Susan Frissell, Editor, Womenwithwheels.com

Not having been in a Toyota Avalon for some time, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun this luxo sedan could be. As with all Toyota offerings, the Avalon is a well-built car and known for its comfortable, quiet ride. A lot less boring than it was years ago, the Avalon, like it’s younger sister the Camry has taken on a new look, giving us a reason to turn our head.
Everything seems so easy in the Avalon. Driving, handling, operating the heater and all the buttons on the touchscreen. All intuitive which this writer more than appreciates!

Perhaps trying to shed its stogy image, the Toyota Racing Development team put a lot of effort into changing what was once referred to as “the official car of Florida.” The result was the 2021 Avalon TRD, a sporty looking, yet still very well riding sedan. Who says a sedan can’t be sexy and sporty.

Trying new things to make the Avalon ‘cool,’ Toyota added a powerful looking larger grille, angular intakes, black alloy wheels and an aerodynamic build. With its sharp and aggressive edgy design, the TRD rides on 19-inch lightweight alloys and 19-inch tires. The TRD badging is evident on the interior with the TRD logo on the headrests, floor mats and shift knob, TRD Gloss black rear spoiler and front, side and rear aero kit with rod pin striping and a red TRD badge. The TRD edition is about an inch lower than the regular Avalon to appear sportier.

To add track-style handling, Toyota included Active Cornering Assist, which employs torque vectoring to assist when taking sharp turns. The larger front brakes and longer wheelbase add to handling and interior room. The TRD comes equipped with a TRD exhaust and growls like a race car!; Well, kind of!

Something a little different, the Avalon TRD-in its first year-is not available with RWD or AWD. Front-wheel-drive is standard in the TRD edition. No mention of future all-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive in the TRD trim level.

The interior in the 2021 Avalon gets some nice sports design credentials, as well as the red stitching and seat belts: a three-spoke steering wheel, a large minimalist center stack with a big infotainment touchscreen, brushed aluminum pedals, and interior trim. There’s a slickness to it that’s hard to fault, carrying Toyota’s signature sense of elegant simplicity.
The interior, as noted above, does have the sports design feel. The Infotainment 8-inch touchscreen is easy to use (intuitive), as are all other buttons.

However, when we’re talking about a supposed track-inspired model, it’s hard to get over some omissions like an upgraded engine. Still, the Avalon TRD is progress and definitely looks the part inside and out. It’s also fun to drive, handles very well, and it’s okay to be under 40 and seen in public driving it. If you’re in the market for a full-size sedan that’s still affordable but has a sporty edge, then this is a solid pick.

SPECS

Pricing: MSRP $42,875; Total $46,297; delivery $995
Engine: DOHC 3.5L V6, 301 hp.
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
TRD Tuned front, rear suspension
Wheelbase: 113.0 in.
Width: 72.8 in.
Height: 55.9 in.
Length: 195.9 in.
Weight: 3,655 lbs
EPA MPG: 21/30/25
Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.8 gal.
Tires: P235/40R19 all-season
Seating: 5
Wheels: 19-in. black painted alloy
Warranty: 36/36,000 Basic; 60/60,000 Powertrain; 60 mth/60,000-m