As the company flagship, Toyota Avalon doesn’t have to sell in huge numbers, it just has to be the best it can be. In a side-by-side comparison to its sister Lexus ES, it is surprisingly the better car, especially when you factor in list price, interior room, and front end designs.
About those Lexus front ends—styling is subjective, but if there’s a race for “unique” front fascias, there may be a new winner. The 2020 Avalon TRD debuted in Los Angeles last November. Now, it’s finally ready to park on dealers’ lots. Whether customers will be attracted to the extremely in-your-face styling remains to be seen.
Steady But Low Production
The Avalon was new for 2019 and has been a steady seller though not in the Camry category. The last two years it sold around 33,000 units. In spite of being all-new this year, it looks to be on that same path for 2019. For comparison, Camry sold more than ten times those numbers in 2018.
Avalons came in seven variations before the TRD that includes three hybrid models: XLE and XLE Hybrid, XSE and XSE Hybrid, Limited, TRD, Touring, and Limited Hybrid. As can be seen, the TRD falls within the upper half of Avalon variants price-wise. Prices range from $36,755 for the XLE to Limited Hybrid at $44,105. TRD’s list for $43,255.
Powered by a 3.5-liter V6, it pumps out 301 hp at 267 lb-ft of torque. That’s a bit more than the middle-of-the-road XSE versions. While you would think the TRD might be nothing more than a “sticker car” you would be wrong.
What A TRD Features
The Avalon TRD features thicker unibody bracing for better body stiffness, 12.9-inch brake rotors, and exclusive dampers and springs. Outside the body is lower by 0.6-inches, more pronounced skirts, decklid spoiler, rear diffuser, 19-inch matte black wheels, and tinted taillights.
Those TRD wheels are said to be 18-pounds lighter than standard Avalon wheels. Oh, and the unique front end that deviates substantially from other 2020 Avalons.
Other unique TRD features are the modified cat-back exhaust which offers a unique engine sound, Sport SofTex seats with red accents, red seat belts, embroidered headrests, a red leather-wrapped steering wheel that matches the red stitching, and TRD floor mats.
There was a time when Avalons sold upwards of over 100,000 cars a year, but in the new sedan apocalypse we now live in those numbers have shrunk substantially. Could this version of the Avalon be Toyota’s last? While its numbers have dwindled, Rav4 is selling at all-time highs of over 400,000 in 2018. Its production figures have steadily increased every year since 1996, hitting 427,168 last year.
This is the plight of the sedan today. Whether the TRD was meant to boost those numbers, bring attention to the Avalon line, or something else, it remains one of those answers to the question few ask, which is, “Can I get a Lexus at Toyota prices?”
The answer is the Toyota Avalon.