Is the 2020 Toyota Camry TRD Faster than the Mazda6 Turbo?

A TRD trim for the Camry may seem incongruous, but Toyota’s mid-size sedan makes for a decently sporty car. However, there’s another brand known for affordably-priced sporty cars: Mazda. In the Toyota Camry TRD’s case, it competes with the Mazda6, which has its own reputation as a ‘driver’s sedan.’ But which is the faster front-wheel-drive sedan? That’s the question the YouTube team Throttle House wanted to answer.

How do the 2020 Toyota Camry TRD’s performance features compare to what the 2020 Mazda6 Turbo offers?

The rear 3/4 view of a white 2020 Toyota Camry TRD
2020 Toyota Camry TRD rear 3/4 | Toyota

Toyota didn’t tune the Camry’s 3.5-liter V6 in making the TRD trim, Automobile reports. As a result, it still makes 301 hp and 267 lb-ft, and it’s still linked to an 8-speed automatic.

However, it’s one of a small number of cars with relatively close 0-60 and 5-60 times. So, while the roughly 3600-lb sedan isn’t exactly speedy, it’s consistent. In Car and Driver’s testing, with a 0.3-second rollout, it hit 60 in 5.9 seconds. Meanwhile, its 5-60 time is 5.8 seconds.

Instead of horsepower, the Toyota Camry TRD focuses on handling prowess, Motor Trend reports. It’s based on the XSE trim but has several additional chassis braces, new springs and bump-stops, stiffer stabilizer bars and TRD-valved shocks, and a lower ride height. It also rides on lighter wheels with Bridgestone Potenza tires and has larger upgraded front brakes and a cat-back exhaust. And on the outside, the Toyota Camry TRD has a rear spoiler, front splitter, and new side skirts, Motor1 reports.

The front 3/4 view of a red 2020 Mazda6 amongst marble columns
2020 Mazda6 front 3/4 | Mazda

The 2020 Mazda6 Turbo is down on power compared to the Camry TRD, but it makes more torque. Its 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, when running on 93-octane, makes 250 hp and 310 lb-ft.

The Mazda6 Turbo is about 25 pounds lighter than the Toyota, Car and Driver reports, but its automatic is also down 2 gears. As a result, in Car and Driver’s testing, the sedan went 0-60 in 6.4 seconds and recorded a 5-60 time of 6.7 seconds. And in terms of handling prowess, Roadshow reports the Toyota Camry TRD isn’t too far behind the Mazda. Though Roadshow also reports the Mazda6 has better steering.

Throttle House’s racing…er, testing

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Throttle House ran two ¼-mile drag races in its recent sedan test. The first was from a standing start, and the second was a rolling race. And on paper, it seems like this is the Mazda6 Turbo’s comparison to lose.

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However, it’s worth pointing out that published test numbers are the result of multiple, often-damaging test. It’s entirely possible to mess up a launch or risk destroying a transmission to get ‘good’ numbers.

Also, while the Toyota Camry TRD has more horsepower, Roadshow notes you really have to rev its V6 to get meaningful acceleration. The Mazda6 Turbo, though, has more torque, and as a turbocharged car, makes more of it at low RPMs. Depending on how its transmission’s gear ratios are laid out, it may be able to deliver a strong performance.

Which won, the Toyota Camry TRD or Mazda6 Turbo?

Unfortunately, the 2020 Mazda6 Turbo couldn’t overcome the horsepower deficit. In both the standing-start and rolling races it lost to the 2020 Toyota Camry TRD. However, it did better in the latter than in the former.

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Does that mean the Mazda6 Turbo is the worse car? Not necessarily. It might be slower than the Camry TRD, but it has arguably the better interior, Autoblog reports. It also has a larger infotainment screen, Car and Driver reports.

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Plus, while the Toyota Camry TRD may be the faster sedan now, that might not hold in the future. The Mazda6 is being updated for 2022, Car and Driver reports. And in addition to getting a new inline-6 engine, it’s also reportedly switching to RWD.

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