So, you think the Toyota Camry is a granny car?
Well, check out the 2020 Toyota Camry TRD V-6, a product of the company's racing division. With upgraded brakes and springs, light-weight matte-black wheels and Toyota's potent 301-horsepower V-6 engine, the Camry TRD is a pulse-quickening new package.
"Whoa, this Camry seems pretty powerful," noted my 13-year-old son as we pulled away from the Waffle House in Red Bank. You should know that he had just finished riding in a 707-horsepower Dodge Charger Hellcat, giving his impression of the Camry even more weight.
Those who follow NASCAR, where the Camry body is represented on the track, may have wondered why the Japanese car company had never given the stock Camry a real performance treatment. Well, now you have it. With a sub six-second zero-to-60 mph time, the Camry TRD V-6 is no drag racer but it's plenty quick if you are headed to Hamilton Place mall.
Camrys are available locally at Capital Toyota on Lee Highway, Toyota of Cleveland and North Georgia Toyota in Dalton, Ga.
WHAT IS IT?
The Toyota Camry TRD V-6 is a performance version of the company's excellent mid-size sedan. With seating for five and a reliability record that's nearly bullet-proof, the Camry TRD is a niche ride for people who want dependable automobile served up with a dash of excitement.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
The base price of the Camry TRD V-6 is $31,040. Our tester, provided for a one-week test drive by the manufacturer, adds a $500 black roof and handling charges to ring up at $32,920 before discounts. The TRD V-6 is actually the cheapest Camry with a six-cylinder engine.
* Model: 2020 Toyota Camry TRD V-6
* Exterior color: Supersonic Red
* Interior color: Black
* Engine: 3.5-liter, V-6
* Horsepower: 301
* Transmission: eight-speed automatic
* Fuel economy: 31 mpg highway, 22 mpg city
* Local Dealer: Capital Toyota, North Georgia Toyota, Toyota of Cleveland
* Price (as tested): $32,920
WHAT WE LIKED
The Camry TRD V-6 delivers smooth power and the eight-speed transmission handles mountain commutes without hunting for gears. Toyota now offers both Android Auto and Apple Carplay smartphone interfaces. The 19-inch, matte black wheels add to the aggressive look of the car.
The Camry TRD has been tuned for sharper handling. It comes with summer tires that enhance road grip (on dry pavement). The powerful V-6 makes it a good mountain climber.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
The steering wheel on our tester was a couple of degrees off center and the black ground effects and rear spoiler look tacked on.
Car-makers are selling fewer sedans, so dialing up the sportiness on a Camry to appeal to a segment of buyers seems like a good idea. The Camry TRD V-6 will appeal to driving enthusiasts who don't want to worry about expensive maintenance down the line.
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