'That Might Scare Some People At Stoplights'

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
8216 that might scare some people at stoplights

“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 [s]obnoxious[/s] amazing rear wing, there’s little to see of the Avalon’s shapely keister. [s]Hopefully[/s] 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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3 of 43 comments
  • BunkerMan BunkerMan on Nov 15, 2018

    I can't stop pronouncing TRD as "turd".

    • Lie2me Lie2me on Nov 15, 2018

      I thinks that's the joke that a lot of people do

  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Nov 17, 2018

    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.

  • Tassos GM, especially under the sorry reign of socially promoted nobody Mary Barra (who would not have a chance in hell being appointed the CEO if she was a MALE) has done far dumber and sillier things than that, wasting BILLIONS on 'cruise' and expecting it to make it $50 billion, remember? THey do not mention the name much these days, the clowns at GM, do they?
  • MaintenanceCosts I notice that the pictures don't show the dash or the door cards, two places where you'd be most likely to notice interior disintegration on a VW of this vintage.Looks nice on the outside but I wouldn't touch it.
  • SilverHawk At least in the short term, this is simply going to cause more anxiety among the more technology shy consumers looking to buy a new vehicle. Especially when this is not being done for the benefit of the vehicle owner, but for the convenience of GM's marketing department. Personal data security is an extremely important issue in today's world.
  • Ajla I don't think I'd be able to part with something I kept for 23 years. Especially as the only owner.
  • MaintenanceCosts What now?Lack of CarPlay would be disqualifying for me, and as a current GM EV owner I was a reasonably likely future GM EV customer. Not good at all.