Many thought Toyota’s decision to add sporty TRD models to the Camry and Avalon lineup was an odd one, but the Japanese automaker is considering adding a performance-oriented model to the entire family.
It wouldn’t be crazy to see a track-tuned Prius, C-HR, Corolla, RAV4, or even a Highlander in the near future wearing TRD badges. And if it were to happen, it would go beyond simply slapping on a body kit and calling it a day — so far, TRD models have gotten tangible updates that actually improve performance.
“I love the TRD brand, I love what Toyota Racing Development does, and I like learning from our motorports teams and putting it into our cars,” Jack Hollis, Group Vice President and General Manager of Toyota Division at Toyota Motor North America, told AutoGuide.com in an interview during the 2018 L.A. Auto Show. “And if we can bring it to every car and SUV and every truck, I think we should.”
Hollis hinted that a Corolla TRD is already on the table, which makes a lot of sense since the popular sedan and hatchback have recently gained aggressive new looks and much more capable chassis. Could Toyota be planning a competitor for the Civic Si?
Hollis said a Corolla TRD (which was a SEMA concept that got pretty positive feeback not too long ago) is more than being considered — it’s “not in the plans yet,” but “there’s intention and development” happening.
Similar to its sweeping TRD strategy, Toyota is also considering adding all-wheel drive across the lineup. Though Hollis said the C-HR won’t be getting AWD in the near future, “we’re looking at the all-wheel-drive application for all of our products. Not necessarily on C-HR today, but you have to stay tuned because some new things are coming up.”
The Camry seems like a strong contender for AWD, since the Nissan Altima is now available with AWD, and having four-corner traction would help give it a leg up on the Honda Accord, which only drives the front wheels. Similarly, the Avalon and Corolla are also good candidates. Moving in this direction, the Prius recently gained an AWD system that uses an electric motor to power the rear axle at launch at at speeds up to 43 mph.
“We’re taking each model and we’re giving more choices for the consumer,” Hollis said, adding that TRD and AWD models are a smart way to do that.
Discuss this article on our Toyota Forum