Toyota Camry and Avalon are Both Getting AWD

As winter takes over in most of Canada, Toyota has great news for drivers: the popular Camry and the larger Avalon will soon add an all-wheel drive option.

Unfortunately, the Camry AWD will not go on sale before early spring (as a 2020 model), when pretty much all the snow has melted, while the Avalon AWD will follow in autumn (as a 2021 model).

Anyway, it will be the first Camry with AWD since the Camry AllTrac sold from 1988-1991.

With this important addition, Toyota sure hopes to boost freefalling car sales just like Nissan and Mazda tried to do with the new Altima and Mazda3, respectively.

Photo: Toyota

Japan’s largest automaker took a first albeit small step last year with the introduction of the Prius AWD-e. Here, though, we’re talking about a different AWD system with dynamic torque vectoring borrowed from the new RAV4. It can 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.

In other situations, 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.

In order to make all of that possible, Toyota had to revise its TNGA global platform extensively, because neither the new-generation Camry nor Avalon was originally planned to have an AWD version. The RAV4’s multi-link rear suspension was adapted with some modifications and tuning to suit the sedans. Both the Camry and Avalon AWD also use a modified version of the propeller shaft from the all-new 2020 Highlander.

Photo: Toyota

Furthermore, engineers transformed the floor structure, installed an electronic parking brake and revised the shape of the fuel tank. Despite the addition of a rear differential, the trunk floor height and rear seat hip point remain the same as in the FWD versions.

Toyota says the AWD hardware adds just 165 pounds to the Camry.

Bad news for fans of the 301-horsepower V6: the AWD option will only be available with the 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, which produces up to 205 horsepower through an eight-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission.

By the way, the Camry AWD and Avalon AWD will be exclusive to North America and the suspension tuning, wheels and tires differentiating the various trim levels will carry over to the new AWD models.

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