Midsize sedans may not be the most popular market segment these days, but one trend in midsize sedans is offering all-wheel-drive variants. This is an area Toyota originally never intended to enter with the current generation Camry, but they have changed their minds.
Starting with the 2020 Camry, buyers will have the option of adding all-wheel-drive. This is the first time in 28 years any Camry variant has offered all-wheel-drive. Toyota will follow-up with adding AWD to the 2021 Avalon as well; a first-ever for that nameplate.
While buyers will have all-wheel-drive as a decision point, it isn’t going to be ubiquitously offered across all Camry and Avalon trim levels. Camry buyers will have to choose between LE, XLE, SE and XSE trims, while Avalon buyers will have to select XLE or Limited trims.
The biggest limiting factor is the fact that Toyota has engineered the all-wheel-drive system to work exclusively with both sedans’ 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine only. This means buyers cannot opt for all-wheel-drive when either car is equipped with the optional 3.5-liter V-6.
Why the limitations? Well, this generation was not originally engineered to get all-wheel-drive. Toyota says the flexibility of its TNGA architecture (which underpins both Camry and Avalon) is just so flexible it allowed them to piece together all-wheel-drive just for the North American market based on demand.
What that really means is engineers pulled the engine, transmission, transfer case and rear differential from the RAV4, which is also based on the TNGA platform. Engineers also brought over a modified version of the multi-link rear suspension found on the RAV4.
Toyota says the system can send up to 50 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear during slippage. Otherwise the system can disengage to preserve fuel economy figures.
Pricing for both all-wheel-drive sedans will be announced closer to launch. Toyota will formally reveal both sedans at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show.