Winter Driving

Toyota adding all-wheel drive option to Camry and Avalon but not in time for this winter

Toyota is adding an all-wheel drive option to the Camry for 2020 and the Avalon for 2021.

Photo courtesy of Toyota

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Toyota buyers will have less skids and twists to deal with when they add the new all-wheel drive (AWD) option to their new Camry or Avalon.

Recently, the demand for all-wheel drive has increased dramatically as the option becomes cheaper for consumers and more widely available. Toyota has listened, bringing to market the first AWD Camry since 1991 and the first-ever Avalon with the equipment and technology. Back then, the technology was option was called AllTrac.

2020 Toyota Camry XLE AWD All-wheel drive can help vehicles maintain traction in inclement weather.Photo courtesy of Toyota

This version of AWD technology made its debut in the current Toyota RAV4 generation when it was introduced in 2019. Toyota's Dynamic Torque Control AWD system provides torque when needed, where needed, allowing a computer to do the calculating while drivers remain assured and confident behind the wheel.

One of the quibbles with older AWD technology is that it significantly reduced a vehicle's fuel efficiency. Toyota wishes to assure customers that it's AWD system "balances added traction with exemplary fuel efficiency."

Buyers can get the Dynamic Torque Control AWD system as a standalone option on the 2020 Toyota Camry LE, XLE, SE, and XSE trims levels and on the 2020 Toyota Avalon XLE and Limited grades.

2020 Toyota Camry XLE AWD Which ones are AWD? Looking at the badging on the trunk lid.Photo courtesy of Toyota

All-wheel drive will be available on 2020 Toyota Camry models just in time for the snow melt - early spring. Toyota's Cold-Weather Package, which adds heated seats and mirrors on the LE, heated seats, mirrors and steering wheel on the SE, and heated steering wheel on the XLE and XSE, can be added to any Camry AWD model. The 2020 Toyota Camry starts at $24,295. No pricing is available for the all-wheel drive option, yet.

The Avalon AWD will be a model year 2021 sedan and go on-sale next autumn. Both XLE and Limited AWD grades will receive a standard heated steering wheel in addition to the system. Pricing for the 2021 Avalon will be available closer to the product's launch.

AWD models can be spotted on dealer lots by checking for "AWD" badging on the trunk lid of the vehicle.

A limited number of these high-end GT-R models will be for sale in 2020.

Photo courtesy of Italdesign

The Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign customer model won't be displayed in public at an auto show until March but Nissan is giving enthusiasts a look at the prototype at, 2019 NISMO Festival, Nissan Crossing in Tokyo's Ginza district in December, and at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January. Ahead of those events, the Japanese automaker has released new photography of the sports car.

"Designers dream of creating from a blank canvas, but with GT-R, it is a canvas that has been shaped by an adventurous history, a heart powered by NISMO, and a soul reflecting 50 years of dreams of engineers, designers, artisans, developers, racers and leaders," said Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president of global design at Nissan. "The best of Japan and Italy combined with help from our California and London studios are painting on the best canvas any designer can possibly have!"

Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign

Photo courtesy of Nissan

Nissan is currently accepting orders for the limited edition model.

Nissan collaborated with Turin, Italy-based Italdesign to create the model, which is based on the latest Nissan GT-R NISMO. Each of the GT-R50 by Italdesign models has a NISMO-tuned, hand-built, 720-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6.

Nissan reports that customer demand for the production version of the car has been strong, with a number of deposits already taken across the globe. Just 50 reservations will be taken.

In Japan, customers can now purchase a GT-R50 by Italdesign through SCI Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of VT Holdings, which has been appointed official importer and distributor for these exclusive cars in the country.

Those interested in the GT-R50 by Italdesign can visit www.GT-R50.nissan or contact Italdesign directly at aporta.gtr50@italdesign.com.

For inquiries in Japan, contact justin.gtr50@vt-holdings.co.jp.

Deliveries of the car begin in late 2020. Subject to certification and homologation, customers can expect to get behind the wheel of their personalized Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign sometime between late 2020 and the end of 2021.

This year, there isn't just a calendar. Pirelli has also produced a short film.

Photo courtesy of Pirelli

In fair Verona, Pirelli unveiled the 2020 Pirelli Calendar. Featuring a "Looking for Juliet" theme, the calendar features many of the world's top film stars including Claire Foy, Mia Goth, Chris Lee, Indya Moore, Rosalía, Stella Roversi, Yara Shahidi, Kristen Stewart and Emma Watson.

This is the 47th edition of TheCal, as its colloquially known.

Alongside the calendar, calendar creator Paolo Roversi showed his new short film that follows the same theme as the calendar, merging photography and cinematography. The 18-minute short features Roversi playing himself as a director interviewing candidates for the role of Juliet.

Here's how Pirelli describes the film:

"The scenario unfolds in two phases. In the first, the protagonists are shown arriving at the set, without makeup or costume. They sit and talk with Roversi about the project under way, each one vying to be chosen, telling the director about their personal experiences and how they envisage Juliet. In this way, the actresses reveal their intimate, personal side. In the second phase they put on the costumes devised to transform them for their personal interpretation of Shakespeare's heroine. The idea is to portray a story in which reality and fiction dovetail and their distinctions blur, as in a hazy photograph."

"I was looking for a pure soul, someone full of innocence that combined strength, beauty, tenderness and courage," said Roversi. "I found this in the glimmer of an eye, in the gestures and words of Emma and Yara, Indya and Mia and in the smiles and tears of Kristen and Claire…in the voices and chants of Chris and Rosalía. In Stella we have the innocence. There's a Juliet in every woman ... and I will never stop looking for her."

The photo and video shoot took place in May in Verona. The 2020 calendar is the first to be created by an Italian photographer. Past calendars have been shot by masters of the craft including Annie Leibovitz, Herb Ritts, Mario Testino, and Terry Richardson.

Check out this extended look at the production of the calendar:

It is comprised of 132 pages. The monthly calendar is on the cover and then there are sections of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" followed by 58 photos featuring a storied imagining of "Romeo and Juliet" in Verona. The scope of the project was informed by Roversi's love of opera.

The many behind-the-scenes moments during the photo-shoots and filming, along with the characters and backstage stories of the 2020 Pirelli Calendar can be found online at the dedicated site www.pirellicalendar.com, which also offers the chance to explore the over fifty-year history of The Cal™ with films, interviews, photographs, and hitherto unpublished texts.