Toyota USA has let slip a hint of what it’s got in store for the Los Angeles Motor Show, and it appears the Camry, a nameplate not traditionally known for performance, could be in line for a sporty treatment at last.
Details are thin on the ground for now, with the company obviously reserving the big news for the LA event, but a teaser shot shown of the Camry and its US-market Avalon twin suggest it could be more than just a sticker-pack special.
The name is also a clue. Toyota USA openly described both show cars as members of the “TRD family” and with those three letters standing for “Toyota Racing Development”, a suffix reserved for performance-enhanced versions of Toyota’s regular road cars, it’s a strong hint that the pair might pack some genuine go-faster cred.
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Those red calipers suggest that there might be heavier-duty braking hardware on the TRD-enhanced sedans, and there’s also scope for other bolt-on modifications like a sports exhaust and a tauter suspension tune. The visual package will be tickled through some add-on body plastics (the teaser reveals black plastic under-spoilers on the front bumpers of both) and TRD wheels as well.
We wouldn’t expect much in the way of power changes, but with the regular V6 Camry already pumping out 224kW and 362Nm in standard form, the Toyota sedan’s straight-line performance is already fairly brisk.
Will a hotter Camry come our way following its American debut? Speaking with Toyota’s Australian operation, it seems unlikely. The TRD name, for starters, is not coming back to our shores. TRD used to be Toyota’s global go-faster division, but these days it’s being phased out in favour of the company’s new Gazoo Racing branding – which will enter Australia next year applied to the hot new fifth-generation Supra.
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And the Camry TRD and Avalon TRD are expected to be US-market specials, built in that country rather than sourced from the same Japanese factory that supplies Australia.
“If it happens to work for Australia, then that’s a good thing,” said Toyota Australia spokesperson Orlando Rodriguez. “However generally, it’s easier for us to get things from Japan or Europe, given their regulations are usually quite close to ours.
“Our read on the situation is that these cars are a domestic US-only thing at this stage.”
But Toyota’s local office does have aspirations to grow the number of Gazoo-branded performance products beyond the Supra. Perhaps the most compelling (and achievable) candidate currently is the 86 coupe, which is already available in Japan in several Gazoo-enhanced forms, however, that’s yet to be locked-in.
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“At the moment there’s no plans on which [Gazoo] vehicles they’re going to be… and as far as these two models (Camry TRD and Avalon TRD) are concerned, it’s probably too early to say. It’s something that we probably need to go off and investigate a little bit more, but we wouldn’t rule out performance product for that segment – we’d just need to look into it a little bit further.”