Toyota Is Planning on Building ‘High-Performance’ Versions of Every Model in Its Lineup
How do you feel about a Toyota Sienna TRD? A Prius C GRMN? Land Cruiser TRD Pro?
A tweet by Toyota Great Britain has confirmed plans to make "high-performance" versions of every vehicle in Toyota's lineup.
@ToyotaGB stated the intent in response to a tweet calling for a sporting GRMN variant of its Hilux pickup truck, and advised the user to which it responded to "watch this space!"
Interest in a wider range of performance-oriented models is not exclusive to the British wing of Toyota. General Manager of Toyota North America Jack Hollis stated in November that Toyota "should" design TRD versions of "every car and SUV and every truck." Hollis' mention of possible all-wheel-drive variants of all Toyota models was unrelated to his call for more TRD vehicles.
TRD is but one of two performance vehicle designations Toyota uses today, the other being the Gazoo Racing-derived GR and its variants (GR Parts, GR Sport, GRMN) thereof. Being a name sourced from a race team, GR is not likely to adorn any of Toyota's enthusiast-oriented trucks, which have traditionally worn the TRD badge. Toyota has not yet sold any GR-branded vehicles in the United States, though that will change with the launch of the GR Supra.
It is uncertain how Toyota will decide whether to use the TRD or GR name on its sporting models, as there is no clear border between TRD and GR territory. TRD badges have, in recent years, been applied largely to pickup trucks, SUVs, and crossovers, with the Sequoia TRD Pro and Rav4 TRD Off-Road being announced earlier this month at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. This does not mean that the badge belongs exclusively to off-roaders; Toyota announced in 2018 that TRD models of the Camry and Avalon sedans will arrive for the 2020 model year, and it sold a limited-run version of its 86 sports car called TRD Special Edition for the 2019 model year.
Enthusiasm for the GR name within Toyota's management is reportedly mixed, which could prevent the badge's appearance on any vehicles other than the GR Supra. But a rose by any other name smells just as sweet, and buyers probably won't care what their fast Toyotas are called as long as they drive well. If recent TRD models—the Avalon, Seqoia, et cetera—are anything to go by, near-future TRD models should see modest, yet significant improvements over their respective base models. Lighter wheels, special shock absorbers, chassis reinforcement, bigger brakes, aerodynamic elements, and other upgrades have graced recent TRD models, so enhancements of this sort may be what to expect from Toyota's future performance variants of its bread-and-butter models.