By on November 1, 2018

Image: Toyota

Frankly, you have to wonder what took them so long. With all of America crying out for big front-wheel drive sedans, especially ones with conservative pedigrees and visual upgrades to appeal (plead?) to the younger crowd, a move like this was long overdue.

Yes, finally, Toyota appears ready to give us the Camry and Avalon TRDs we’ve longed for these past many years. Get ready, because these two super sedans drop on an unsuspecting public later this month. 

After that heaping (perhaps even fatal) dose of snark, it’s your author’s privilege — or maybe just duty — to introduce the latest additions to the Toyota Racing Development line. While Toyota’s tuning shop is most commonly associated with the much-loved Tacoma midsize pickup, TRD badging and accoutrements have since appeared on the full-size Tundra pickup and the girthy Sequoia SUV, which is no one’s idea of a brash, corner-carving street racer or ballsy brush-buster.


There’s also a TRD Special Edition bound for the 86 sport coupe for 2019, making the acronym’s further migration through the Toyota ranks nearly inevitable. An image tweeted by Toyota earlier today clearly shows what to expect from the Camry TRD and Avalon TRD. Mean, blacked-out wheels shod in thin, grippy rubber, red brake calipers, and a splitter to underscore those massive grilles. A minimal decrease in ground clearance is a possibility. Suspension tuning is TRD’s forte, though both sedans already offer a number of driving modes in uplevel trims — especially the Avalon, which gets quite stiff in its most “extreme” form.

Extreme also describes the size of that model’s grille.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

New for 2018, the Camry quickly earned accolades for its ride and comfort, while the new-for-2019 Avalon is more of a mixed bag of pros and cons. While it earns kudos for attempting to offer buyers a choice between comfortable interstate cruiser and sensible sport sedan, the effort fell short of the mark, hamstrung by the limitations imposed by two forward drive wheels and an eight-speed automatic with lazy programming.

Maybe some tranny finessing will be part of the TRD upgrade? Wishful thinking aside, it isn’t likely we’ll see any power upgrades to the otherwise fine 3.5-liter V6 found in the Avalon and top-trim Camry. The Los Angeles Auto Show kicks off November 28th.

[Images: Toyota, Steph Willems/TTAC]

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40 Comments on “Finally! Toyota Poised to Bestow Upon Us a TRD Camry … and an Avalon, Too...”

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I mean, the Camry and Avalon V6 are brisk and powerful. I wouldn’t say no to one of either with upgraded handling and even sportier looks.

  • avatar

    Wow I was ahead of the curve by slapping a small chrome TRD badge on the hatch of my Highlander?

    Good to know. ;-)

    • 0 avatar

      I did that in highschool with an SiR badge to my automatic Civic wagon with 92 blistering hp…

    • 0 avatar

      Principal Dan, with being so close to the Lone Star State, you could have slipped on a plastic-chromed Texas Edition Badge under the TuRD badge. Very Special indeed…….

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve often wondered why people do things like this. Anyone who knows what the badge means also knows that it doesn’t belong on the vehicle. Is this some sort of reverse humblebrag, making fun of your own lame vehicle choice?

      • 0 avatar

        Yes I’m being a smarta$$ when I do those things.

        I’m mildly amazed that Toyota never attempted a TRD Highlander, red brake calipers and all.

      • 0 avatar

        Not necessarily. I mean, as a VW guy in the 90s, I knew that SiR, GS-R and Prelude SR-V (*) were trouble, but I didn’t know enough of the minute visual cues to know which one was which – especially Integra GS vs GS-R, IIRC..

        I think this is sort of like the fake camouflage you see on some insects where they mimic other, more dangerous insects..

        * – Canadian models. Apparently, they were called Prelude (Si) VTEC in the US, which suddenly explains a lot about the “VTEC, yo” memes.. I only moved to the US in 2004, and have never seen more than a handful of them..

        • 0 avatar

          Yep our 4th gen Prelude had both an Si with a 160hp lower compression DOHC motor without VTEC, and the higher trim VTEC with a 195hp H22 mill. Likewise there was a del Sol Si (single cam D16 VTEC, 127hp) and the higher trim VTEC got the classic DOHC B16 motor (160hp).

      • 0 avatar

        Years ago there was a Ford Festiva (Mazda 121 built under license by Kia and sold by Ford) which was completely debadged and had Honda Civic faux-badging. It was hilarious.

        It was the ubiquitous turquoise, identical to one my dad had.

  • avatar

    Black wheels are a sure way of cheapening a car.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Can a Corolla XRS be far behind? The version from the 00’s had the larger 2.4L and a 6 speed.

  • avatar

    Let’s straight pipe this b*tch.

  • avatar

    Can we, collectively, PLEASE stop with the stupid red lines around the air dams of “sportier” cars? It’s becoming embarrassing.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    In addition to TRD there should be a Camry Racing And Performance acronym, just to tie it all together.

  • avatar

    TRD used to offer legitimate performance modifications for Toyota cars, for the Camry/Solara, most notably it was a factory supercharger kit for the 3.0L 1MZ V6. I remember the car mags testing a fully-TRD kitted out Solara: Supercharged V6, stick shift, handling/brake work and an okay-looking aero kit. It was a genuinely fast car for the time.

    This? Reeks of using the “TRD” badge to drum up some sales with mostly cosmetic modifications to a brutally ugly and decontented car.

    • 0 avatar

      Sport models really used to be a lot more unique. Remember how Honda/Acura used to be paired with Comptech? Or how Nissan was paired up with Stillen? It was cool to get TRUE performance mods with a factory warranty. I guess that’s still somewhat alive and well in the pony car market, but elsewhere you just get more bumper creases, wheels that are 2 sizes too big instead of the regular 1 size too big, and adjustable damping shocks that will live in the same setting forever.

  • avatar

    Well what good is all that NASCAR action for if you can’t sell some special parts and models? Not to mention all the European racing of the Yaris.

  • avatar

    I wonder — are there thousands of Camry and Avalon owners secretly champing at the bit for a slice of TRD SuperAction?

    Gliding through their dull lives, tuning out the raspy buzz of the new Dynamic Force four while enjoying the F1 style 8 speed pebble-crusher rifle-action tranny, marveling at the precision-fit passenger-side dash diagonal roll, a Camry prole can dream of a V6 Superstar Camry TRD, the legend! Yessir, lookit them red Eyetalian brakes! Black wheels! You too can be a bad boy as you unleash the DI power, 30 hp more than before which somehow makes it no quicker. That’s TRD for you! Performance, untrameled power It’s almost enough to raise the heartrate to a canter from an idle.

    As for the Avalon – Yowsah! What a look, the great fish mouth poised for a gulp of lesser prey! Strong. Bold. Criminally baaad ehhhss. Great Granpappy swore up and down he needed a road warrior for his last days hunting down alligators on Florida highways. “Secret is, yuh gotta get ’em from behind!”

    Kind of like Kleenex embossing frills on tissues. You know, for those special occasions when a standard Kleenex is just too plain. Achoo! Squared.

  • avatar

    I was going to say something but the Black Hole that is the Avalon’s grille inhaled it. Even light can’t escape that monstrosity.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes! What the actual F ??!!!
      “Boss. Everyone’s catching on to the black, mawl grill look. What say we back it off a notch?”
      Boss : “We’re just getting started.”

    • 0 avatar

      Might be the worst example of the oversized grille on the planet. It appears in the pic that the actual “openings” are a narrow slit at the top center, everything else is fake. I can’t image how bad that plastic will look in 10 years – sun faded, covered in car wash wax with gray splotches, and dead bug debris hopelessly embedded in the nooks and crannies.

  • avatar

    A giant grille on wheels.

  • avatar

    Don’t manufacturers put out performance versions of otherwise ordinary sedans just before they cancel them?

    • 0 avatar

      Given the Avalon shares the chassis with the Lexus ES (or the other way around if you prefer) I don’t see the Avalon getting taken out back and shot in the head anytime soon. Toyota sure isn’t going to kill the Camry.

      Manufacturers churn out these variants when sales start to flag. Bits of plastic, badging, rims, tires, interior bits, and some computer programming are all — cheap from the manufacturing standpoint.

      There will be peeps who will buy a TRD Avalon because “Toyota” and then challenge Hellcats to red light sprints because – dude TRD is AH-mazing.

  • avatar

    At least you can use it for dredging the river when you are done with it.

  • avatar

    Not a Toyota fan, but actually if they don’t black/red the thing to death, it could work.

    Don’t generally applaud the hi-po version that has no more power than the regular one (an of course they CANNOT make the I4 available in this trim on the Camry…), and TRD stuff on cars has always include comically-designed ground-effects-by-Hoover bodywork, but if they keep that to a minimum, I would approve…for the Camry. For the Avalon, at that price bracket, it’s just too easy to go with another product that has RWD/AWD.

  • avatar

    So Toyota felt compelled to compete with the LaCrosse ST and fight for the 16 buyers of these “performance” variants in 2019?

  • avatar

    I want a Velum Venom of the 2019 Avalon TRD right G** D*** NOW!

  • avatar

    I just want a cheapo Camry Hybrid with the panoramic moonroof.

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