2021 Toyota Avalon TRD – Re-Driven Review – Biennial Menacing

2021 Toyota Avalon TRD: in Ice Edge

ENTHUSIAST DEVELOPMENT: The automotive metaphor for the quest for a magical Arthurian sword is to be no more. Often colored as a refined barge tuned exclusively for septuagenerians and a Lexus ES pretender, after 28 years the Toyota Avalon sedan is slated to depart this earthly world.

SHORT LIFE: Two short years ago the Japanese automaker’s in-house skunk works did go to work on a menacing tune of Avalon. Complementing a near NASCAR bodied Camry V-6 TRD, a 2020 Toyota Avalon TRD was also released and then sampled by Roadblazing.com. More recently an Ice Edge (putty grey) 2021 Toyota Avalon TRD was dropped off. Then unbeknownst to this outlet, it would spell the end of the TRD trim, with the entire model’s demise scheduled for the following year. Consider this Re-Driven Review a eulogy for the only large Toyota sedan which attracted some quadragenarians.

2021 Toyota Avalon TRD Driving Hits:

2021 Toyota Avalon TRD: in Ice Edge
  • 301 horsepower, 268 pound-feet torque DOHC gas V-6 = same as with non hybrid, non AWD Avalons
  • 6-speed automatic torque converter planetary transaxle
  • Steering wheel dorsal paddle shifting and Sport Plus drive mode yields crisp snap.
  • 25 combined miles per gallon, 490 miles highway range
  • TRD exhaust = genuine, from idle rumble to authoritative throat clearing at WOT
2021 Toyota Avalon TRD: in Ice Edge
  • ABS torque vectoring
  • 4 x Drive modes = Eco / Normal / Sport / Sport Plus
  • Fully independent suspension with rapid but everyday livable damping
  • Stabilizer bars F/R = 27 mm = Avalon Touring
  • Spring rates (TRD) = +44 / +67 % vs. Avalon Touring
  • Higher steering effort weighting
  • 0.6″ inches lower than Avalon Touring
  • Front disc brakes: 2-piston sliding calipers, +0.9″ vs. Avalon Touring
  • Michelin MXM Green V-rated M+S 235/40 tires fitted to 19″ TRD matte black alloy wheels make for touring with less float
  • Assembly with tight tolerances and premium materials knocks on door of entry luxury sedans

2021 Toyota Avalon TRD Driving Misses:

  • Hard fuel cutoff prior to redline in Sport Plus manumatic mode
  • Lacks Camry’s TRD’s summer tires and attendant greater dry cornering & braking grip
  • No front limited slip differential, means burn-out attempts set off VDC
  • Steering ratio no quicker than Avalon Touring
  • Lacks Avalon Touring’s electronic variable dampers
  • Lacks an all-wheel drive option
  • Highway mirror wind noise

What It Has Got:

2021 Toyota Avalon TRD: in Ice Edge
  • Pricing: from $43,870 (incl. destination) for a 8-speed automatic 2021 Toyota Avalon TRD
    • As tested 2021 Toyota Avalon TRD , optioned with Premium Audio & Navigation priced at $46,297
  • A long, low slung profile, yet sinewy fendered and rear quartered large family sedan
  • Accommodates 5 generously proportioned adults magnanimously
  • Wide aperture trunk expands via 60/40% split folding 2nd Row seatbacks
  • Robust assembly, premium soft touch materials and precision controls
  • Comprehensive standard feature set
    • Approach keyless entry, push button ignition; 2-zone automatic climate control;
    • LED headlights & taillights, delay windshield wipers
    • Auto dimming rear view mirror, heated wing mirrors
    • Heated & ventilated 8-way power front, w/ driver’s 4-way lumbar +2-position memory
    • ELD twin analog gauges; 7.0″ TFT trip & settings display;
    • 9.0″ tri-pane touch media display; Bluetooth phone connection, SMS messaging
    • 8 speaker 320 watt CD + streaming audio
    • Android Auto, Apple CarPlay phone projection; native SMS messaging; USB-C x 4
    • Entune 3.0 complimentary apps
  • Subscription Services
    • Sirius XM; Wi-Fi (by Verizon)
    • Safety Connect, Service Connect + Remote Connect
  • Comprehensive safety features & ratings
      • IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus
      • Driver assist tech (standard)
        • Safety Sense P: Pedestrian & vehicle collision avoidance braking, blind spot & rear cross traffic warning, lane keep assist, fully adaptive cruise control, rear camera
        • 10.0″ Heads-Up Display (optional)
        • 360° Surround camera; Perimeter camera scan; Sonar fore and aft park warning (optional)
  • 3 years / 36,000 miles bumper to bumper, 5 years / 60,000 miles powertrain warranties, 2 years / 25,000 mile scheduled maintenance
2020 Toyota Avalon TRD: cockpit

2020 Toyota Avalon TRD:

Options on tested 2021 Toyota Avalon TRD:

  • Heated power adjust steering wheel, heated rear seats
  • Native GPS cloud-based + HDD navigation, enhanced voice commands + guidance
    • Destination search & Dynamic Points of Interest search
  • JBL 1200 watt, 14-speaker audio; Qi inductive charging pad; Homelink remote garage control
  • Power Moonroof

What It Has Not (or Not Preferred):

  • Only red seat belts & contrast seat stitching & metal pedals distinguish from other Avalon interiors
  • Trunk lining felt flimsy & cardboard walls thin
  • Center stack buttons nano sized
  • Media display target of sunwash

Standout Feature(s) 2021 TOYOTA AVALON TRD :

2021 Toyota Avalon TRD: in Ice Edge
  • TRD specific exterior
    • “Darth Vader” gloss black exterior trim including oversized full height lattice maw grille, black + red striped body side spats, trunk lid spoiler, side mirror caps
    • TRD lower fascia front splitter and rear diffuser
    • TRD 7-tuning fork spoke matte black 19″ wheels
    • TRD badge, trunk-lid lower right
  • TRD specific cabin
    • Aluminum pedals
    • Red seatbelts
    • Red stitched leather tilt/ telescoping steering wheel
    • Red stitched and laced leatherette + micro-suede seats w/ embossed front head-rests
    • Red floor mat & trunk mat piping

Roadblazing.com Says: Muscle car effects on stolid large family sedan remain redundant in world with Camry. Snap one up while you can.


* * * * * * * * * * * *

2020 Toyota Avalon TRD highlights:

• Starting price, including destination = $43,255 front-wheel drive. As tested = $45,394 suggested retail price.

Standard Power (shared with non Hybrid, non-AWD Avalons): transverse 3.5L DOHC 24V DI SFI gas V-6 = 301 hp/ 268 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm + 8-spd. torque converter planetary transaxle, steering wheel shift paddles; 4 Drive Chassis Modes = Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport Plus, and customizable mode

NOSE, BUTT & THIGHS JOB [to other Avalons]:

2020 Toyota Avalon TRD:

• Finally a head turning TNGA-K Avalon. If the TRD unique Supersonic Red hue isn’t sufficiently blood curdling, there is a Mack the Knife’s almost imposing extension of a thin upper grille to a piano black, lower chain link, full width monstrous maw. Darth Vader finally found a nice family car to butt heads with. Darkened creased corner faux brake ducts and a lower valance splitter fill out the rest of the nose. Obviously no door nor wing mirror chrome has been left standing without blackening. Exaggerated blackened side skirts caught editors’ shoes a bunch of times. Other than altering color schemes and a right lower trunk lid red “TRD” emblem which is masked by the red hue, the back lid spoiler bumper cover expanse remain the same as Touring. Avalon TRD adopts single rather than dual exhaust tips. The 7 tuning fork spoke, 19″ rims, done in matte black are in search of rash from curbs.

An automotive enthusiast since an orange toy VW Beetle ended up in his playpen and following him everywhere, George Straton has been chief editor at ChicagoNow.com/Drive-He-Said automotive lifestyle blog since 2010. In 2017 George established Roadblazing.com, dedicated to accurate automotive reviews, news and road trip stories. George is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Phoenix Automotive Press Association. George also happens to be an attorney and Loyola University of Chicago Ramblers fan. Present ride: 2022 Mazda 3 Turbo AWD Hatchback.

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