2020 Toyota Camry and 2021 Avalon Get Optional All-Wheel-Drive

Toyota is adding AWD to keep its sedans alive and fight the good fight in a crossover-dominated market.

Toyota

Just as winter weather creeps in and discussions of snow tires and black ice are top-of-mind, Toyota is announcing the addition of all-wheel-drive options to its 2020 Camry and 2021 Avalon sedans mainly as a response to modern, SUV-centric tastes.

Notably, this will be the first AWD Camry since the Camry All-Trac departed us in 1991 and the first Avalon to power all four wheels since, well, the beginning of time. The Toyotas will join a small list of mainstream sedans to offer all-wheel traction. Just off the top, the only other ones to do so are the Subaru Legacy and Nissan's latest Altima. Paired exclusively to the 2.5-liter four-cylinder models of both cars, AWD will be available on most trims of the Camry bar the bog-standard L and hotted-up TRD while the Avalon AWD can be had in either XLE or Limited trim. 

Sadly, no V-6 or Hybrid models have been invited to the party. We think all-wheel-drive, 300-hp Camry and Avalon TRDs would've made for some pretty rad times and great foils to the Kia Stinger. But you know what else would've been nice? Winning the lottery.

Toyota

Anywho, Toyota's upcoming AWD sedans use the engine, transmission, transfer case, and rear diff lifted from the RAV4 and a Highlander propeller shaft. The system can send up to 50 percent of torque to the rear axle and can, natch, revert back to full front-wheel drive during normal highway cruising for better fuel economy. Toyota says that while the system adds 165 pounds to the Camry and around the same additional weight as a V-6 adds in the Avalon, AWD has been implemented without sacrificing anything in terms of passenger room, cargo capacity, trunk floor height, or ride and handling.

Toyota

Developed in and for America, the speed at which Toyota was able to implement this is a testament to the company's modular New Global Architecture's adaptability. Remarkably, neither of these sedans were originally created with AWD variants in mind.

The 2020 Toyota Camry AWD models will hit dealerships in early spring while its larger 2021 Avalon brother will be available next fall.