Toyota Racing Development has taken an interest in two of the carmaker's mainstream volume sedans, the Camry and the Avalon. For the first time, a Camry TRD and an Avalon TRD will be available to consumers who want a more track-tuned experience from their sedan.
Adding race track-inspired items to cars is nothing new, with manufacturers since time immemorial attempting to give performance credibility to daily drives by adding sporty names or branded tuning bits. Nissan has NISMO, Dodge has SRT, BMW has M ... it's not new. Toyota, however, has generally limited its addition of the TRD name to off-road vehicles, building on the rally credibility of its race teams. Then came the announcement of the Toyota 86 TRD Special Edition.
Now it appears that the gloves are off, and Toyota's engineers are free to add the TRD name to whatever they can market. Adding TRD to the Camry and Avalon also adds some chassis improvements and tuning in the engine compartment. So the branding is not in name only, but actually includes some real upgrades for the cars.
Styling changes for the cars is part-and-parcel to the performance tuning market. Both the full-sized Avalon and the midsized Camry already saw some sport-themed changes with their XSE and SE variants. To improve upon that, Toyota's TRD arm took the Camry SE and Avalon XSE and added a lower stance, aerodynamic elements to the bodywork, plus red pinstriping and brake calipers. The aero elements include a new front splitter, side skirts, a deck lid spoiler, and rear diffuser – all of which help improve handling through aerodynamics.
Going with those exterior changes, more changes under the skin of the Avalon and Camry sedans comes through TRD engineering and testing at Toyota's proving grounds in Arizona, Japan and Texas. Thicker underbody braces increase torsional rigidity while TRD-made coil springs lower body height by over half an inch (13 mm). Tuned shock absorbers and 19 x 8.5-inch alloy wheels improve handling and body control as well. Upgraded front brakes add almost an inch (25 mm) to the rotor diameter (from 12.0 to 12.9 inches), now with dual-piston calipers replacing the single-piston ones found on the XSE models.
Changes under the hood for the Camry TRD and Avalon TRD models enhance the 3.5-liter V6 engine found in both cars. The 301-horsepower (224 kW) engine sees some tuning changes thanks to a new cat-back dual exhaust system. The expanded power band meant that retuning of the eight-speed automatic transmission (with paddle shifting) was required, adding more sport dynamics to the drive quality. All of this has resulted in a throatier exhaust and acceleration sound, Toyota says.
The improvements to the vehicles also include interior changes to include TRD red elements throughout, from the stitched headrests to the red seat belts and embossed TRD logos. Paint colors for the cars will include Supersonic Red, Windchill Pearl, and Celestial Silver Metallic in two-tone as well as Midnight Black Metallic as a monotone.
Toyota says that the Camry and Avalon TRD models will enter the market in mid-to-late 2019 as 2020 model year variants.
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