2020 Toyota Avalon Trd First Drive Review | Grandpa's Got A Hot Date

2020 Toyota Avalon TRD First Drive Review | Grandpa's got a hot date

DALLAS, Tex. — How badly does Toyota want to remake its image as a purveyor of reliable but boring vehicles? Very badly indeed, it would appear. We've seen the fruits of the company's effort with the return of the Supra sports car, but we've also seen it in unexpected ways, perhaps none more so than the arrival of the 2020 Avalon TRD. With an average age in the mid-60s, the Avalon has the oldest owner body of any model in the Toyota lineup. Yet Toyota has sent its full-size sedan in for a TRD makeover, and the result is  curious but also endearing. Grandpa's got a brand-new bag. TRD (Toyota Racing Development) is the brand's tuner arm, and its ministrations to the Avalon largely mirror those of the only-slightly less-surprising Camry TRD, which debuted alongside its bigger brother. As with the Camry TRD, the chassis has received the bulk of the attention, with the aim of improving the big sedan's handling. Perhaps owing to its senior status (or status with seniors), the work is not quite as extensive here as it was with the Camry. But you'll notice it on the outside, where the Avalon TRD builds off the XSE trim level, adding a larger front splitter below the gloss-black mesh grille, lower body skirts in black with red striping, black window trim and outside mirrors, a rear diffuser, and a larger rear spoiler (although not the Camry TRD's rear wing). There are TRD-specific 19-inch wheels, also in black, and the brake calipers are painted red. Exterior colors are limited to red, black, silver, and pearl white. You'll notice it, too, on the inside, where the TRD's seats are upholstered in perforated SofTex (Toyota's manmade-leather material), with microsuede inserts, and feature red accents and "TRD" stitched into the headrests. There's more red stitching on the dash pad, the door armrests, the steering wheel, and the shift boot. The floor mats are edged in red, and the pedals get metal trim. As in the XSE, textured metal trim is used on place of wood on the dash and door panels, but there's grained hard plastic on the console that is somewhat disappointing. Functionally, there's nothing to criticize here, and the 9-inch infotainment screen that sits atop the center stack includes hard buttons to quickly jump between major functions. Unlike the Camry TRD, the Avalon gets a sunroof. From behind the wheel, you'll notice the TRD changes most off all on a tight autocross course. We drove a TRD back-to-back with a regular Avalon, and the difference between the two was marked. Wheeling the regular Avalon through the cones felt like piloting a Ford LTD in a 1970s cop show. Crank the wheel in the standard Avalon, and you wait, wait, wait for the car to come screeching around the corner, heeled over on its outside front tire. The Avalon TRD, by contrast, still feels like a big car, but it's a big car that responds. Turn-in is much more energetic, understeer is under control, and transitions are far tidier. Note that this comparison was against an Avalon Touring, with its adaptive dampers in Sport+ mode. The Avalon TRD, however, does without that technology. Instead, the Avalon TRD uses non-adaptive dampers with firmer tuning and internal rebound springs. The TRD sits 0.6 inch lower on stiffer springs, and its anti-roll bars are stiffer than those of the standard model. The TRD also adds Toyota's Active Cornering Assist, which can brake an inside wheel under power in curves to reduce understeer and tighten the car's line. Additionally, the front brake hardware has been beefed up with larger rotors and two-piston calipers. The Avalon also has more robust underbody braces (three of them) as on the Camry TRD, but it does not get that car's V-brace behind the rear seatback. Nor does it get the Camry TRD's stickier summer tires, instead retaining the all-season Michelin Primacy MXV4s used by the Avalon Touring model. The Avalon's TRD-specific 19" wheels are 4.5 pounds lighter, however. The TRD is powered by the same naturally aspirated V6 found in other Avalon models, and it is unchanged for TRD duty. Displacing 3.5 liters, it spins out 301 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, distilled to the front wheels through a smooth-shifting and responsive 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters. In a sedan weighing well under 4,000 pounds, that's enough for robust acceleration, but not so much as to induce annoying torque steer. Even with a mashed accelerator, this Avalon goes where it's pointed. What is different with the powertrain here is the TRD-specific cat-back exhaust system. Although it doesn't alter the output totals, it does contribute to a satisfying, tearing-paper engine sound as the tach needle climbs past 4,000 rpm or so. The downside of the more free-flowing exhaust system is some droning resonance around 60 mph, but it's really not enough to disrupt the Avalon's still-placid highway demeanor. Nor is that demeanor totally upended by the firmer suspension. The Avalon TRD feels pleasantly tied down but not terribly harsh — at least that was the impression on the fairly smooth roads where we drove the Avalon in north Texas. Beat-up boulevards in the Northeast or Midwest might reveal something more. Priced at $43,255 (with destination), the TRD sits near the top of the 2020 Avalon lineup, just $200 below the Touring and $5,000 above the XSE. Toyota says production is limited to fewer than 2,600. That's not a huge number, but it should be enough to raise a few eyebrows and help raise the profile of this once-sleepy sedan.

Futenma Relocation Target Date 'impossible'

Futenma relocation target date 'impossible'

The Japanese government says it will be difficult to set a target date for the closure of US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in the city of Ginowan in southwestern Japan's Okinawa Prefecture.

Working-level talks over how to reduce Okinawa's burden of hosting US military bases were held at the Okinawa Prefectural government office in Naha on Wednesday. They were the first such discussions since July last year.

Sony Has Sold 100 Million Ps4 Consoles To Date

Sony Has Sold 100 Million PS4 Consoles To Date

It goes without saying that Sony’s PS4 console is one of the most popular consoles in the market today, and based on the latest figures, it looks like Sony has pretty much conquered this particular generation of consoles. This is because in the company’s latest earnings, they have revealed that they have sold a whopping 100 million PS4 consoles to date.

It has been reported that sales of the PS4 are actually slowing down, but in all honesty, it doesn’t really come as a surprise. This is because we are nearing the end of the current generation of consoles, where both Microsoft and Sony have actually confirmed that they do have next-gen consoles already in the works.

Hyde Announces New Release Date For 'zipang' + Asia Tour

HYDE announces new release date for 'ZIPANG' + Asia tour

HYDE will release his single "ZIPANG" on February 6. 

"ZIPANG" is a ballad that was written with the image of old Japan, and YOSHIKI (X JAPAN) participated in the recording as the pianist. As the coupling track, the single includes a cover of Duran Duran's "Ordinary World." This single was originally scheduled to be released on January 23, but was postponed due to circumstances in the production of the song. 

Pubg Ps4 Release Date And Price Confirmed

PUBG PS4 Release Date And Price Confirmed

It was reported recently that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or PUBG would finally be released for the PlayStation 4 in December. The report was completely accurate. Sony has confirmed the PUBG PS4 release date and price today. The wait will soon be over for those who have long been waiting for this title on the PlayStation 4.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was released for the Xbox One last year. It’s available on PC as well while a mobile version is available for iOS and Android. The title was a timed exclusive for the Xbox which is why it didn’t launch for the PS4 last year. Microsoft has taken some steps recently to keep PUBG fans on its platform which were also an indication of the impending PS4 launch.

Huawei Confirms Emui 9 Android Pie Release Date

Huawei Confirms EMUI 9 Android Pie Release Date

Huawei today revealed when it will start rolling out the EMUI 9.0 update based on Android 9 Pie to compatible devices. It has been running a beta program for the update and has now confirmed when the next iteration of Android will be headed to the Mate 10 and P20 as well as other compatible devices.

Imaizumi Yui's Graduation Date From Keyakizaka46 Set

Imaizumi Yui's graduation date from Keyakizaka46 set

It's been announced that Imaizumi Yui will graduate from Keyakizaka46 after her solo handshake event on November 4 at Kyoto Pulse Plaza. 

Imaizumi announced her graduation from Keyakizaka46 back in August. On October 3, she released her first solo photo book 'Dare mo Shiranai Watashi,' and in an interview for the book, she commented on her graduation, "When I thought hard about my future, I honestly didn't know what I could do by graduating this year when I turn 20 years old, but made the decision as I wanted to challenge myself to new things.

Princess Ayako's Wedding Date Set

Princess Ayako's wedding date set

Japan's Princess Ayako and her fiance Kei Moriya will tie the knot on October 29th at a Tokyo shrine.

The princess is the third and youngest daughter of the late Prince Takamado, who was Emperor Akihito's cousin.

Devil May Cry 5 Release Date For Ps4, Xbox One, And Pc Confirmed

Devil May Cry 5 Release Date For PS4, Xbox One, And PC Confirmed

Capcom confirmed the Devil May Cry 5 release date during the Gamescom edition of the Inside Xbox live stream today. The much-awaited sequel to 2008’s Devil May Cry 4 is going to be released next year. It’s helmed by director Hideaki Itsuno who was behind the previous title as well. Devil May Cry 5 will be released for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Capcom has confirmed today that Devil May Cry 5 will be released on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 8th, 2019. The title does borrow some styling from 2013’s DmC: Devil May Cry but it doesn’t follow that title’s storyline. It’s a proper sequel to Devil May Cry 4.

Dark Souls: Remastered Nintendo Switch Release Date Confirmed

Dark Souls: Remastered Nintendo Switch Release Date Confirmed

It has confirmed some time back that Dark Souls will be making its way to the Nintendo Switch. Bandai Namco has finally confirmed what the Dark Souls: Remastered Nintendo Switch release date is. The game is going to land on this platform in a couple of months from now after making its mark on competing platforms.

The Nintendo Switch port of Dark Souls will run at full 1080p HD resolution when the console is docked in TV mode and will run at 720p in handheld mode. It will have a frame rate of 30 frames per second. The title will also have support for up to six players in the online mode. All DLC is included in the remastered version.

Nintendo Has Sold Almost 20 Million Switch Consoles To Date

Nintendo Has Sold Almost 20 Million Switch Consoles To Date

The Nintendo Switch has been a hit for the company, and is certainly doing considerably better than the Wii U ever did. In fact back in April, Nintendo announced that they had managed to sell 17.8 million units to date which has surpassed the Wii U's lifetime sales in much, much less time.

Now according to Nintendo's latest financials (via Engadget), it appears that the company has managed to sell even more units since, bringing them to very close to 20 million units sold, or to be more specific, a total of 19.67 million units. While (almost) hitting the 20 million mark is an achievement, this is actually kind of a slowdown, but to be fair it is not the holiday season which might explain why sales aren't as high as they could be.

Sony Xperia Xz2 Premium Price And Release Date Confirmed

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium Price And Release Date Confirmed

Sony unveiled its Xperia XZ2 handset back in February this year. It features compact bezels, a taller display, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor – the core ingredients of a flagship smartphone in 2018. Sony has been selling it for $800 and if you thought that was expensive, wait until you hear the price tag for the Xperia XZ2 Premium. Sony has today confirmed the price and release date for the Sony XZ2 Premium.

Sony is going to start taking pre-orders for the upgraded version of the XZ2 in the United States from July 9th. Customers will be able to place an order at Amazon and Best Buy. It’s going to start shipping the handset from July 30th.