By on November 16, 2018

Image: Toyota

You’ve seen teasers all week, suffered through breathless commentary from NASCAR drivers, but it’s finally time. The big day has arrived. On Friday, Toyota pulled the remaining wraps off its Camry TRD and Avalon TRD, highlighting the features of its tricked-out sedans ahead of their official debut at the LA Auto Show.

Jokes aside, the TRD treatment applied to this pair is more than just an appearance upgrade, even if buyers aren’t the recipient of additional ponies. Positioned as an aspirational model for those who want more from their sensible, front-drive sedan, the TRD duo is designed to hold the road and stop faster. They’re also made to draw eyes to two models that, despite their heritage, remain just as vulnerable to changing consumer tastes as other sedans.

But are these really “the track-tuned sedans that enthusiasts have been asking for,” as Toyota claims?

Image: Toyota

I’d hazard a guess that the appearance of Toyota’s racing arm in the mainstream passenger car field is more likely to sway an already committed Camry or Avalon intender into upgrading, rather than bringing in outside buyers. An upsell via the eyes and ears, if you will.

The changes bestowed upon the new-for-2018 Camry and new-for-2019 Avalon in TRD spec are many. They include upgraded brakes with 12.9-inch front rotors and red, dual-piston binders (apparently borrowed, sans paint, from the Sienna minivan, as per Bozi Tatarevic), with 12-inch/single-piston binders in the rear.

Image: Toyota

Power in both sedans comes by way of an untouched 3.5-liter V6 generating the same 301 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque you’ll find in stock, non-hybrid Avalons and higher-end Camrys. Sport mode and paddle shifters come as part of the package, not that the latter feature stands to see much use. The only transmission is, apparently, a similarly unmolested eight-speed automatic — a unit your author finds fault with for laggy downshifts.

Image: Toyota

Once those ponies start charging, you’ll at least hear them. Unlike the questionable, audio-enhanced engine growl (I never noticed much of one) in the Avalon XSE, these rides benefit from a cat-back exhaust for a more menacing aural experience.

Improved roadholding comes by way of half-inch wider, 19×8.5-inch wheels shod with Bridgestone Potenza 235/40R19 summer rubber, with new, stiffer springs bringing a 0.6-inch reduction in ride height. Those springs pair with beefier front and rear sway bars, TRD shocks, and enhanced underbody bracing for decreased roll and bolstered body stiffness. Just how stiff these legs are off the track remains to be seen.

Image: Toyota

Of course, no bystander’s likely to notice those chassis upgrades on the street, but the aero enhancements detailed already on these pages will get their attention. The body kit applied to both models includes a front splitter, side aero skirts, trunk lid spoiler (mercifully low-profile on the Avalon), and rear diffuser. Red-line TRD strips underscore the add-ons both inside and out. And just look at those red seatbelts. Certainly, no passenger will be able to miss the TRD badge stitched or stamped onto various interior surfaces, and there’s even a trunk mat to remind them of the car’s unique nature.

Paint choices total four: Supersonic Red, Windchill Pearl, Celestial Silver Metallic, and Midnight Black Metallic, with the first three shades coming in a two-tone layout on the Camry.

While Toyota doesn’t list a price for these two beasts, expect the TRD treatment to run at least an additional three grand on top of the XSE trim. Availability comes in the fall of 2019, when both vehicles land as 2020 models.

[Images: Toyota]

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34 Comments on “A Question of Lust: Toyota Unwraps the Camry and Avalon TRD...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    They got the Pontiac treatment. Pass.

  • avatar
    Kenn

    I guess these might be considered Toyota’s answer to Kia’s Stinger, but with a front-heavy, FWD platform, they’ll never truly compete with the balance and dynamics offered by RWD (or AWD) for a performance-oriented car.

    • 0 avatar
      ACCvsBig10

      yeah since they knew they werent going to add any more power to the v6 they should put in the lighter weight 2.5l i4 and thrown a trd supercharger on top of it.

    • 0 avatar
      cammark

      weight distribution is hard to come by in spec sheets. But here’s what I found-

      Stinger GT: 52/48 F/R
      2018 Camry V6: 54/46 F/R

      remember, the Camry doesn’t have a lead brick in front. it’s an aluminum (and plastic) V6. And I’m willing to bet that even most enthusiasts can’t feel a 2% difference.

  • avatar
    Unionwolf

    Both of these cars would smoke a WRX and STI, hell the regular V6 Camry is faster than a WRX

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      Had to check this:

      Car & Driver for the WRX: 5.5 sec 14.2 sec @ 98 mph
      Car & Driver for Camry V6: 5.8 sec 14.4 sec @ 100 mph

      Not exactly a smoking there – more like a driver’s race with a slight nod to the WRX.

  • avatar
    civicjohn

    I guess this is their NASCAR play. I’ve got a football bat for sale if anyone wants it.

  • avatar
    Boff

    They’re all TRDs, if you ask me.

  • avatar
    Fred

    OK maybe my previous V8 Camry comment was a bit out there. But hear me out, find a wrecked Exige pull the motor and put it in. Oh look here it is already https://www.trdusa.com/superchargers.html

  • avatar
    DearS

    Just a little sportier Camry, not a bad car. Its a fast, reliable, family sedan not a BMW fighter, but reliability would have me taking a second look towards the Camry. Add this treatment to the 4 cylinder at a low price and I’d be even happier.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Tracked tuned with wrong wheel drive and an automatic? Please. Is there really a market for people who want a tricked out Camry? Bigger brakes, stiffer springs, wider tires? These all strike me and things most Camry owners would hate.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I dunno, I could maybe see a buyer coming in, seeing one in the showroom and deciding it’s worth shelling out an extra 50 bucks a month for Camry-reliability with a dash of sport.

    • 0 avatar
      Drew8MR

      I’d take the bigger brakes, but it would be cheaper just to get them off a wrecked Sienna. I still gotta think whatever enthusiasts are stuck in this segment want the Accord w/ the stick though.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        The mechanical bits are a good idea. I, for one, never understood the idea that buyers who want reliability, mileage, and four doors have no interest in handling. Maybe I’m and outlier in that every car I have owned was treated to suspension/brake upgrade modifications. Here, the factory does it for you. I could do without the cosmetic distraction though. Toyota should consider offering the handling goodies in the regular wrapper as well.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Why release photos now if they are not available for 11 months?

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Can someone please tell TRD that side skirts are not supposed to look like running boards? Why are Japanese body kits always such a joke? They think the idea is to make the car look like a hovercraft?

  • avatar
    V16

    I’d prefer the 2018 VW Passat GT over the two Toyota cousins.
    Less is more, when it comes to VW exterior design.

  • avatar
    tenrten

    Maybe if they hired different designers ! I don’t now the front end of the Avalon is ……….?., ?.. I have no words. I’ll pass …

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      I was just thinking that I definitely like the appearance of the front end of my 16 Prius over these two hideous things. Toyota really is making some damn freaky front ends these days. However I would trade for either one’s back end styling where my Prius is the most awkward looking thing evah!

  • avatar
    stuki

    I don’t mind the style, it does succeed in looking high quality; but cars like these scream out for a manual….

    You need to be able to mindlessly rev a bit, and to feel the mechanicals, in order for the lessened practicality to make much sense. While no faster than the regular models, you will feel more connected to the road, the engine sound etc. But without a manual and three pedals, it becomes a bit half hearted.

  • avatar
    brn

    I’m OK with it. The price will likely turn me off. Given what they charge for other V6 Camrys, I suspect this thing will be over $40K. About $10K too high.

  • avatar
    monkeydelmagico

    So Toyota finally managed to make a Camry that is as engaging to drive as an Accord and charge a premium for it. Bravo.

    Gave the Avalon the hideous Lexus front plastic fantastic swiss cheese make over. Golf clap.

    trds indeed.

  • avatar

    Kind of amuses me when high-performance, big brand tyres are cited as an upgrade. They may well be fantastic, but you just know that they’ll be replaced for a set of “better value” Chinese ditchfinders once worn out.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Really the fate of most summer tire equipped vehicles. People love the sharp handling right up until they have to buy a new set then its all “I don’t need a tire like that since I don’t go over 80. What can I get in something cheaper.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I don’t understand the hate for this car. Remember when 300HP was huge? And comparing it to a BMW misses the point entirely. There’s a lot to said for a big, comfy, cruiser with a competent chassis and enough stones to get your attention. This is the Japanese version of a big-block Caprice.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      I think the hatred is driven the fact that they don’t offer any extra power. So in that respect, they’re kind of like a “tape and stripe” kit, like the Volare Road Runner and Aspen R/T of the 1970s.

      I think they should have tuned the engine for a little extra and, in an ideal world, gave it a manual.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    No Android auto, no sale for me.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    The red Avalon is a perfect example of how ugly a front end can be. If I had one I would lose a lot of weight because I would puke every time I went out to the garage and saw it. I can’t think of an uglier car from recent times. Given the hate I have for oblesks in the middle of the dash, I would still buy a Stinger over this if that were the only choice.

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