2020 Toyota Camry TRD: most affordable way to get a sporty V6 Camry

It wasn’t too long ago that ‘sporty’ and ‘athletic’ were the last words to describe a Camry. But with the 2020 Toyota Camry TRD, what was once a plebian family car is now transformed into a proper sporting sedan. And best of all, Toyota is doing it on the cheap, and it’s all for the better.

The 2020 Toyota Camry TRD starts at $32,000

The TRD nomenclature is short for Toyota Racing Development. As we all know, everything that has something to do with ‘racing development’ will probably cost an arm and a leg. But in a pleasant turn of events, Toyota is offering the Camry TRD at a base price of $32,035 and is the most affordable way to get your hands on a V6 Camry.

The Camry TRD undercuts the XSE by $3,900

Before the TRD, the only way to get a V6 Camry is by selecting the XSE or XLE trim. But in the TRD Camry, you get that delicious V6 motor for around $3,900 less. Base Camry models are equipped with a standard 2.5-liter four-banger generating 203-horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This all sounds nice, but the V6 engine is a different beast.

The TRD model receives a 301-HP V6 motor

But with the V6 engine in the TRD, you have 301-horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque to play with. This engine is bolted to an eight-speed automatic driving the front wheels. And while it’s true the V6 engine is not a necessity for everyday driving, we’re talking about a properly sporting Camry, which deserves all the oomph from the larger motor.

Aggressive Styling and Go-Fast Components

The 2020 Toyota Camry TRD is based on the SE trim model. Apart from the V6 motor, the TRD Camry also receives stiffer springs and retuned dampers. This not only lowers the ride height by 0.6 inches, but it also gives the car tighter handling and a firmer ride, which is essential when you’re rushing to triple-digit speeds.

Toyota also armed the Camry TRD with additional chassis bracing, stiffer front and rear sway bars, and massive anti-roll bars to further enhance driving athleticism. Toyota says the chassis enhancements were enough to increase roll stiffness by 44-percent in the front and 67-percent in the rear.

The TRD model is also riding on lightweight matte-black alloy wheels which are 3.1 pounds lighter and half-inch wider than before. This gives the Camry TRD a meaner and more purposeful stance.

The exterior receives a TRD-specific aero body kit, a gloss black front grille with sport mesh insert, and black exterior badging. The dual-piston front brakes feature larger-diameter rotors to improve stopping power. The Camry TRD also gets a TRD-specific exhaust system and red interior accents to give the car a properly sporting character.

But there’s a catch

All of this sounds wonderful for a sporty Camry with a base price of $32,000, but there are some drawbacks. While all trim models of the Camry receive a bevy of standard safety features and equipment, Toyota had to remove some of those in exchange for the go-fast components mentioned above. This includes the navigation system and Toyota’s Safety Sense driver-assist system.

This means the Camry TRD won’t come with automatic high beams, lane departure alert with steering assistance, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

2020 Toyota Camry TRD and Avalon TRD

However, you still get a leather-wrapped tiller and black sport seats covered in SofTex material. But is this all worth it? We’ll know for sure after a proper test drive. The 2020 Toyota Camry TRD arrives at showrooms in September. Meanwhile, the Avalon TRD is also coming with the same 301-horsepower V6 engine and TRD-specific exterior treatments.