Toyota is answering the call for all-wheel drive versions of the Camry and Avalon. A new Camry AWD model launches next spring and it will be the first AWD Camry since 1991. It will be followed by the first-ever Avalon with AWD that will arrive next fall as a 2021 model. The Dynamic Torque Control AWD system will be available as a standalone option for the Camry LE, XLE, SE and XSE grades and on Avalon XLE and Limited grades.
Toyota says demand for all-wheel drive passenger vehicles has increased significantly in recent years, due in no small part to the rising popularity of SUVs and crossovers.
Both the Camry AWD and Avalon AWD come with a high-efficiency 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine teamed with an 8-speed Direct-Shift automatic transmission. Most Camry AWD grades have 202-horsepower, while the Camry XSE AWD and both Avalon AWD grades have 205-hp with dual exhaust. Toyota says the new AWD system balances added traction with exemplary fuel efficiency.
The AWD system is based on the one used in the new RAV4. Toyota says the Dynamic Torque Control AWD system provides effective traction for inclement and slippery weather while minimizing AWD's typical drag on fuel economy. The system direct up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels, in response to acceleration from a start or slippage at the front wheels. When AWD isn't needed, such as on long highway stretches, the electromagnetic controlled coupling on the front of the rear drive axle can disengage the propeller shaft from the differential to prioritize fuel efficiency. The AWD is designed to re-engage in an instant when needed. AWD operation is transparent to the driver and passengers.
Toyota says adapting the AWD drivetrain to the Camry and Avalon required floor structure modifications, plus the use of an electronic parking brake and a saddle-style fuel tank with an optimized capacity for AWD models rather than the flat-style tank in the FWD models. Inside the car has the same rear seat hip point height as the Camry and Avalon hybrid models. Despite the addition of a rear differential, the trunk floor height remains the same as in the FWD versions.
AWD adds just 165 lbs. over the Camry FWD while the Avalon AWD weight is similar to that of its FWD V6 siblings The suspension tuning, wheels, and tires differentiating the Camry and Avalon model grades carry over to the new AWD models. That means, for example, the Camry XSE grade features the same sport-tuned suspension and 19-inch wheels in FWD and AWD versions.
The 2020 Camry AWD will arrive at dealerships in early spring. All AWD grades can get an optional Cold-Weather Package, which adds heated seats and mirrors on the LE, heated seats, mirrors and steering wheel on the SE, and heated steering wheel on the XLE and XSE. All other standard and optional features carry over from the FWD versions of the LE, XLE, SE and XSE model grades, including the latest Toyota Audio multimedia systems with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility.
The 2021 Avalon AWD will go on-sale next fall. Both XLE and Limited AWD grades will receive a standard heated steering wheel while other standard and optional features carryover from the FWD versions.
Both models are North America-only models developed in the U.S. and assembled exclusively at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky.