2020 Toyota Avalon TRD
The Toyota Avalon continues to be one of the vanguards of a dying breed. It remains a spacious, comfortable large sedan that sits on top of a lineup that remains bullish on sedans.
But, did you know that you can choose between eight Avalon trim levels? That includes three Hybrid models.
When we reviewed the Hybrid Limited model a year ago, we remarked how much it has become the class leader in the way it drives and coddles you with luxury. That’s great, but did you know that the Avalon offers another side to its personality?
We recently received a car that is a total 180-degree flip from the Hybrid Limited. It is the 2020 Toyota Avalon TRD.
TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development, the company’s North American motorsports and aftermarket performance division. The name has appeared on various Toyota models, from the Tundra pickup truck to the RAV4 SUV. TRD Pro models are designed for off-road performance in trucks and SUVs. In the case of the Avalon and Camry, TRD models are designed for the street.
Combining an Avalon with TRD resulted in a few visual changes to the big sleek sedan. First of all, you will notice that the Avalon TRD is lower. Because of a set of new shocks and other tweaks to the suspension system, the Avalon TRD is dropped by 0.6 inches lower to the ground. It takes on the “sport” mesh grille design up front with a set of triple-LED beam headlamp units. You may notice two additional vents on the lower front bumper. Those are active vents sending air to the larger 12.9-inch ventilated front brake rotors, topped with red painted calipers.
The ground effects package starts from two splitters up front and an additional set of side extensions with aerodynamic channels keeping the flow of air going. Out back is a rear diffuser on the lower part of the bumper assisting in exiting underbody air. Two large TRD exhaust tops peek out of each side of the diffuser – a part of a TRD exhaust system that comes from the standard 3.5-liter V6 engine. The finishing touch is a set of 19-inch matte black alloy wheels.
In all, we have the meanest looking Avalon ever created by the factory. It helps to have this in red.
The TRD theme continues inside with plenty of red piping and stitching on top of a black and some carbon fiber-like trim. premium look and feel continue in perhaps the best cabin Toyota have designed for any sedan ever. We love the large center stack, with its solid piece running from the center console housing the climate controls and infotainment screen. The console itself is more open, thanks to a narrow shifter housing and more space for smaller items, including smartphones. QI wireless charging is not set onto the center console that can be enclosed with a cover.
The SofTex and Ultra Suede seats provided a mix of comfort and support, though some enthusiasts would rather have more bolstering to match its performance look. The rear seats offers plenty of leg room, but people with taller torsos may want to watch their head on the sloping roofline. Trunk space is generous with 16.09 cubic feet available without folding the rear seats down.
The Avalon TRD comes with a 301-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power from the hybrid system down to the front wheels. This driveline is fine and the exhaust does open up performance a bit. We were hoping for a bit more overall power. However, we did experience an average fuel consumption figure of 26.2 MPG.
Normally, the Avalon offers a smooth, luxurious ride. The tweaks from the TRD suspension firmed everything up a bit. The softness was replaced by a solid ride without extreme harshness. It also helped to improve the Avalon’s overall handling, with better cornering control and quick response through evasive maneuvers.
The larger brakes offer quicker, more solid stops in normal and panic situations. The pedal feel is superb with great response down to the calipers/rotors. The steering has a good feel and solid response from the wheel. The turning radius is actually quite good for a long sedan.
The 2020 Toyota Avalon lineup starts at $35,875 for a V6-powered XLE. Our TRD tester came with a sticker price of $45,394.
We already believe that the Toyota Avalon is a wonderful large sedan. The TRD model adds another dimension to this car. Is it the kind of Avalon you would want? Good question! It is worth remembering that there are eight different Avalons to choose from.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors