'That Might Scare Some People At Stoplights'

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

“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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Join the conversation
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.

  • MaintenanceCosts Last year, I rented a closely related Audi A3. The overwhelming impression was of cheap build quality, although the drive wasn't bad. It had ~45,000 miles and the sunroof sunshade and passenger side power window were already not working correctly. Lots of rattles, too.
  • Lou_BC As others have pointed out, some "in car" apps aren't good or you pay for upgrades. My truck did not come with navigation. It was an expensive option. There's a lame GM maps app that you need to subscribe to "in-car" data. The map does not give you navigation other than to tell you where restaurants and gas stations are located. I'd want Android auto since I already pay for the phone.
  • Theflyersfan Given so many standard nav systems aren't the best and updating could mean a dealer trip, and I stream all music, Android Auto is an absolute must. Wireless isn't necessary and some wireless chargers overheat the phone. And there are some hacks that let YouTube stream on the screen - excellent for listening to concerts.
  • Jeff I going to guess by the condition of the body and interior that there is little to no rust on the frame. Appears to be a very well maintained car.
  • MaintenanceCosts Would not buy a new daily car without it.