort of thing. It's more reserved on the Avalon.

Inside both TRD models feature red seatbelts and red contrast stitching, plus TRD badges on the headrests and floor mats. There is even one on the carpet in the trunk where you'll find a donut underneath it for a spare. The Avalon came with a cargo next which makes hauling groceries in the trunk a bit more civilized. Both share a Toyota TRD steering wheel that is wrapped in leather, a TRD leather shifter, and the pedals get chromed too. There's a handy wireless phone charger and a small light in the center console storage area so you can find the USB and power ports at night.

The Camry TRD starts at $32,920, which sure makes it seem like a better deal than the Avalon TRD that adds another ten grand to the tab. Is it worth it? Sure, unless you'd rather drive a car that is beige.

 

2020 Toyota Camry TRD Specifications
ON SALE Now
PRICE $32,920
ENGINE 3.5L DOHC 24-valve V-6/301 hp @ 6,600 rpm, 267 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD sedan
EPA MILEAGE 22/31 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 194.6 x 73.1 x 56.3 in
WHEELBASE 111.2 in
WEIGHT 3,556 lb
0-60 MPH 5.8 seconds
TOP SPEED 130 mph (est)

 

2020 Toyota Avalon TRD Specifications
ON SALE Now
PRICE $43,255/$46,287 (base/as-tested)
ENGINE 3.5L DOHC 24-valve V-6/301 hp @ 6,600 rpm, 267 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
TRANSMISSION 8-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
TOP SPEED 130 mph (est)