2020 Toyota Camry TRD First Drive Review

Toyota Camry used to be a six-cylinder engine version. The 2020 Camry TRD, however, is the first of Toyota’s long-standing bread-and-butter mid-size sedans that one could actually construe as “sporty.”

TRD, which stands for Toyota Racing Development, is Toyota’s racing division responsible for building the company’s sporty vehicles and off-road trucks.

The latest Camry already features the most aggressive styling we have seen on the mid-size sedan but Toyota wanted to make sure you wouldn’t mistake the TRD for any of the other trim levels. You can spot a Camry TRD via its 19-inch matte black TRD wheels with optional Bridgestone Potenza summer tires, gloss black front splitter, side aero skirts, and rear diffuser with red pinstriping, cat-back dual exhaust with stainless steel tips, black lettering, red TRD badge, red brake calipers, and finally, the Dominic Toretto-approved rear wing.

As with the Camry XSE, the TRD model’s four available exterior colors are paired with a Midnight Black roof and black mirror caps. Toyota will offer the 2020 Camry TRD in Wind Chill Pearl (white), Midnight Black Metallic, Celestial Silver Metallic, and a TRD-exclusive color called Supersonic Red with other exclusive colors set to be available in subsequent model years.

There’s the rear wing — a Camry first — but also side aero skirts in black with red striping, extended front splitters, and a diffuser under the rear bumper. A gloss-black grille, special matte-black wheels, and a black roof complete the look. Exterior colors are limited to black, red, pearl white, and silver.

The Camry is one of the final holdouts still offering a V6 engine in a class that has increasingly downsized and added turbocharging, and that engine is unchanged for TRD duty, making the same 301 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque as it does in the XSE and XLE models. It does, however, get a revised cat-back exhaust system to trumpet more engine sound.

As noted, TRD left the Camry’s powertrain alone except for the exhaust system, but this V6 makes about as much as you’d want to send through the front wheels anyway. The Camry steps lively off the line, but with peak torque arriving at 4,700 rpm, the engine unsurprisingly provides its most muscular response as the tach needle swings toward 5k. With the revised exhaust, this vociferous V6 sounds better than any 2.0-liter turbo four at higher revs. But there is also a bit of not-so-welcome resonance when cruising at a steady 50 to 60 mph, although it’s pretty faint, taking a back seat to the noise from the Bridgestones. The wider P235 Michelin all-season tires and optional Bridgestone Potenza summer tires may add a bit more grip off the line but we expect the Camry’s 0-60 time of around 5.8 seconds to remain the same.

The interior of the Camry TRD hasn’t changed quite as much as the exterior but there are a few styling cues to remind the driver they didn’t buy a standard Camry. Only one interior color is offered, Black Sport Soft-Tex seats with fabric inserts and red accents. The whole cabin is filled with red accents including the stitching, seatbelts, embroidered headrests, gauges, and even the floor mats. You’d better like the color red because there’s plenty of it all throughout the cabin and there aren’t any other accent colors available. The rest of the interior remains unchanged from a standard Camry but Android Auto is a welcomed addition for the 2020 model year. Among the included features are adaptive cruise control with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

TRD sporty model to be the most expensive trim level but surprisingly, Toyota has priced it to be the least expensive V6 Camry at $31,040. Compare this to the $34,410 starting price of the V6 XLE trim and the $34,960 starting price of the V6 XSE trim, and the TRD stands out as a relative bargain.

 

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