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  • Drew Dowdell
    Drew Dowdell

    Toyota Introduces Camry and Avalon with All-Wheel Drive

      ...get a grip...

    Toyota announced today that the Toyota Avalon and Camry would be getting an all-wheel drive option. It's the first time the Camry has offered all-wheel drive since 1991 and the first ever for Avalon.  AWD will be available as a standalone option on Camry LE, XLE, SE, and XSE trims and on the Avalon XLE and Limited trims.

    In both models, the car is powered by a 202 horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and an 8-speed automatic. Camry XSE AWD and both Avalon AWD trims get 205hp with their dual exhaust. 

    The AWD system is borrowed from the Toyota RAV-4 and is called Dynamic Torque Control AWD. It is designed to help with traction in slippery weather but not drag down fuel economy when the weather is clear. The AWD system can direct up to 50 percent of the torque to the rear wheels.  When AWD isn't needed, the system can disengage the drive shaft from the differential to lessen the drag on fuel efficiency. 

    Neither of these cars was originally planned to have AWD, but given the flexibility of the TNGA architecture they and the RAV4 all ride on, Toyota's R&D department in Saline Michigan was able to modify the cars for this new option.  The body of the Camry and Avalon was combined with the drivetrain of the RAV-4. Floor structure modifications were required, plus the use of an electronic parking brake.  The gas tank was modified, and despite of the addition of a rear differential, the trunk floor height remains the same.  The addition of AWD adds 165lbs to the Camry while the Avalon's weight remains the about the same as the FWD V6 model. 

    Camry AWD will be arriving for model year 2020, while Avalon AWD arrives in 2021. 

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    I was looking around to see what the next Camry might look like.  If you look at 2022, the price on the basic 4 cylinder LE keeps going up.  Before discounts, you're looking at a MSRP of about $26K to $27K.

    I had a rented Camry in February.  Some may dog it all they want, but I was surprised to see how nicely the 2.5 liter 4 cyl. (normally aspirated) drove with an 8 speed automatic with smooth, purposeful shifts.  And that, with that "big" of an engine and no turbo, the great highway fuel mileage it pulled in.

    So I found this one image, and one link points to it as being a design 2017 and another link points to it as being the future.  Here it is:


    Well look at that.  It looks more Alfa Romeo up front than appliance.  The front is a big improvement.  The sweep on the side is reminiscent of the Verano.  The roof shape is like that of the very first Aurora.  And, then, the rear sail panel / C-pillar is sort of messy, like that of the current Nissan Altima.  It's hard to comment on the rear fascia because you can't see it.

    This is the direction the next Camry design should be going.  I like this front end. 

    I think there are three things on the current car that need to go away:  1) the chunky multi-layered lower plastic grille - awful, 2) the rear sail panel curvature that looks like it belongs on a '72 Caprice,  and 3) the annoying 45 degree diagonal in the center stack, made even worse by a "laptop left open" infotainment center.  Don't be hitting the next redesign with the ugly stick. 

    What needs to stay is a proven, normally aspirated 4 cylinder engine with decent displacement and their nicely calibrated 8 speed automatic transmission.


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