Toyota will test how much of the consumer shift away from sedans is because of the added security of all-wheel-drive systems found on most crossovers as the Japanese automaker adds an optional fuel-efficient awd system to its Camry and Avalon sedans next year.
The awd version of the midsize Camry will be the model’s first since 1991, while the large Avalon will get its first optional awd version ever. Both will use the same Dynamic Torque Control system employed on the redesigned RAV4 compact crossover, Toyota said. The awd system sends up to half of engine torque to the rear wheels as needed under load if the car detects slippage from the front wheels. When additional traction isn’t required, the rear prop shaft is electromagnetically disengaged to boost fuel efficiency, Toyota says.
Toyota says awd versions of the sedans weren’t originally in its product plans but were a side benefit of its TNGA platform strategy. The Camry, Avalon and RAV4 all share the Toyota New Global Architecture platform. Toyota said its engineers and designers in North America combined the upper body structure of the Camry and Avalon with the engine, transmission, transfer case and rear differential from the RAV4 and adapted the RAV4’s suspension to better suit the sedans. The design team also adapted the drive shaft from the redesigned Highlander large crossover to create the awd sedans.
The sedans’ floor structure was adapted and an electronic parking brake and altered fuel tank design added to accommodate the awd system. Together, the modifications add 165 pounds to the Camry over the front-wheel-drive version, while the weight of the Avalon is similar to that of the V-6 version, the automaker said.
Both vehicles will be shown at next week’s Los Angeles Auto Show. The awd Camry will go on sale in the spring as a 2020 model, while the awd Avalon will be available in the fall as a 2021 model, Toyota said. Pricing for the awd versions was not announced. The system will be available as a standalone option on the Camry LE, XLE, SE and XSE trims and on Avalon XLE and Limited trims, Toyota said.