Toyota Adds AWD, ‘Nightshade’ Options for 2021 Avalon

Jul 22, 2020

Toyota is offering a number of new options for the 2021 Avalon sedan, including all-wheel drive and a ‘Nightshade Edition,’ the automaker announced.

The 10 Avalon variations for 2021 include:

V6 gas engine: XLE, XSE Nightshade, Limited, Touring and TRD grades

Hybrid: XLE, XSE and Limited grades

All-Wheel Drive: XLE and Limited grades

For the Avalon’s fifth generation design, Toyota steered its flagship sedan down a more emotional road, with taut lines and a sleek, coupe-like silhouette made possible by the low-slung TNGA platform architecture. Compelling colors bring out the design’s natural yet sophisticated drama.

For the Avalon TRD performance model, a two-tone paint option features a black roof paired with either the Windchill Pearl or new Ice Edge body colors. Ice Edge replaces Supersonic Red, which now becomes available for the other Avalon grades. Midnight Black Metallic continues as a third choice for the 2021 Avalon TRD.

Elsewhere in the Avalon line, the new Blueprint color replaces Parisian Night Pearl. Colors continuing for 2021 include Opulent Amber, Harbor Gray Metallic, Celestial Silver Metallic, and Ruby Flare Pearl. New interior colors include Cognac with Black in the XSE Hybrid and Touring, and, in the Limited, Black replaces Beige.

The new-for-2021 XSE Nightshade Edition is based on the 2020 XSE trim. To the XSE black grille, mirror caps, rear spoiler and name badges, the 2021 XSE Nightshade Edition adds black-painted 19-inch alloy wheels, black window trim and door handles and a black shark fin antenna. The Avalon XSE Nightshade is available in conjunction with the Midnight Black Metallic, Wind Chill Pearl and Celestial Silver Metallic exterior colors.

The 2021 Avalon debuts the first all-wheel drive option in the model’s history. Available as a standalone option on the XLE and Limited grades, Dynamic Torque Control AWD is combined with the 2.5-liter Dynamic Force four-cylinder engine and teamed with an eight-speed Direct-Shift automatic transmission. This powertrain, with dual exhausts, produces 205 hp.

Dynamic Torque Control AWD provides effective traction for inclement and slippery weather while minimizing AWD’s typical drag on fuel economy. The system can direct up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels in response to acceleration from a start or slippage at the front wheels.

The XLE AWD adds a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, which is already standard on Limited. The Avalon AWD is a North America-only model developed in the U.S. and is assembled exclusively at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky.

The Avalon TRD is powered exclusively by Toyota’s direct-injected, 301-horsepower DOHC 3.5-liter V-6. The Direct-Shift eight-speed automatic transmission features sport mode and paddle shifters. A TRD-tuned cat-back dual exhaust system expresses a more aggressive idle and acceleration sound, the company says.

Thicker underbody braces increase torsional rigidity, and unique coil springs lower the Avalon TRD by 0.6 inches for a reduced center of gravity.

The chassis is further enhanced with stiffer coil springs and stabilizer bars that increase roll stiffness by 44% in the front and 67% in the rear.

Exclusive TRD shock absorbers complete the suspension modifications that enhance body control, handling agility, and steering precision.

Special lightweight 19 x 8.5-inch matte-black alloy wheels typify the thoroughness of TRD chassis tuning, reducing unsprung mass by 18 pounds compared to the 19-inch wheels on the Avalon XSE grade. New for 2021, the TRD offers the choice of summer-only tires.

Avalon TRD’s front brakes are larger with 12.9-inch diameter rotors and dual-piston calipers, compared to 12.0-inch rotors and single-piston calipers on the Avalon XSE. Brake performance is tuned to provide more direct feedback.

The exclusive TRD aerodynamic body kit, which includes the front splitter, side aero skirts, trunk lid spoiler and rear diffuser, blends bold styling elements while also improving high speed vehicle stability. Available exterior colors include new Ice Edge (exclusive to TRD), Wind Chill Pearl, and Midnight Black Metallic. Red pinstriping on the aero body elements complete Avalon TRD’s design transformation.

Inside, Avalon TRD features black Sport SofTex-trimmed heated front seats with Ultrasuede inserts and red accents. Exclusive touches include red-stitched TRD embroidered headrests, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with red stitching, red seatbelts, a shift knob with an embossed TRD logo, and unique TRD floor and trunk mats.