By on November 14, 2018


“Win on Sunday, sell Camrys on Monday,” as the old saying goes. That’s what Toyota’s doing in the lead-up to this week’s debut of two vehicles you’ve waited patiently for. Nah, let’s be real. You’ve resided in a heightened state of suspense, nerves jangling, taking Ativan just to get a few hours of sleep, ever since last week’s teaser of the upcoming TRD Camry and Avalon.

Don’t worry, they’re almost here — and now there’s a whole Tundraful of eye-popping, pants-rending optical candy to feast your peepers on. But don’t settle for having us louts describe the TRD-ified family sedans for you. What does defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr., noted lover of Toyota, think?

“This looks just like the Camry I race — I mean, it’s so awesome looking,” Truex said when questioned by Rutledge Wood, NBC racing analyst and Top Gear alumnus, in a series of cringeworthy videos posted to Toyota USA’s Twitter account.


“As racecar drivers, we can appreciate these, for sure,” adds fellow NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, who joins Truex and company for a rip around a closed course. These men know Camrys, and they know TRD-developed powerplants. Problem is, we doubt there’s anything other than a stock 3.5-liter V6 under those hoods, perhaps with some mild breathing assistance from TRD. Certainly, there’s nice, shiny pipes on these rides, which are often seen in the hands of middle-aged or geriatric professionals.

“It’s on point,” Busch says with complete confidence, revving the Avalon’s engine. The camera then cuts away to a shot of sexy, red-accented Camry TRD and Avalon TRD floormats. Those accents appear everywhere in the interior of these vehicles, by the way, from the dash to the seatbacks and headrests, and wouldn’t you know it — the seatbelt straps are also red. Are these things even legal without a roll cage?

Turning the terror up to 11, there’s also rubber so wide and skimpy, it should carry a PG-13 rating. And those rear bumper valances, side sills, and jutting front lips ? They’re there to stop you from getting airborne. While the videos highlight the Camry TRD’s obnoxious amazing rear wing, there’s little to see of the Avalon’s shapely keister. Hopefully Possibly, Toyota’s camera crew was simply assuaging the car’s shame in not boasting a similar flight surface.

Out on the asphalt, we hear much tire squealage as Truex whips his steed (maybe it could be your steed one day…) in a figure eight to highlight the car’s mighty grip, with Busch piping up, “Stop, I’m going to puke.” We might, too, if these videos keep coming.

There’s nothing wrong with adding more power and panache to a well-liked family sedan (it’s encouraged, in fact), but these two vehicles run in the opposite direction of the Ford Fusion Sport, which adds gobs of grunt and grip while keeping it conservative on the outside. Online reaction to Toyota’s videos range from polite applause to retching and outright anger. As much as we like the Camry, unless the folks at Toyota’s racing arm tinkered at length beneath the hood, this amounts to nothing more than a better-sounding XSE V6 with a wild appearance package, upgraded binders, and larger wheels. We’ll see if there’s anything more later this week, when Toyota drops details ahead of the LA Auto Show.

Meanwhile, here’s the Camry ass your author really wants to look at:

Damn. (Not kidding, either.)

[Images: Toyota/Twitter]

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43 Comments on “‘That Might Scare Some People At Stoplights’...”

  • avatar

    Yep, just what Mr. and Mrs. middle-America have been waiting for, a scary Camry, so when they’re hogging the left lane people will leave them alone

  • avatar

    This fast and furious crap didn’t fool anyone in 1998 and it sure as hell won’t today either.

    Toyota USA thinks we’re all as dumb as they are.

    • 0 avatar

      No, they think these desperate attempts at shoring up sedan sales will work, they gotta prove Ford and FCA wrong. But, no matter how BOLD the Camry gets, or how far the Avalon tries to distance itself from its owner base, they’re still gonna get killed by Toyota’s own Rav4 and Highlander. Being (supposedly) sporty with and in-your-face styling isnt helping the Maxima, and it isnt going to help here, either. Safety regulations are making sedans less and less practical (including in terms outward visibility), and all the TuRD accessories in the world won’t change that.

      • 0 avatar

        It may be the sleep deprivation… but which safety regulations are making sedans less practical but don’t effect other vehicle formats in the same way? how does visibility, or presumably the lack thereof work into that?

    • 0 avatar

      Why on earth is there a TRD Avalon and not a TRD Corolla? You could actually see a hot-hatch Corolla as a viable competitor to the Civic Si or Elantra GT.

      The best thing about the Avalon is that it’s cushy and comfy, and the second best thing is that it’s powerful but totally anonymous-looking. It’s the Japanese Buick. Why make it a sport sedan?

  • avatar

    I would almost stop throwing up if they would just fix the front.

  • avatar

    The current Camry is the ugliest damn car ever produced.

    “Hold my beer”- Toyota design team

  • avatar

    Unbridled disgust.

  • avatar

    anything to shave a couple of 0.000001 stoplight times.

  • avatar

    I saw a murdered out Camry this AM on the drive to work, so silly and ugly! However it clearly has some awesome engine packed under the hood as it was easily keeping pace with my Z51 Stingray… as we crawled forward at nearly 8 mph between traffic lights. Maybe a NASCAR driver could have eek out another mph, but we weren’t turning left so not sure. I was too scared to race him and pulled off the road for a latte (NOT!)

  • avatar

    I’ll take that Camry two door to go, thankyouverymuch. The others? well, they’re great appetite suppressants…

    • 0 avatar
      Stanley Steamer

      I always had a thing for the wagon version of that car. I think it’s the double rear wipers.

    • 0 avatar

      mhmm. I’d be curious to see a Sajeev Venum Vellum on the XV20 Camry, either a coupe or sedan, ’92-’94 with the full width taillamps. I remember reading something about the stamping of that rear quarter panel/C pillar being something quite special metallurgically to give it that particular complex bend/shape.

  • avatar

    Place your bets…

    Greater total production – Avalon TRD or Lacrosse ST?


  • avatar

    Other than the spoiler on the Camry I don’t *hate* these as much as everyone else on here.

    That said the market is going to be very small and I doubt many dealers will even bother stocking them.

    • 0 avatar

      Unless they’re forced to.

      My local Pontiac dealer was forced to carry G3s at times to get their allotment of G6s and G8s.

      I could see Toyota scheduling a production run of these (say 1 per dealer) and then telling dealers they will take them.

  • avatar

    Screw you guys, I’m stuffing a V8 in one of these and blow your doors off. The ultimate sleeper challenge.

  • avatar

    I don’t think this is that crazy of an idea. My Optima is surprisingly fun to drive in stock form… with real suspension work, good tires, an LSD and a better transmission it would be flat out fun. But of course Toyota has to spend on hardware to build something worth making

  • avatar

    Wow, it looks grounded to the ground.

  • avatar

    Chevy did this best, all the way back in 1955.

    Yes that was a different time, and of course there were no paint/stripe/spoiler packages to speak of.

    It was just a simple 225hp Power Pack 265 V8 with dual exhausts, installed in a car that was already flying off dealer lots because it hit all the right notes, particularly in the styling department.

    The Ford Fusion Sport is probably the current equivalent.

    So yeah, I think you can take a model once known as a boring appliance, roll out a stylish new one, release some performance upgrades and change perceptions.

    But Camry styling is like Chevrolet in 1953 – homely and boring. It’s not even ugly-chic, just bizarre.

  • avatar

    Every time I see a pic of these cars, I’m reminded of the pictures of the rocket sled pilots from the 50’s. Or the poor [email protected]@rd with the three oranges in his mouth on the cover of the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street cover art…

  • avatar

    I really don’t understand the hostility toward the new Camry. For the longest time (including that coupe above) Camrys were BORING. Last generation improved and this one is great. I understand the strong styling is not for everyone but its not boring. (Same with new Accord which a lot of people pan). If they had a coupe with the current styling I’d buy it tomorrow.

    • 0 avatar

      Boring to you, quietly handsome and built with excellent materials and attention to detail to the rest of us. Now they are garish monstrosities that are merely on-par with the competition as everyone seems to have embraced cheap seat cloth and carpets, and cost-cutting beneath the thinnest of veneers of a few soft touch surfaces and a bit of stitching. The newest 4cyl Camry drivetrain is notably LESS refined than its port-injected 6 speed predecessor.

      Having sampled newer Toyotas in the form of my wife’s 2012 Camry (interior rattles, weak paint, torque converter rumble), I don’t see much of a reason to go back to the well by default.

      • 0 avatar

        The reason for buying a new Toyota is that every other automaker including Honda is building disposable junk under the pressure of Obama’s CAFE.

        • 0 avatar

          Todd Toyota may have hung-on longer than others, but they are very much going the same direction. Cut costs where they think you can’t see or won’t notice, eke out a bit more mpg at a cost of longevity.

      • 0 avatar

        gtem, WOW.

        I also drive a 2012 Camry … the hybrid LE model. And, I love it. Only problems are a small rattle from the grab handles, and dozens of small rock chips in the front bumper.

        Big pain in the ass is watching the front bumper … so far, I have not ripped it up on a parking block. But, it has taken years of effort for that not to happen.

        Only problem is, all of a sudden, the 12-14 Camry body style has become a favorite among the Mexican gang members. They are driving these with custom wheels, heavily tinted windows, and a paint shine that does not quit. Because of this development, Newport Beach police always do a double take when I drive by. Nothing scares me more than getting pulled over after a few drinks at dinner … cause I drive the wrong car. This is a major problem for me … I am thinking about trading it in just to get rid of this issue. Otherwise, I would keep it for many years. It looks much better than the new model … even the Mexican gang members agree … I have never seen the Mexican gangs drive a 2015 or newer Camry … but tons of the 12 – 14 models can be seen in areas such as Santa Ana, Lomita, Fullerton, Carson, …. you get the idea.

  • avatar

    “Win on Sunday, sell Camrys on Monday”

    Yeah, because those V8 engined, RWD, tube frame NASCAR racers with Camry decals are so similar to the actual Camry they can buy.

  • avatar

    It’s a rolling scarab beetle. If gazed upon from the front.

    What the neck are those vent things on the back drooping from the taillights down to the bumper even for? That’s confused me since this dropped.

  • avatar

    Every time I see these all I think about is how in a couple of months the front grill/bumper thingy is going to be full of cracks and little pieces of plastic grill will have fallen out from being tapped when parallel parking.

    I guess that’s the new styling replacement for the venerable Camry dimple.

  • avatar

    The Camry TRD looks quite comical, but the Avalon TRD looks quite athletic and sporty.

  • avatar

    Jay Leno vs Tim Allen drag race, Jay play the dummy who drives with wife’s Camry, but that Camry packs a 5.7 Liter V8.

  • avatar

    Why are the front ends of the Camry and Avalon so damn ugly? The Lexus gaping maw is bad enough but at least has some cohesion. The mugs on the Terrible Toyota Two are just a disjointed mess.

  • avatar

    I can’t stop pronouncing TRD as “turd”.

  • avatar

    The only thing I like about this car is the color of it. Toyota picked a good one. If only the rest of it wasn’t just a total mess. Why do almost all new cars have to resemble a squished egg with a squinty angry bug face on the front, with all kinds of fake vents and a giant gaping mouth? And in the back? More bad looking stuff. Tailights being weird for weird’s sake, and almost always, topped off with bizarre wheels to make a very ugly car. Toss in FWD to make it totally undesirable. The last Toyota product I ever wanted was one of the old turbo L6 Supras. That was a long time ago. Honda has never made any car/CUV/SUV that I have ever had the slightest interest in buying. I will be dead in 20 years tops, so I’m moving out of any car company’s future demographic, so it’s probably meaningless that I hate the way so many new cars look, as I may have just bought my last, or probably next to last car.

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