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Toyota

2020 Toyota Camry and Avalon TRD seek to shed stodgy stereotypes

These trims are about more than just appearance.

Ask a dyed-in-the-wool car geek their opinion on the Toyota Camry or Toyota Avalon, and you might hear a range of emotions from, "It's fine" to "It's pretty decent." These two cars traditionally fall on the pocket-protector side of the risk spectrum, but a new TRD trim ditches all those preconceived notions.

Toyota has unveiled the 2020 Camry TRD and 2020 Avalon TRD. Both vehicles have been injected with some properly interesting bits of kit, whether it relates to aesthetics or performance. Yes, that's correct -- these upgrades are not about looks alone, and I think that's pretty swell. That said, looks definitely factor into the equation, so we'll start with the Camry, clearly the wilder of the pair.

Camry TRD

It's hard to look at the Camry TRD and not immediately be drawn to the rear end. Out back, there's one of the wildest wings to ever grace a factory Toyota. A new body kit adds a more aggressive front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser, all of which are claimed to be beneficial to high-speed stability. The front grille is a unique one that won't be found on any other trim. Red pinstripes, brake calipers and badges round out the exterior.

The Camry TRD also gets a new set of wheels, wearing 19-inch matte black alloys that are each 3.1 pounds lighter than the wheels on the XSE trim. Bridgestone Potenza summer tires (235/40R19) are standard, too. The two-tone getup you see here is standard, no matter whether you spec the car in red, white or silver, the only three colors on offer.

Inside, there are black sports seats clad in synthetic leather with fabric inserts. Red accents abound, including on the embroidered headrests. Red stitching extends to the leather-wrapped steering wheel, and the shift knob has a TRD logo embossed into it. Hell, even the seat belts are red.

But like I said, looks are only part of it. The Camry TRD gets stiffer coil springs that bring the car 0.6 inches closer to terra firma. The sway bars are beefier, stiffening the car by 44 percent up front and 67 percent out back. New TRD shocks are tucked away in there, too, and behind the front wheels lie a set of 12.9-inch brakes, nearly a full inch larger than the stoppers on the XSE trim.

Under the hood is Toyota's 3.5-liter V6. While it still makes 301 horsepower and mates to the same eight-speed automatic as usual, it'll sound a bit gnarlier thanks to a TRD dual exhaust that replaces the standard piping from the catalytic converters all the way to the tailpipes.

Avalon TRD

Toyota might be loosening its necktie a bit, but it's still Toyota. Thus, the same upgrades you saw on the Camry above will reappear on the Avalon with few alterations. On the aesthetic front, that means 19-inch matte black wheels, aggressive aero that's painted black, red details on all sides and plenty of TRD badging.

The story's the same inside, as well -- the seats are black synthetic leather with embroidered headrests and red accents, and the seat belts are as red as can be. The infotainment systems for both TRD models get a special startup screen, too, just in case your passengers didn't fully realize how much sport has been injected into the darn thing.

Even the performance bits come along for the ride on the Avalon TRD. Underbody braces are thicker, the ride height is 0.6 inches lower, and the suspension's been thoroughly revised for better driving dynamics. The brakes are bigger, and there's a louder exhaust system bolted to the V6. Safety systems, including autobrake, are standard on both cars.

Toyota's two new TRD models go on sale this fall. Availability will be limited, and pricing has not yet been announced.

Toyota Camry: Toyota's latest Camry already does a pretty good job trashing stereotypes.

Toyota Avalon: If you can get past the grille, the rest of it's pretty darn great.