“Win on Sunday, sell Camrys on Monday,” as the old saying goes. That’s what Toyota’s doing in the lead-up to this week’s debut of two vehicles you’ve waited patiently for. Nah, let’s be real. You’ve resided in a heightened state of suspense, nerves jangling, taking Ativan just to get a few hours of sleep, ever since last week’s teaser of the upcoming TRD Camry and Avalon.
Don’t worry, they’re almost hereÂ â€” and now there’s a whole Tundraful of eye-popping, pants-rending optical candy to feast your peepers on. But don’t settle for having us louts describe the TRD-ified family sedans for you. What does defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr., noted lover of Toyota, think?
“This looks just like the Camry I race â€” I mean, it’s so awesome looking,” Truex said when questioned by Rutledge Wood, NBC racing analyst and Top Gear alumnus, in a series of cringeworthy videos posted to Toyota USA’s Twitter account.
“As racecar drivers, we can appreciate these, for sure,” adds fellow NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, who joins Truex and company for a rip around a closed course. These men know Camrys, and they know TRD-developed powerplants. Problem is, we doubt there’s anything other than a stock 3.5-liter V6 under those hoods, perhaps with some mild breathing assistance from TRD. Certainly, there’s nice, shiny pipes on these rides, which are often seen in the hands of middle-aged or geriatric professionals.
“It’s on point,” Busch says with complete confidence, revving the Avalon’s engine. The camera then cuts away to a shot of sexy, red-accented Camry TRD and Avalon TRD floormats. Those accents appear everywhere in the interior of these vehicles, by the way, from the dash to the seatbacks and headrests, and wouldn’t you know itÂ â€” the seatbelt straps are also red. Are these things even legal without a roll cage?
Turning the terror up to 11, there’s also rubber so wide and skimpy, it should carry a PG-13 rating. And those rear bumper valances, side sills, and jutting front lips ? They’re there to stop you from getting airborne. While the videos highlight the Camry TRD’s obnoxious amazing rear wing, there’s little to see of the Avalon’s shapely keister. Hopefully Possibly, Toyota’s camera crew was simply assuaging the car’s shame in not boasting a similar flight surface.
Out on the asphalt, we hear much tire squealage as Truex whips his steed (maybe it could be your steed one day…) in a figure eight to highlight the car’s mighty grip, with Busch piping up, “Stop, I’m going to puke.” We might, too, if these videos keep coming.
There’s nothing wrong with adding more power and panache to a well-liked family sedan (it’s encouraged, in fact), but these two vehicles run in the opposite direction of the Ford Fusion Sport, which adds gobs of grunt and grip while keeping it conservative on the outside. Online reaction to Toyota’s videos range from polite applause to retching and outright anger. As much as we like the Camry, unless the folks at Toyota’s racing arm tinkered at length beneath the hood, this amounts to nothing more than a better-sounding XSE V6 with a wild appearance package, upgraded binders, and larger wheels. We’ll see if there’s anything more later this week, when Toyota drops details ahead of the LA Auto Show.
Meanwhile, here’s the Camry ass your author really wants to look at:
Damn. (Not kidding, either.)