What’s missing from the latest Camry and Avalon? Well, if you ask Toyota, it’s the availability of all-wheel drive, and now they’re offering it to buyers with the new models to celebrate their world premiere at next week’s LA Auto Show.
For those keeping count, this is the first time ever that the Avalon will be available with an AWD option, and the first AWD Camry in 28 years, after the 1988-1991 Camry AllTrac. Toyota’s Dynamic Torque Control AWD system will be available as a standalone option on the Avalon XLE and Limited grades and on the Camry LE, XLE, SE and XSE grades.
Toyota says that the all-wheel drive system doesn’t steal any space from the cabin or the trunk and that it can revert to front-wheel drive when it’s not needed for greater fuel efficiency. The system can send up to 50 percent of the torque to the rear axle the moment it senses any slippage of the front wheels.
You’d assume that AWD would be offered with the more powerful engines, but you’d be wrong. Customers will be able to tick the AWD option only in conjunction with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which makes 202 HP on most Camry models and 205 HP on the Camry XSE and both Avalon grades, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The more powerful V6 models will remain front-driven, at least for the time being.
The original plans for the current generation Camry and Avalon didn’t include an AWD version, but thanks to the flexibility of the TNGA platform -and the market demand for AWD sedans- Toyota Motor North America was able to develop them in-house.
The engineering team used the same engine, transmission, transfer case and rear differential from the RAV4, as well as its multi-link rear suspension that was adapted and modified to suit the needs of the Camry and Avalon. Finally, both sedans use a modified version of the propeller shaft from the all-new Highlander.
Suspension tuning, wheel, and tire differences between the Camry and Avalon grades will carry over to the AWD models as well. For example the Camry XSE will offer the same sporty suspension setup and 19-inch wheels in both front- and all-wheel drive models.
The 2020 Toyota Camry AWD will arrive at dealers next spring, with all grades to be offered with an optional Cold-Weather Package which adds heated seats and mirrors on the LE, heated seats, mirrors and steering wheel on the SE, and heated steering wheel on the XLE and XSE. The new Toyota Avalon AWD will be offered as model year 2021, launching later in the fall of 2020.
Pricing for both AWD models will be announced closer to launch.