With an increasing number of car buyers are now flocking to SUVs and CUVs, the demand for saloons is on the decline in many markets. Apart from added utility and space, the allure of SUVs has been the additional grip they provide thanks to their all-wheel drive systems. This is especially the case in countries that experience extreme winters with slippery, snow covered roads. In a bid to try and retain such buyers who would potentially ditch their saloons in favour of SUVs, Toyota has announced all-wheel drive versions of its Camry and Avalon saloons.

Toyota Avalon AWD

The AWD tech for the two saloons has been borrowed from the latest RAV4 crossover. Toyota says this Dynamic Torque Control AWD system provides effective traction for slippery weather conditions while minimising AWD’s typical drag on fuel economy. The Camry and Avalon AWD system can direct up to 50 per cent of engine torque to the rear wheels, in response to acceleration from a start or slippage at the front wheels.

The AWD versions of the Camry and Avalon have been developed by the engineering team at Toyota Motor North America Research and Development in Saline, Michigan, and will be released exclusively in the US market.

While the flagship Avalon has never had an AWD variant before, this is not the first time the Camry gets one. Camry, which has been America’s best-selling midsize saloon for 17 years, has had an all-wheel-drive ‘All-Trac’ version from 1988 until 1991. Both the Camry AWD and Avalon AWD will be powered by 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission

The Camry AWD will be model year 2020 and arrive at dealerships in early spring next year, while the Avalon AWD will be model year 2021 and go on-sale next fall.