Snow and sleet have a couple of new enemies.
In a bid to compete with rivals such as the Subaru Legacy and other popular crossovers, Toyota has officially unveiled all-wheel drive versions of the 2020 Camry and 2021 Avalon. Never before has the Avalon been offered with AWD, and it's the first time offered on the Camry since 1991. Thanks to the flexibility of the TNGA platform, the AWD system is derived from the RAV4 compact crossover and will be offered on all Camry trims, save for the base L and hybrid versions. A majority of Camrys come powered by a 2.5-liter inline-four with 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The new AWD system allows for up to half of that torque to be used for the rear wheels if the front wheels slip or are buried in heavy snow. The V6 Camry will not be offered with AWD.
Toyota claims the addition of AWD will not put a significant dent in fuel economy thanks to a trick feature where the rear axle can be disengaged while cruising. The system engages automatically when needed and interior space is about the same as the Camry and Avalon hybrid models. It does add around 165 pounds over the Camry FWD but the Avalon AWD's weight is similar to that of its FWD counterpart.
The 2021 Avalon AWD will be available in XLE and Limited trims. Toyota says owners can expect both sedans to offer similar ride and handling characteristics as the FWD models, so don't expect any performance enhancements thanks to the added grip.
The 2020 Camry AWD is expected to arrive in dealerships early next spring. All AWD trims can get the optional Cold-Weather Package, which includes heated seats and mirrors on the LE, while the SE receives those plus a heated steering wheel. XLE and XSE models also get a heated steering wheel. The Avalon AWD is a 2021 model and will go on sale next fall, and comes with a standard heated steering wheel.
Official pricing for both sedans have yet to be announced, but a reasonable guess would be an additional $1,500 over the base price.