Toyota Shows What the Avalon TRD Can Do With a Handbrake, But We Can’t Have One
Would be nice to have that as an option, though, right?by Kirby, on
The Toyota Avalon TRD proves that just because a model gets tagged as a luxury sedan, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a brooding, aggressive side. TRD’s inclusion in the model’s name should be your first hint that there’s something sinister hiding underneath that body. Your next hint, as far as this specific model is concerned, is the custom handbrake sitting where two cup holders are supposed to be found. This isn’t your typical Toyota Avalon, folks. This is a custom-built Avalon that’s in this world to drift. And drift it did with Toyota team member and Paralympic track and field athlete Jarryd Wallace getting to ride shotgun in the car with his father, Jeff Wallace, sitting in the back as drift specialist Ken Gushi took the Avalon TRD out for a few spills and thrills on a race track. Needless to say, the Wallace boys got more than what they bargained for. A lot more.
The Toyota Avalon is labeled as a luxury car, and for the most part, that label is justified. It comes with a well-equipped interior plenty of standard tech and safety features, not to mention the high-quality materials that cover pretty much the entire surface of the cabin. It’s not short on space, either. There’s enough space in both rows to comfortably accommodate even the biggest of adults. It doesn’t hurt, too, that the front and rear seats are comfortable beyond belief. But the Avalon isn’t a pure luxury car. Look at its exterior design. It’s aggressively styled in ways luxury sedans aren’t supposed to be and, if you’ve had one too many to drink, you’d think the Avalon’s face is here to eat you alive. Then there’s the engine, of which it has two options.
One of these options is a 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 engine that produces 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. That’s a healthy dose of aggression when called upon.
Knowing all of this, are we really surprised that, with some help from TRD, the Toyota Avalon could turn into a performance car/drift machine? Well, don’t be.
|Type, Materials||3.5-liter, six‐cylinder, double‐overhead cam, 24-valve, D-4S Dual Injection with VVT-iW and VVT-i|
|Valve train||DOHC, four-valve/cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke||3.70 x 3.27 in.|
|Horsepower (SAE Net)||301 hp @ 6,600 rpm|
|Torque||267 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm|
TRD’s modifications are subtle but significant. Since it’s going to spend more of its time sideways than your typical Avalon, TRD beefed up the sedan’s suspension by adding underbody braces that increase the Avalon’s torsional rigidity. The front brakes now feature larger 12.-9 inch rotors and dual-piston calipers, while the sedan itself sits 0.6 inches closer to the ground, thanks in part to some new springs that TRD also threw into the modification.
There’s a new cat-back exhaust, too, which has been added specifically for the purpose of drifting theater.
If you’re running sideways and the tires are smoking, you’d want more auditory drama from that V-6 engine, too, right? Aero updates are also part of TRD’s mission statement for the Avalon. It’s certainly hard to miss the front splitter and the rear diffuser, not to mention the decklid spoiler, the set of 19-inch black wheels, and the red brake calipers. While it still somehow looks like the standard Toyota Avalon, the TRD-spec version is a lot like Popeye after ingesting a case-full of spinach. The interior isn’t any different as red trim envelops much of the cabin with faux-suede inserts and red accents for the seats along with red stitching. The seatbelts are red, too.
Imagine, then, the look of surprise on the faces of Toyota team member and Paralympic track and field athlete Jarryd Wallace and his father, Jerry Wallace, when they found out from drifter extraordinaire Ken Gushi that the both of them would be riding with Gushi in the Avalon TRD for a little sideways action around a race track. Seems like a fun way to spend Father’s Day, don’t you think?
Don’t get too down on yourself if you start feeling a little jealous of the Wallace boys. The 2020 Toyota Avalon TRD will actually be available sometime in the fall of 2019 — that’s a few months away — at a yet-to-be-announced price.
It’s going to cost a little more than the $38,920 Avalon V-6 XSE, but if you’re prepared to spend extra for the chance to own this performance-spec Avalon, we’re not going to stop you from taking that leap.
Be advised, though, that handbrake that’s installed in the Avalon TRD that Gushi drove isn’t available as a costumer option.
Sucks, doesn’t it? Then again, even if Toyota — or TRD — doesn’t offer it, you can always turn to the aftermarket world to get that piece of equipment so you can drift your very own Avalon TRD until those 19-inch rubbers are shredded.
Read our full review on the 2020 Toyota Avalon TRD and Camry TRD.
Read our full review on the 2019 Toyota Avalon.
Read our full driven review on the 2019 Toyota Avalon.