The 2020 Toyota Camry is unlike any that have come before. True, this generation set a unique tone from the very beginning with its significantly enhanced driver involvement, interior quality and overall style. However, the 2020 model goes even further by offering greater variety than ever. The addition of all-wheel drive satisfies requests by customers and dealers alike for a more all-weather-ready Camry. Then there's the new high-performance Camry, the TRD – it's highly unlikely anyone was clamoring for that, but if the goal was to show that a Camry can get the blood flowing, well, mission accomplished.
Now, in many other ways, the Camry is also like its predecessors – it's reliable, holds onto its value well and is very safe. So, while much has changed, much has also stayed the same. That's a good thing, and even if the Honda Accord is broadly more appealing, the Hyundai Sonata more distinctive and Mazda6 more fun to drive, the diverse Camry lineup is a must-consider.
For 2020, Toyota Camry customers have the new option of all-wheel drive when considering exactly what version of the popular sedan to buy. The extra two wheels of propulsion are available with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine on LE, SE, XLE, XSE, and Nightshade trims. No matter which trim is selected, all-wheel drive will be a $1,400 upcharge.
Autoblog's James Riswick tested and reviewed both the 2020 Camry AWD and the 2021 Toyota Avalon AWD sedans earlier this month, but at the time, Toyota had not announced just how much the feature would cost. The current-generation Camry launched for the 2018 model year, but this is the first year all-wheel drive has been offered, a corporate switch largely prompted by consumer demand.
PARK CITY, Utah – The next-generation Camry was in the bag, on-sale, and receiving positive reviews. High-fives, team. The new car was wildly improved, having adopted Toyota's new TNGA-K platform that would go on to proliferate throughout the lineup, including the all-wheel-drive RAV4 and Highlander. But the new Camry, like every predecessor since 1991, would be front-wheel drive only. That there is a 2020 Toyota Camry AWD shows that something quickly changed.
All-wheel drive had been considered during the development of the new Camry, but was nixed. One gets the impression it was a decision made in Japan. Then the car launched, and almost immediately a vocal group of North American customers and dealers started asking why all-wheel drive wasn't offered and could it be added. This coincided with a continued mass exodus from family sedans to family compact crossovers, at least in part because of the reassurance all-wheel drive provides (even if a good set of tires should functionally do the trick). Toyota of North America made the decision to quickly change course, to offer all-wheel drive on the Camry, and put its own engineers in Michigan to work.
To create the 2020 Camry AWD, those engineers needed to rework almost the entire floor pan to accommodate a prop shaft and rear axle. The only engine paired with all-wheel drive would be the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, which in this application produces 202 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque (205 hp and 185 lb-ft in the XSE trim). Besides it being the sole gas-only engine offered by its AWD donor, the RAV4, only 6% of Camrys sold pack the optional V6. On paper, that 2.5-liter would seem to be the same in the Camry and RAV4, but they are in fact different in tiny ways, and it's the RAV4 unit that finds itself in the Camry AWD. The minuscule output difference between the standard Camry (203 hp and 184 lb-ft in all trims but its own XSE) and the Camry AWD is actually the result of a slight restriction in the exhaust caused by the need to package extra hardware at the rear.
The engine is joined by the RAV's eight-speed automatic transmission, which possesses the required output for the prop shaft needed to power the rear wheels. That piece of hardware actually comes from the Highlander, but the rear axle and multi-link rear suspension are modified from the RAV4. To accommodate all of the above, an electronic parking brake was fitted and a new gas tank was created in a saddle design that arches over the prop shaft. To ensure there was enough room for the new tank, engineers turned to the Camry Hybrid's back seat, which is 10 mm higher to accommodate its battery pack. Trunk space remains the same.
Nobody expected a 2020 Toyota Camry TRD model before Toyota announced both this sporty sedan and the Avalon TRD at the same time. And even after that, we had a hard time believing that the Camry and Avalon TRD versions would be legitimately compelling drivers. However, the Avalon TRD managed to win some of us over with its surprisingly agile driving dynamics and aggressive design. We were hoping for the same to happen in our week with the smaller and inherently sportier Camry TRD.
The formula for the Camry is similar to the Avalon. Add suspension, sound and styling; keep the powertrain. Toyota calls the Camry TRD's chassis "track tuned." New, stiffer coil springs lower the ride height by 0.6 inch. Combined with more aggressive sway bars and TRD-specific shocks, Toyota says the roll stiffness is increased by 44 percent in front and 67 percent in the rear. Our tester didn't have the Bridgestone Potenza summer tires that come as standard equipment, due to it being cold and snowy in Michigan right now, but the all-season Michelins it did have were mounted to the special 19-inch matte black TRD wheels. Toyota also mounts larger front brakes on the TRD, moving from 12-inch front rotors to 12.9-inch discs, and two-piston calipers as opposed to single-piston clampers. As we foreshadowed before, the Camry keeps its 3.5-liter V6 that makes 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. Even the eight-speed automatic's transmission tuning carries over to the TRD.
DALLAS, Tex. — Autocrossing a Toyota Camry shouldn't be fun … should it? Everyone knows a Camry is best enjoyed from the rear seat, while your Uber driver chauffeurs you home after a night at the bar. Or at least, that has historically been the case. But Toyota's mainstay sedan has evolved into a car that also can be appreciated from behind the wheel, and buyers appear to be taking notice. Since the latest-generation Camry debuted for 2018, the SE and XSE models combined have accounted for some 60% of the model mix, according to Toyota. But the 2020 Toyota Camry TRD moves beyond those models, taking the Camry to a place it has never credibly gone before: a coned autocross course. The brand's in-house tuner arm, TRD (Toyota Racing Development), has to date mostly expended its energies making trucks and SUVs more off-road ready. TRD-branded models include the 4Runner, Tacoma, Tundra, and Sequoia. In creating the 2020 Camry TRD, the first TRD-branded sedan, the primary objective was to improve handling. Of course, the car also has to look the part. There's the rear wing — a Camry first — but also side aero skirts in black with red striping, extended front splitters, and a diffuser under the rear bumper. A gloss-black grille, special matte-black wheels, and a black roof complete the look. Exterior colors are limited to black, red, pearl white, and silver. Sorry, no beige. Inside, drivers are treated to red accents before they get the red mist. The TRD Camry's black interior sees red stripes on the seats and a red "TRD" stitched into the headrests. There also are red seatbelts; red edging on the floor mats; and red contrast stitching on the dash, steering wheel, gear lever, and shift boot. The gauge numbers also are red. The Camry is one of the final holdouts still offering a V6 engine in a class that has increasingly downsized and added turbocharging, and that engine is unchanged for TRD duty, making the same 301 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque as it does in the XSE and XLE models. It does, however, get a revised cat-back exhaust system to trumpet more engine sound. A stiffer structure always benefits handling, and the TRD folks have added a V-brace behind the Camry's rear seatback (sacrificing its fold-down function). Additionally, three under-car braces have been beefed up. The revised suspension features firmer coil springs and dampers and beefier anti-roll bars, all employed in a quest for increased roll stiffness. The dampers also gain internal rebound springs, and there are new jounce bumpers to preserve some semblance of ride quality. The new setup lowers the ride height by 0.6 inch, which pays ancillary benefits in the visual department. Toyota's Active Cornering Assist, which can brake an inside wheel in turns, is employed here and is exclusive to the TRD. The Camry TRD dons a set of athletic footwear in the form of model-specific 19 x 8.5" alloy wheels that are half-an-inch wider and 3.1 pounds lighter than the 19" units on the XSE. For maximum stick, they're wrapped with Bridgestone Potenza summer tires, size 235/40. Peeking through the matte-black wheels are snappy, red-painted brake calipers. The fronts have been upgraded to two-piston units (the rears are unchanged), and they squeeze 0.9-inch-larger rotors. We drove the TRD back-to-back with the next-sportiest Camry variant, the V6 XSE. In a tight coned course, the TRD exhibited far more grip, body control, and eagerness to turn in. Where the XSE just wanted to push, the TRD was less prone to understeer and ultimately felt more balanced. It also stayed more planted in quick transitions and was much more resistant to body roll. The car actually was fun to toss around. We also made time to drive the Camry TRD on the street, where the difference versus the XSE model was less transformative but still evident. The TRD car has retuned electric power steering, and that combined with the different (although same-size) tires makes for improved steering feel, with the helm noticeably more precise on center. It's best appreciated in Sport mode, which reduces steering assist compared to Normal mode. Cruising through a couple of fast sweepers, this Camry feels athletic, and isn't terribly upset by bumps. The roads north of Dallas were generally pretty smooth, but crossing a set a railroad tracks we did feel some impact harshness, and we suspect that over broken pavement the TRD's firmer suspension will exact a toll in ride quality. As noted, TRD left the Camry's powertrain alone except for the exhaust system, but this V6 makes about as much as you'd want to send through the front wheels anyway. The Camry steps lively off the line, but with peak torque arriving at 4,700 rpm, the engine unsurprisingly provides its most muscular response as the tach needle swings toward 5k. With the revised exhaust, this vociferous V6 sounds better than any 2.0-liter turbo four at higher revs. But there is also a bit of not-so-welcome resonance when cruising at a steady 50 to 60 mph, although it's pretty faint, taking a back seat to the noise from the Bridgestones. In all other ways, this is a Camry, which means it has a roomy interior, comfortable front seats, and good outward visibility. It has the same funhouse dashboard with its slashing curves, agreeable mechanical shifter, and fairly simple infotainment system as its siblings. The TRD-specific Softex fabric does a reasonable approximation of leather, and the red elements are sporty without being cheesy – but the red instrument markings are hard to see when wearing sunglasses. With a starting price of $31,995 (with destination), the TRD is the lowest-priced Camry with a V6 engine. It comes in $3,410 below the V6 XLE and $3,960 less than the V6 XSE. That may seem surprising, but the TRD's equipment level is more akin to the four-cylinder SE model. Thus, the TRD skips the sunroof, leather, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and larger touchscreen with navigation that are all standard on the XSE and XLE V6 models. Among the included features are adaptive cruise control with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Toyota says that production of the 2020 Camry TRD is limited but seems not to have settled on an exact number. We're told that fewer than 6,000 will be built. It would be a shame if at least a few of them don't find their way to an autocross.
For years, no decades, the Toyota Camry was one of the most boring, conservative and blandest vehicles on the market. It has long been extremely dependable and well-suited to a huge array of new car buyers but certainly wasn't the car one would buy if they wanted to make a statement and be seen. The eighth-generation is a little different.
The 2020 Toyota Camry TRD takes a different approach to its place in lineup than the 2020 Toyota Avalon TRD. Cars Direct, having seen order guides for the Camry TRD, says the sedan will start at $31,955 after a $955 charge for destination. That makes it about $2,000 more than the most expensive four-cylinder Camry trim, and $3,410 less than the least expensive six-cylinder Camry, the $35,405 XLE V6. The Camry TRD has just become the most cost-effective way to get the 93 additional horsepower that comes with the 3.5-liter V6. Compare that to the Avalon strategy. The Avalon TRD came in at $43,255, which is $4,000 more than the sport-inclined Avalon XSE with the same 3.5-liter V6 engine, and not even $1,000 from the most expensive Limited Hybrid trim. When Cars Direct asked Toyota about the positioning, the carmaker responded that the Carmry TRD should be judged against the mid-grade, four-cylinder SE trim that sits two levels below the four-cylinder XSE trim, and costs $5,000 less than the V6 Camry TRD. Since the TRD version gets performance and appearance mods like a tuned, lowered suspension, larger brakes, a TRD exhaust, black wheels, aero tweaks, and interior eye candy, the standard equipment list stays modest. The TRD sticks with SofTex synthetic leather seating and can't be optioned with the Navigation or the Driver Assist Packages. If the TRD trim mirrors the SE package options across the board, a moonroof, a blind spot monitor and keyless entry, and an Entune 3.0 audio system that bundles dual-zone climate control will be the only possible upgrades. Cars Direct didn't break out pricing for all Camry trims, but price increases are coming based on order guide figures for the SE, XLE V6 and XSE V6. The SE goes up by $200 to $26,995, the XLE V6 will cost $150 more, and the top-tier XSE increases by $110.