2020 Toyota Avalon TRD is a sporty upgrade to a traditional family sedan Featured

Posted On Wednesday, 09 September 2020 01:09 Written by
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The 2020 Toyota Avalon TRD brings a new edge to a traditional family sedan. The 2020 Toyota Avalon TRD brings a new edge to a traditional family sedan. Photo courtesy of Toyota

What’s that you say? A sporty Toyota Avalon? Have pigs started to fly?

No, the pigs are not yet airborne. But yes, starting with the 2020 model year, Toyota has given the TRD treatment to its traditional, full-size family sedan, and the Avalon has a very cool, racecar-looking version that may appeal to a different segment of car buyers.


To get right to the point, the Avalon TRD is definitely a looker. It garnered a lot of attention while I was driving it, and for good reason.

Up front, you get a truly aggressive-looking spiderweb grille design, on the tires you get a distinctive black and red look, and on the rear you get dual exhaust with polished tips and a piano black rear spoiler. It's also immediately noticeable how low to the ground this vehicle is.

The Avalon TRD features 19-inch matte black alloy wheels, red painted brake calipers, and front side and rear Aero kit with red pinstriping.

Inside the Avalon TRD, the design theme continues with a red-and-black scheme that is racecar-inspired, down to details like the red stitching. Sizewise, it is very roomy inside for all passengers, and quality materials are used throughout the vehicle.

TRD logos are stitched into the headrests, floor mats and shift knob. You also get heated front seats, and 8-way power driver and passenger seats, with lumbar support for the driver.


As a general rule, Toyota is known more for its reliability than its performance, so I rarely get the chance to say this: I truly enjoyed every moment of my time driving the Avalon TRD.

Powered by a 3.5-liter, V6 engine, and boasting 301 horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. of torque, the Avalon TRD was a tremendously thrilling ride. The only real downside is that it only comes in FWD, with no All-wheel drive option.

The vehicle features an 8-speed automatic transmission, and its performance is helped tremendously by features such as the TRD-tuned front and rear suspension, and 12.9 inch front rotors with dual-piston caliper.

The Avalon TRD gets moving very quickly, and can go 0-to-60 in about 6 seconds effortlessly. Beyond just pure speed, the joy of driving the Avalon TRD is in the overall experience and its responsiveness. The vehicle brakes instantly, corners smoothly and is rather quiet the entire time. The smoothness and excellent handling of the ride stands out in addition to the power.


Toyota delivers, as usual, with a bevy of standard safety features.

The Toyota Safety Sense P package is included on every Avalon. It includes: Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist and automatic high beams.

Also included on the Avalon TRD is blind spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic alert.

The infotainment system centers around an Audio Plus 9-inch touchscreen.

In my experience, voice controls worked very well on the infotainment system In the Avalon TRD. With rare exception, the system understood my voice commands for navigation on my first attempt. The vehicle was even able to understand more complex commands such as: “Find a Japanese restaurant in Madison Heights, Michigan,” and quickly show me my options. 

You can also change radio stations by category — such as country music or comedy — with ease via voice, and phone calls also work well through voice command.

The physical design of the infotainment system is a bit dated and could use an upgrade. Buttons are generally easy to use, but look dated compared to rivals. But this may be a case where simple may be better to some extent, as the job gets done even if it's not the prettiest looking.

A standard sound system features 8 speakers, includes hands-free Bluetooth for phone calls and music streaming. The vehicle includes 1 USB media port, 4 USB charging ports, 3 months free of SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Apple CarPlay for phone mirroring. It does, however, lack Android Auto compatibility.

You also get the option of a premium audio system, including 14 speakers, subwoofer and 1200-watt amplifier. A convenient and helpful wireless phone charging system is including up front in the Avalon TRD.

The official fuel economy numbers on the Avalon TRD are 22 city/31 highway/25 combined. I averaged 23.2 mpg during my time driving the Avalon.

(Side note: If you want to go the complete opposite direction of the TRD, a hybrid version of the Avalon is also offered, featuring a rating of 44 mpg on the highway)

The 2020 Toyota Avalon TRD I tested was priced just over $45,000; and the base price for the TRD starts about $43K. The standard, non-TRD version of the Avalon starts around $36K.

For the 2020 model year, the Avalon family of vehicles has a feisty new family member, and its name is TRD. You can still tote around the family in comfort, you’ll just have a lot more fun doing it.


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Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Avalon TRD
  • Price as tested: $45,394
  • Best feature: Powerful engine, racecar looks, roomy interior 
  • Rating: 4.5 out of five stars 
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Sedan buyers seeking a roomy sedan that offers a thrilling driving experience
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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