And yet here we are, greeting the arrival of the first-ever Camry TRD and Avalon TRD — and leaving Toyota’s image as a maker of plain vanilla automobiles very much in the dust.
In recent years, the TRD’s performance chops have been applied to several of Toyota’s trucks and SUVs, primarily to boost their off-road credentials. That includes, most recently, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road introduced at the Chicago Auto Show in February (see list below).
But Camry TRD and Avalon TRD are completely different animals, delivering the track-inspired traits sedan owners have been clamoring for. After all, since the all-new 2018 Camry burst on the scene, sales of its sporty SE and XSE version have spiked. Response to the first-ever XSE grade of the all-new 2019 Avalon followed suit.
An Avalon with Attitude
TRD suspension tweaks lower the ride and the center of gravity of Toyota's full-size luxury sedan, contributing to more spirited handling.
You Want It, You Got It
Toyota simply took that trend to its next logical level, most notably in these five ways:
Hear It roar — Both sedans are powered by Toyota’s renowned 301-horsepower DOHC 3.5-liter V6 engine mated with an 8-speed automatic transmission. But this powerplant breathes easier thanks to its TRD-tuned cat-back dual exhaust. You’ll know it by its throatier sound at idle and when accelerating.
Low and Lean — Thicker underbody braces increase torsional rigidity, and both vehicles ride lower due to unique coil springs that contribute to a lower center of gravity. That translates into improved body control, handling agility and steering precision.
Make It stop – The flip side to spirited acceleration is controlled deceleration. The new TRD sedans have the goods on this front as well, thanks to larger front brakes with dual rather than single-piston calipers. And both also get Active Cornering Assist that reduces understeer by applying brake force to the inner drive wheel when you step on the gas heading into a turn.
A Higher Gear
The Camry TRD and Avalon TRD share this sporty automatic transmission shift knob.
Form and Function – Calty, Toyota’s U.S. design studio, fashioned aerodynamic body kits for both sedans, taking advantage of their edgier lines and TRD-lowered chassis. And the front splitter, side aero skirts, trunk lid spoiler and rear diffuser don’t just look the part, they also help improve high-speed vehicle stability.
Tricked-out Treats – Visual clues of these two sedans’ performance capabilities abound. Note the matte-black alloy wheels, gloss black front grille, polished stainless steel TRD exhaust tips, red pinstriping, red-painted brake calipers, red TRD badging, Black Sport SofTex-trimmed front seats with fabric inserts, red-stitched TRD-embroidered headrests, shift knob with an embossed TRD logo and unique TRD floor and trunk mats.
Head of Its Class
Red-stitched headrests are among the many TRD touches you'll find throughout both sedans' interiors.
Part of the Family
Both sedans are now on sale. They join the growing array of TRD models, including:
- Tacoma TRD Pro
- Tacoma TRD Off-Road
- Tacoma TRD Sport
- Tundra TRD Pro
- Tundra TRD Off-Road
- Sequoia TRD Pro
- 4Runner TRD Pro
- 4Runner TRD Off-Road
- RAV4 TRD Off-Road