2020 Camry TRD & Avalon TRD: Toyota’s Idris Elba

  • Limited-edition Camry TRD and Avalon TRD are a first for Toyota. 
  • Both feature a track-tuned chassis, cat-back exhaust, and matte-black 19-inch alloy wheels.

Look, sometimes, all you want is good, dependable, solid transportation. The problem with that though is how good, dependable, and solid can be so boring. Nobody ever said, “Hmm, Idris Elba, or Jim, the balding middle-aged guy from accounting? I’ll go with Jim!”

Which brings us to the automotive equivalent of Jim: Toyota’s Camry and Avalon, and Toyota’s efforts to make them a little more like Idris.

Engine & Exhaust Notes

TRD, that’s Toyota Racing Development, had a go at these blandest of offerings (if you ignore the minivans, and I hope they do, because a TRD minivan might just work). However, if the specs are to be believed, the TRD Camry and Avalon might actually perform better.

Both are powered by Toyota’s 301 horsepower DOHC 3.5-liter V6, mated to an eight-speed automatic with sport mode and paddle shifters. There’s a specially-tuned, cat-back dual exhaust that breathes better and helps with performance. They also say it provides a throatier idle and acceleration sound. Okay.

Testing & Validation

TRD worked the chassis over with thicker underbody braces for increased torsional rigidity. The coil springs are unique to both vehicles and lower the ride height by 0.6 inches. The shock absorbers also get a tune to better manage vertical and roll movements. Specifically, the Camry TRD’s coil springs and front and rear sway bars stiffen things up by 44 percent in the front and 67 percent in the rear, according to Toyota.

For TRD models, the front brakes are larger, with 12.9-inch diameter rotors and dual-piston calipers.

TRD thrashed the things around the Toyota Arizona Proving Ground, TMC Higashi-Fuji Proving Ground, and MotorSport Ranch in Texas to prove the point. As a result, everything adds up to improve control, agility, and steering. From there, Calty did the styling, tweaking the aero elements, like the front splitter, side skirts, trunk lid spoiler, and rear diffuser.

2020 Toyota Camry TRD. Photo: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Carmy TRD Treatments

The Camry TRD’s matte-black 19s are a half-inch wider than stock. They also tip the scales at 3.1 lbs. lighter, each, than the outgoing models. Good for unsprung weight, good for handling. The Camry also gets standard Bridgestone Potenza 235/40R19 summer tires, taking away even more of that plain vanilla.

The Camry TRD has a gloss black front grille with a mesh insert and black exterior badging. Available two-tone colors include Supersonic Red, Windchill Pearl, Celestial Silver Metallic, and Midnight Black Metallic. On the inside there’s lots of red. The red-stitched TRD headrests, the leather-wrapped steering wheel, and even the seatbelts are red.

There are unique TRD floor and trunk mats, and the seats come in Black Sport SofTex with fabric inserts. The shift knob even comes with an embossed TRD logo, to further complete the cake decorating aspects of the Camry TRD.

Related: 2018 Toyota Camry XSE is not your average Camry.

2020 Toyota Avalon TRD. Photo: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Avalon TRD Treatments

The Avalon TRD also gets heated Black Sport SofTex front seats with Ultra-suede inserts and the same red accents, floor and trunk mats, and embossed TRD logo. The wheels on the Avalon are also matte-black 19 x 8.5-inchers that shave an impressive 18 lbs. of unsprung weight. The Avalon TRD will be available in the same colors as the Camry TRD.

Pricing & Availability

No word on pricing just yet, but they will be in dealers by this time next year.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz

Photos & Source: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

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