This family sedan is rarer than a Lamborghini Urus.
The Toyota Avalon is not the first sedan you think of for spirited driving but it is the latest subject of the TRD department. A TRD trim level joins the Avalon lineup for 2020, adding a sportier aesthetic, aggressive interior, and handling improvements over the standard car. It won't give a Dodge Charger or Kia Stinger any trouble in terms of performance but in a world where most families tote their kids around in a vanilla crossover, we think the Avalon TRD is rather cool. Here are our five favorite features of the 2020 Toyota Avalon TRD.
The TRD uses the same 3.5-liter V6 found in other Avalon models, producing the 301 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. This powertrain motivates the car to 60 mph in a respectable 6.1 seconds, sending its grunt out to the front wheels. Most mainstream sedans have switched over to turbocharged four-cylinder engines but it feels refreshing to hop into a car with a strong V6. It offers smooth power with seamless shifts, though we wish Toyota would have spent some time making the transmission logic more aggressive for the TRD trim.
Toyota may not have made the TRD trim any faster but it certainly looks the part. Aesthetic changes include a black body kit with red pinstriping, black trunk spoiler, red TRD badging, and 19-inch matte-black TRD wheels with red brake calipers. Those 19-inch wheels aren't just for show either, they also offer a small weight reduction. The TRD trim will only be offered in four colors including Windchill Pearl, Celestial Silver Metallic, Midnight Black Metallic, and Supersonic Red. That last hue is a TRD-only color and is the one we recommend.
At the rear of the Avalon TRD, you may notice dual stainless steel exhaust tips. Just like the wheels, these tips aren't just for show and actually lead to a throaty cat-back exhaust system. Since the Avalon is so refined, it's a bit difficult to hear the exhaust from inside the cabin. But if you watch the car accelerate away from the outside, you'll have no trouble hearing its wonderful exhaust note.
When you step into the cabin, you'll know you are not sitting in a regular Avalon. The seats are wrapped in a combination of SofTex and suede with red stitching and red accents. Toyota has also stitched 'TRD' into the headrests and engraved it into the shifter. For an added touch of sportiness, the seatbelts are also red. The standard TRD floor mats with red piping also look pretty cool and will likely become a popular dealer option for non-TRD models.
Perhaps the coolest part of the Avalon TRD is its rarity. Toyota says it will build 6,000 examples of the Camry TRD in 2020 but the Avalon will be limited to only 2,600 units. To put that number into perspective, Lamborghini sold nearly 5,000 copies of its Urus SUV in 2019, meaning the Avalon TRD is nearly twice as rare. Chances are, you may never see an Avalon TRD out on the road.