2021 Toyota Avalon TRD review: Weird in concept, awesome in practice


My, what a big grille you’ve gotten.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Toyota’s normcore veneer splits on occasion, letting bizarre stuff out of the woodwork, like a skunkworks Prius rally car or a Yaris with method an excessive amount of horsepower. One such automotive that’s certain to elicit a double take from most anybody is the 2021 Avalon TRD. I do not know who this automotive is for, however I’m very glad it exists.

Don’t Like

  • Expensive
  • Could use a skosh extra energy and possibly all-wheel drive

Aesthetics for the younger at coronary heart

“Sheesh.” That’s what I stated once I first noticed the Toyota Avalon TRD. It’s… rather a lot to course of. All Avalons carry that huge grille up entrance, but on the TRD it appears to make extra sense, what with the odd ranges of aggression oozing from each different nook of the automotive. Sharp lips and protrusions encompass the decrease a part of the physique, whereas 19-inch alloy wheels fill the wells appropriately. Most of the Avalon’s badges and trim are blacked out, which makes the TRD’s cat-back exhaust stand out much more. The entire sedan sits 0.6 inches decrease to the bottom, too.

Sure, the automotive appears to be like like a random aftermarket tuning store had its method with it, however the Avalon TRD is enjoyable in a method that Toyota’s bigger autos so hardly ever are. Like the aforementioned Prius rally automotive, I like when automobiles are taken out of their stereotypical parts and made to adapt to some unusual new world. What enjoyable is life if you cannot get slightly bizarre?

Inside, issues are slightly lighter on the senses. The Avalon TRD’s inside is fairly near the usual mannequin, with a number of notable exceptions like purple distinction stitching, TRD logos in a number of locations and a few very loud flooring mats. Oh, and the seatbelts are shiny purple, too — identical to in sporty Mercedes-Benz autos, if you wish to try to spin that positively.

Despite all of the boy-racer frippery, the Avalon stays a big household sedan at coronary heart, so its usability stays alongside these strains. There’s a metric truckton of practicality in right here. The middle armrest and door cubbies are huge, the flat tray forward of the cup holders is nice for phones or masks and the rear seats have a great deal of room for even taller grownup passengers. The Avalon’s 16-cubic-foot trunk is sufficiently big for golf golf equipment, groceries and suitcases aplenty, beating the Nissan Maxima‘s cargo capability, though it lags a bit behind the Dodge Charger.

Driving dynamics largely for the younger at coronary heart

The Avalon TRD does a fairly good job approximating a sport sedan with out going entire hog. Its 3.5-liter V6 places out the identical 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque as some other variant, and that energy is routed by means of the identical ol’ eight-speed computerized transmission heading solely to the entrance axle. There’s greater than sufficient ahead movement for switchbacks and freeway on-ramps, and whereas the TRD-specific exhaust sounds good throughout the rev vary, I’m left wishing for about 50 extra hp, which might be simply sufficient to really feel correctly sprightly.

Under the sheet metallic, Toyota added stiffer springs and sway bars, wider wheels, larger brakes and tweaked static dampers. In regular driving, the TRD feels only a smidge stiffer than ordinary, carrying a number of additional street undulations into the cabin, nevertheless it’s nonetheless 100% Avalon in right here, with a precedence on a quiet cabin and a sufficiently easy trip. This sedan is enjoyable to chuck round, and it stays fairly flat, however most of those adjustments do not essentially alter the expertise. The all-season Michelin tires have the identical limits as some other Avalon, whereas an absence of each AWD and a limited-slip differential means these entrance piggies will squeal and battle a bit to maneuver the entire operation ahead. Adding a type of two objects can be welcome injections of character, and borrowing the adaptive dampers from the Avalon Touring may bestow it with extra of a best-of-both-worlds vibe.

The Avalon TRD is the least-efficient Avalon on provide, however not by a lot. The EPA charges it at 21 mpg metropolis and 30 mpg freeway, numbers that I discover fairly achievable, and it is solely a hair much less environment friendly than the bottom and XLE variants.

Slap some summer time tires on this unhealthy boy and you could possibly have a mighty enjoyable time.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Tech for everybody

I’m an enormous fan of automakers that do not poor-shame decrease trims with shrunken screens and obscene bezels, which is a part of the rationale why I dig the Avalon. All trims, TRD or in any other case, come customary with a 9-inch touchscreen that features each Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, in addition to satellite radio and 4 USB charging ports (one USB-A and one USB-C per row). Navigation is non-obligatory, a part of a $1,720 package deal that features peppier JBL audio system. The entire system works fairly effectively; the graphics are dated and slightly large-format for my tastes, nevertheless it has every little thing most consumers will need, and it features effectively sufficient to maintain the youths from getting offended.

On the protection entrance, each Avalon additionally comes with the Toyota Safety Sense P package deal, a collection of lively and passive driver aids. Forward-collision warning, computerized emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keep help, computerized excessive beams and full-speed adaptive cruise management are all current and accounted for. It all works as flawlessly because it does on some other Toyota. The solely factor I want the Avalon TRD had is parking sensors, since it is a huge boy and no one desires to scuff up that huge ol’ grille. That stated, they’re accessible on different trims.

Toyota’s UI is slightly dated today, nevertheless it’s nonetheless practical.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Down to brass tacks

While a number of key upgrades to the Avalon TRD would actually wake it up in my opinion, I’m not so certain the worth would have the ability to deal with it. As it’s, the 2021 Toyota Avalon TRD begins at $43,870, together with $995 for vacation spot and dealing with. That places it above each single different Avalon trim, save for the tippy-tippy-top Limited Hybrid. Considering you will get a Dodge Charger with a 485-hp V8 (and a superior infotainment system) for practically the identical scratch, it’s important to actually need the Avalon TRD to make a powerful monetary case.

But if sporty-ish Japanese sedans are your bag, then the 2021 Toyota Avalon TRD will definitely scratch your itch. It might not leap forth in a method that actually separates it from the remainder of the Avalon crowd, nevertheless it’s a enjoyable four-door that bucks the notion that Avalons are principally shepherds carrying grandma from Boca Raton to the Pearly Gates.



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