Toyota Adds All-Wheel Drive to Camry & Avalon
And no, it’s not an All-Trac
A good portion of the country got their first taste of winter this week, making today’s announcement from Toyota all the more appropriate. Proving the power of shared vehicle architecture technology, the Big T has added optional all-wheel drive to its Camry and Avalon sedans.
The so-called Dynamic Torque Control AWD system will be offered as a stand-alone option on most trims of Camry, meaning that one will not have to shell out big bucks for a top rung model in order to get extra traction. It’ll show up on order sheets for LE, XLE, SE, and XSE grades of the Camry. As for Avalon, it’ll be available on the Limited trim.
According to the company, neither the new-gen Camry nor Avalon was originally planned to have an all-wheel drive version. The engineering team developed them to meet the market demand for AWD sedans. Since the current Camry and Avalon both rest on the company’s Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, it was possible for the team to use the platform’s flexibility to develop all-wheel drive versions. Since the RAV4 is also based on the TNGA platform, they leveraged the opportunity to share components and basic engineering.
The team combined the upper body structure of the Camry and Avalon with the RAV4 engine, transmission, transfer case, and rear diff. The RAV’s version of the multi-link rear suspension was adapted, with modifications and tuning to suit a sedan. Both the Camry and Avalon AWD use a modified version of the prop shaft robbed from the Highlander.
Adapting the all-wheel drivetrain to Camry and Avalon required floor structure modifications, plus the use of an electronic parking brake and different fuel tank. Toyota says the Camry AWD has the same rear seat hip point height as the Camry hybrid, which is to say just slightly higher than the standard car. Despite the addition of a rear differential, the company says the trunk floor height remains the same as in FWD versions. The transformation adds 165 pounds.
Alert readers with long memories will recall the last Camry to send power to all four wheels hit the road in 1991 under the All-Trac banner. The Avalon has never been offered with all-wheel drive. Given the immense popularity of SUVs and crossovers, this new product mix gives the company one more arrow in their quiver with which to entice buyers looking for extra traction. It’s worked for Subaru, after all.
Look for AWD Camrys and Avalons to hit dealers in early spring.