2020 Avalon TRD: Toyota President Akio Toyoda is a seasoned racer who has been working to inject more excitement into all of the company’s vehicles, including one of the most mundane.
The Toyota Avalon TRD is a sporty full-size car. TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development and is most commonly seen on trucks like the Tacoma and 4Runner, as well as high-performance equipment for the Supra and 86 coupes, though a TRD Camry is now available.
2020 Avalon TRD of Ambitious Execution
The Avalon is a massive sedan that competes in the rapidly dwindling full-size sedan segment and is frequently used as a livery car. It’s unlikely that the TRD will be used for that purpose, but it would be nice if it were.
The model has the same 301 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine as the rest of the lineup, but it has a lowered and stiffer suspension, larger brakes, an aggressive grille, and a body kit with piano-black accents, as well as a throaty exhaust.
The TRD comes with a set of heavily bolstered bucket seats with suede-like inserts, red seatbelts, a hefty leather steering wheel with paddle shifters, and enough of sporty red stitching strewn over a well-appointed cabin with just enough harsh plastic to remind you it’s not a Lexus.
Automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, radar cruise control, a wireless charging pad, and an Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Amazon Alexa-compatible infotainment system are all standard on the front-wheel-drive TRD, which starts at $43,870.
The improvements don’t transform the Avalon into a track car, but they do give you the impression that you could. The heavy steering, stiff ride, and swift 8-speed automatic gearbox give the impression that the car is serious about business, and there’s plenty of power to deliver some enjoyment in short bursts.
The Avalon, on the other hand, is longer than a Land Cruiser, which is wonderful for passenger room but not so great for parallel parking. It isn’t fond of slick city streets, which is a shame because it looks very stylish slinking around downtown.
However, the wide road is where it belongs, and while I can’t predict how many will make it there, its 31 mpg highway fuel economy rating isn’t terrible for a vehicle of this size and power, and it’s right in line with Toyota’s ethos.
Is it possible that a TRD version of the new hybrid Sienna minivan is on the way? I wouldn’t rule out anything on Toyoda’s watch because it already looks a little like the Supra.
Toyota Avalon TRD 2020
$43,870 is the starting price.
$45,835 (as tested)
5-passenger front-wheel-drive car with four doors
3.5-liter V6 engine
301 horsepower, 267 lb-ft torque
8-speed automatic transmission