PINEHURST, NC — July 21, 2020 — Both Laurie and I found this week’s car rather interesting. Yes, it’s a Toyota; and yes, its an Avalon, the traditionally family sedan. But it wears the TRD label, which stands for Toyota Racing Development. So, what we have here is a family wannabe race car. Sorry, I don’t know any other way to say it.
The first picture is a side view of the car in our driveway. The second one is a stock one right off a Car and Driver review. Why, you say, and not Toyota’s website? Because I couldn’t find a good representative picture of the car we drove all week. The actual car we drove is also pictured following this because no picture I found really did the car justice.
This does not look like your family sedan. Notice the blacked out exterior trim, now low the car appears to the ground, the gigantic grill (usually a sign of a monster radiator to cool a monster engine), the sweeping aerodynamic lines, and the rear spoiler to keep the car hugging the turns.
It’s all cool – seriously! But when you consider that this race car wannabe is powered by a 3.5 L, 301 HP, V6 (that’s right – V6, not V8), something in my brain says “Wait, I’m missing something here.”
On every muscle car we have ever had, the exhaust system was set up to give that pleasing roar that only many horses begging to be unleashed could give. Fire up the Avalon, and there was this gentle ‘Ahem’, followed by ‘Hummmmmmm’, not a roar that said ‘Explosion to come!’.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many, many wonderful things about the Avalon, and I intend to share them with you, but Toyota Racing Development? Not seeing it. Sorry.
Okay, to the really good stuff. … Here are two things everyone likes, 1. A Five Star Safety Rating, and 2. A price tag of $45K with only $2k of options added to the base sticker of $42,300. Who doesn’t like Safe and Affordable?
Let’s talk about what you get for your $42K. First, there is the aforementioned; V6 engine, which also features Dual Overhead Camshafts (DOHC); Direct Shift 8 Speed Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission; TRD-tuned Front and Rear Suspension; Thicker Underbody Braces; and 12.9” Front Rotors with Dual Piston Caliper. What does all this mean? Better handling, smoother acceleration, great cornering and handling, and maximum stopping power. Sounds race car inspired, doesn’t it? Yep, that’s what it is.
Next, always my personal favorite – Safety. Collisions that result in injury may be caused by the delay in a driver’s recognition of the situation and their ability to react accordingly. According to NHTSA, there were over 7.2 million reported crashes in 2016 – many of which were avoidable. Toyota Safety Sense™ (TSS) is designed to help protect drivers, passengers, people in other vehicles on the road, and pedestrians from harm. SS features help address three key areas of accident protection: preventing or mitigating frontal collisions, keeping drivers within their lane, and enhancing road safety during nighttime driving.
Then you have the “P”, of TSS-P. TSS-P consists of four active safety and driver assistance systems: Pre-Collision System (PCS),with Vehicle and Pedestrian Detection and Blind Spot Monitoring, plus Rear Cross Traffic Alert; Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC); Lane Departure Alert (LDA); and Automatic High Beams (AHB).
Feeling safer? I am
How about a review of the ‘Standard’ interior as well? They use quite a bit of red stitched TRD logo everywhere, but the important things like heated seats are there, 8-way Power Driver and Passenger Seat with 2-Way Power Driver Lumbar Support. Also standard are hands free Bluetooth Phone and Music; USB Media port; four USB Charge Ports, Sirius XM; and QI Comp Wireless Charging.
Our 2020 Toyota Avalon had a $1760 upgraded Premium Audio System with JBL with Clari-Fi Dynamic Navigation and App Suite. We also had 14 speakers, a subwoofer, a 1200-Watt Amplifier, and a 9” Touch Screen.
I thought the 2020 Toyota Avalon was more of a sheep in wolf’s clothing, but I liked the sheep. Cool looking, comfortable, roomy, quiet, great handling, with a good ride.
If you haven’t gotten over your hot rod days, and you have two kids to take with you on your outings, the Toyota Avalon TRD just might prolong that youthful adventure a little longer.
10760 US-501, Southern Pines, NC 28388
Tel: (833) 267-2310.
For our listeners in the New York Metropolitan area…
DCH Toyota City in Mamaroneck at 1305 East Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck, New York 10543. Tel: (914) 698-8120. https://www.dchtoyotacity.com/
Mariano Rivera Toyota of Mt. Kisco, at 325 N Bedford Road, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549. Tel: (914) 666-5181. https://www.riveratoyota.com
New Rochelle Toyota, at 47 Cedar St, New Rochelle, NY 10801. Tel: (914) 576-8000. https://www.newrochelletoyota.com/
Westchester Toyota at 2167 Central Park Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10710. https://www.westchestertoyota.com