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Toyota Avalon TRD - A Closer Look




One of the most puzzling cars at last year's SEMA show was a boosted Toyota Avalon. Yes, boosted as in relying on more than mother nature to stuff an engine cylinder full of air. The car was sporting a TRD supercharger with an Eaton Gen 6 TVS rotor assembly along with a slew of suspension and appearance modifications. Toyota apparently decided to leave it with the guys at Motor Trend to put through the tests. A couple of days ago, Motor Trend posted their tests and the numbers were.. interesting.




Handling improvements are nothing short of impressive. 6-piston front brake callipers and 4-piston rear ones along with larger, cross drilled rotors help bring the car to a stop from 60 mph in 106 ft, which is sports car territory. Motor Trend was able to record an average lateral acceleration of 0.92 g. To put that into perspective, that puts it right in between two trims of an excellent RWD sedan, the Cadillac ATS. When tested by Motor Trend, the 2.0 litre turbo model was able to pull 0.90 g and and the 3.6 litre V6 model was able to pull 0.94 g. Although, besides the reduction in body movement and roll, driving feel probably hasn't improved much. The improvements were done in an aftermarket fashion though, with stiffer shocks, springs and bushings, not modifying suspension geometry or chassis rigidity so the ride is stiffer and jarring over bumps but that's expected from a SEMA show car.




The same can't be said for the engine department. Although the engine gets a supercharger, power is up by only 52 hp. While 52 hp is a healthy amount of power, the addition of a form of forced induction usually brings a lot more hp to the table, along with a healthy improvement in straight line performance. The Avalon TRD is not quicker than the production Avalon though. It's not even as fast.. it is actually slower. With a 0-60 mph time of 6.5 seconds and a 1/4 mile time of 15.0 seconds, which are 0.3 and 0.4 seconds SLOWER than the production version that does the deeds in 6.3 and 14.6 seconds respectively. Toyota says more work is needed to tune the engine and recalibrate the software and the car is also over 200 lb. heavier because of the additional show kit like stereo and rims.

The weight excuse is frankly just that, an excuse. There are several full size cars that weigh over 4,000 lb., over 300 lb. heavier than this Avalon TRD, which weighs 3,755 lb., and when equipped with naturally aspirated V6 engines with similar displacements and less hp, run the same or better acceleration times. I think Toyota simply didn't do their homework on the engine and just bolted a few bits and pieces along with a supercharger on the engine to make a show car. I checked SEMA's website for information about the car (Toyota Avalon TRD) and it lists detailed information about all modifications so I am assuming no parts are missing. Under "Engine", only the supercharger is listed which means that no changes to fuelling system, internals or other engine components that may benefit from an upgrade to take advantage of forced induction. Even worse, there may be no intercooler.

This seems like it was put-together over a few days. It doesn't seem like one of these cars where a company tells its engineers to go wild with their ideas or showcase their best performance work. It seems like no engineering went into it at all - just a bill for a few good aftermarket parts and a few hours on a hoist. I am very surprised that Toyota decided to drop this car off to be tested and confused as to why Toyota would do that.

Source: Motor Trend, SEMA

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