These are race-tuned, track-tested versions of two of some of the most popular cars in the world. And they might just be the ultimate daily drivers—comfort and space for when you need it, headturning power when you want it.
But how did Toyota turn America's beloved sedans into TRD monsters? For that answer, look no further than Jakin Wilson, Development Engineering Manager for TRD.
Like many folks in the automotive industry, Jakin's love of cars started young.
"I've always been a car enthusiast, ever since I was a kid. My dad was in the car business, my uncle worked at a performance shop," he recalls. "I got interested in modifying vehicles early...I wanted to be hands-on and just thought it was fun to race vehicles."
His engineering career with Toyota started in Ann Arbor, working on the body functional side. After that, it was on to the proving grounds in Arizona to work on ride and handling vehicle development, among other things. From there, it was to California and the TRD group, working on design engineering and performance design.
Now in his sweet spot, it wasn't long before he was leading the TRD development team. He's now responsible for making dreams of TRD madness become engineering realities—and then testing everything until they get it right.
"It is a gift and blessing to be able to love cars and do it in your daily job."
If you've seen anything about the new TRD Camry and Avalon, you know about the engine upgrades and the snazzy bodywork and the race-inspired interiors. Blah blah blah. Let's talk about where the rubber, literally, meets the road—wheels and suspension.
"One of the greatest changes we made to the Camry is with the suspension," Jakin shares. "We lowered the vehicle about 15mm by changing the coil springs and increased the spring rates."
This new, lower stance helps improve performance by lowering the car's center of gravity—and it also gives the car a more aggressive attitude by reducing roll angle.
Jakin's team has also changed the shocks to adopt internal rebound springs to improve the roll angle reduction and bounce control. In engineering speak, Jakin says that "reduces vertical amplitude".
Along with upgrading the shocks and struts, TRD engineers have reinforced the body and tuned the tires.
Jakin again: "We've increased the diameter of the front and rear stabilizer bars to control rolls. We've also added thicker gauge steel underbody braces to increase rigidity when the vehicle changes direction."
All that makes for a more responsive car that moves where you want it to go—and doesn't move when it's not supposed to.
Jakin also addressed every detail, all the way down to the pavement. "We've increased the wheel width and decreased the wheel offset. The larger wheel surface will give you better traction and control. The new tire offset will help with stability."
They even shrunk the spoke size on the tires—something Jakin refers to as "reducing unsprung mass wherever we could" which helps with the wheel's cooling ability.
"I think what a lot of people probably don't realize is all the engineering that goes into every single part on these TRD vehicles," Jakin remarks.
There are extensive reviews and approvals required at each stage of a TRD vehicle. Every component is tested for quality, durability and reliability. And once assembled, the vehicle has to meet high standards for performance, safety, and industry regulations.
And any time one part is changed, the entire system has to be evaluated to make sure that each piece is working in harmony with the whole.
That's something Jakin takes personally. "I drive every single one of our products and have to be happy with it before we put the TRD nameplate on it."
It's a ton of work, but it's worth it to Jakin. "The best part of this job is being able to make big performance changes in a vehicle that people are able to enjoy, day-to-day, and bring a smile to their face."
If the Toyota in your driveway is in need of an upgrade, have no fear! TRD parts and products are available and can boost performance and provide that edge you are looking for.
Learn more about the parts and products available and find the best option for your ride.