This will be the first time the Camry has offered AWD since 1991, and the first time the Avalon has ever offered it. The system Toyota is implementing is called Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel-Drive. (“Admittedly, the system name is a mouthful; Camry and Avalon models equipped with it will carry a simple ‘AWD’ badge on their trunk lids,” Toyota’s press release reads.) It’s designed to provide traction in slippery conditions, but the rear axle can disengage in low-load situations like highway cruising, to minimize the system’s effect on fuel economy.
Considers this a global platform win for Toyota; as these cars are built on the same TNGA platform as the RAV4, it enabled the company to fit the crossover‘s engine, transmission and suspension to the Camry and Avalon body styles, enabling the addition of AWD at minimal cost.
Expanding sedan options within the Toyota lineup makes sense. While that market has been diminishing in America, it’s still a significant portion of the market, which now has less competition thanks to domestic companies such as Ford departing. Adding all-wheel-drive, in particular, eliminates one of the major reasons many buyers would buy a crossover instead of a sedan.
Many will welcome this move — though there are a couple of catches. Camry and Avalon AWD models will only be offered with a four-cylinder engine making 202–205 horsepower, depending on trim. The reasonably-priced 300-hp all-wheel-drive sedan of your winter dreams will not be happening.
And while these cars will be great for winter, it won’t be for this winter. The AWD Camry won’t arrive until spring 2020, while the Avalon will appear in fall 2020 for the 2021 model year.
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