It’s hard to believe that the Toyota Avalon has been part of the streetscape for over 25 years now. Redesigned again for its fifth generation a couple of years ago, the range has been expanded for 2021 with a new all wheel drive model. Interestingly, it’s paired exclusively with Toyota’s gasoline 2.5liter 4-cylinder engine, as opposed to either the V6 or the available Hybrid. I, as a closet Avalon fan despite never having owned or as far as I can recall even having driven one, was looking forward to this week with it. Let’s go for a ride.
The Avalon has long been called the Japanese Buick by some, I’m not sure if that was originally meant to be derisive or laudatory. Or perhaps just a bit of a backhanded compliment thought up by someone trying to be clever. Whatever, if that’s really the case then the Avalon has seemingly had the last laugh as it’s apparently kicked the ass of the Buick sedan lineup to the point that there are no Buick sedans left for sale in its home country.
If a new one is ever introduced here again (fat chance), perhaps it’ll be called Buick’s Avalon. Quiet, dignified near-luxury is exactly what Buick once specialized in, and describes the Avalon mission to a tee, a mantle once held by the Cressida prior to the rise of Lexus.
Still, that’s a lot of credit seeing as how the Avalon hasn’t cracked 60,000 annual sales here since 2015 (and 100k only once in its entire history). In fact this current generation hasn’t yet exceeded 30,000 per annum. Yet, Toyota keeps on with it and regularly updates it. One reason for this is that the platform is shared and the car is built on a flexible assembly line that also builds the Camry, so relative volumes can easily be adjusted depending on demand. The heavily related Lexus ES (also now available with this drivetrain configuration) is also built on this line, further helping to keep it moving.
Another point of interest is that the Avalon now a hit in China of all places, where this newest generation sold over 111,000 units last year (yes, the pandemic year) and thus development costs can be spread over more units. Perhaps it’ll kick Buick’s ass over there too eventually, who knows, the Japanese auto industry in general seems to be making serious inroads there as of late which didn’t seem to always be the case.
The Avalon has gone from a very conservative and upright design to something more swoopy over the last few design cycles and that hasn’t slowed this time around. When introduced, the immediate general reaction was a somewhat shocked outpouring of emotion and pearl-clutching over its rather large grille, which when now viewed in context to the rest of the current lineup served to announce the direction of Toyota’s front end design in general, with a similar theme being displayed on other models introduced since then, most notably the Sienna and Highlander.
In those cases the reaction to it was more muted after the Avalon broke the ice, perhaps a clever move on Toyota’s part to do so with a lower volume model. The Camry did actually do the wider grille slightly earlier but not quite to the same extreme. The grille features an upper section that opens to the radiator, then a solid section in the middle where a European (or Chinese-sized) license plate would go, and then another opening towards the bottom. The side portions are mainly closed. In its entirety, the chromed surround encompasses an area that is probably about half open and half closed when counting the license plate area.
Most pronounced on the “sporty” Avalon sub-models, this version in Limited trim keeps it as toned down as possible and actually isn’t what makes the biggest initial impression, at least when not faced with it from a head-on perspective while laying on the ground, as many of the initial images of it appeared to have done.
What’s most notable is in fact are its dimensions and how low it looks with long, flowing lines that sculpt themselves around the corners of the car. As a sedan, and a historically conservative one at that, this is downright sexy, the choir girl showing the congregation her garter belt which I’m not entirely sure all of the purists are ready for.
In fact it’s virtually the exact same height as the first generation Avalon but now almost six inches longer than that one, a quarter decade later. Three and half inches longer than and about the same height as the current Camry and five and half inches shorter than the last (now departed) Chevrolet Impala while about two inches lower than that same Impala.
I kind of dig the look, it reminds me of the Lexus LS big dog, long and sort of slinky, especially in the vivid metallic blue named Blueprint this one was painted. Besides the blue, there are also two different reds on offer along with the usual array of grayscales as well as a brown. While the market is seemingly heading away, every few years I find myself drawn back to some sedans, and currently this here finds my favor. I’d really love to see it as a station wagon, but know that’ll never come to pass.
Inside though is where it really shines, especially in the striking Cognac color that pervades a lot of it here. Not just on the seats and door panels, incorporating the color on the dashboard and center console makes it look more complete and adds significant visual interest which is then compounded by the intricate stitching most evident on those panels and seat bolsters. “Dramatic” isn’t a word I was ever thinking of being able to draw from my wordsmith’s quiver in relation to any aspect of a Toyota Avalon but here it fits.
Calming and comfortable, like a good lounge, and not as austere as many other vehicles. In addition there are flashes of extravagance clearly on display that make the eye focus on things not normally worthy of attention without veering into the garish.
Beyond the leather, there is genuine wood trim that has tactile grain with a satin finish, apparently sourced through Yamaha who through their fine musical instruments division has some very relevant experience with this material. Here the wood has the look and feel of large solid pieces rather than just thin veneers. But most captivating in the interior is the way the center console sweeps forward and up in a very, well, dramatic fashion.
Love it or hate it, the 9″ screen doesn’t look tacked on at least, here it actually looks like it comes from somewhere and presents as a very clean user interface that at its root is still the same basic item that is shared across most of the lineup. With eight small menu buttons along the sides, touch and voice capability, the resolution is perfectly fine but not anywhere near the top of the class (most evident in the camera resolution of the backup and 360-degree bird’s eye views).
While I’m well versed in Toyota’s system and it is quick to respond to inputs, it’s starting to feel a little clunky compared to the advances made in other systems, however it does work reliably and without fundamental fault. The main screen is easily reconfigurable as to what information a driver wants displayed on it (up to three unrelated subjects at one time) and in the end it’s just another aspect of controlling the car that’s quite ubiquitous now and far from a novelty anymore. Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto are also included here as they are now seemingly (finally) for at least the majority of Toyotas in general.
Below the screen and the center vents is an array of buttons for the HVAC controls that aren’t the ideal way to control everything as opposed to knobs but fit within the modern theme here. At least they are physical buttons, as usual presented and installed extremely precisely with excellent action. Seat heat and ventilation controls are found down here as well and it all works easily and obviously, without any need to look for a manual to explain things. All the way at the bottom is a compartment covered in the same colored soft material that slides forward to present a compartment for a mobile phone with a wireless charging pad.
Steering wheel heat and some of the driver assist features are controlled via a separate button bank to the lower left of the wheel, and the wheel itself controls various aspects such as the adaptive cruise control as well as phone and audio functions along with information displayed via the instrument panel. In addition adjustment for tilt and telescope is electric via a small knob on the column below the turn signal lever, much like an external mirror adjuster.
That instrument panel contains backlit gauges with traditional needles along with a large and reconfigurable central display area that as usual I mostly kept in the fuel economy reporting program but can be used for all manner of other items ranging from various bits of vehicle information to audio selection along with many other aspects to toggle through. The above picture makes the screen edge obvious, in reality it appears seamless with the rest of the panel.
The seats themselves are supremely comfortable and easy to find yourself forming a long-term relationship with, although those longer of torso than myself (6’1″ with 32″ inseam) might wish that the roof was raised a bit more. With the sunroof I was dangerously close to touching its surround and when entering the car was reminded of one of the main reasons that sedans are falling out of favor.
I’m not completely out of shape but am also not the most limber person I know, at times ducking and bending my neck under the doorframe wasn’t as easy as it was at half my age or even a decade ago. That’s subjective of course and hardly an overall demerit but something that some buyers will (unfortunately need to) consider.
The back seat is similarly comfortable, however again the roofline intrudes a bit, forcing at least myself to slouch a little for maximum comfort. The cushion is long enough for this and legroom is also very charitable back here, so this presents less of a problem than it could. Interestingly this is at least partly due to the AWD setup on this car, the revised floorplan required the back seat to be almost half an inch higher than the regular FWD version, but the Hybrid FWD is similarly afflicted due to its batteries.
The rear of the center console contains separate HVAC vents along with seat heater controls and two separate sizes of USB inputs, more of which are located within the center console itself. A fold-down armrest with cupholders completes the package back here.
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**** me, that grill is ghastly. With a face like that it deserves the fate of the Avalon badge in Australia.
It’s got that “cow catcher” front end.
The 1960 Plymouth and it’s grille were SO ahead of the time.
The Toyota dealers will get lots of cars needing curbside damage repair to one of the front corners.
Well there Chinese like big grills. Just walk into any Audi, BMW and Mercedes dealer. You’ll probably agree that this is one of the pretty ones?.
Big market preferences dictate, sorry. Looks good even as bit Mazda 6 ish. Whilst Ford, at least, gives up mid size sedans for SUVs the Japanese take over the market. The question is.. looking at this, why would you spend your $1000s more for a Lexus?.
About 2 weeks ago I test drove an Avalon hybrid from the generation prior to this one. I was interested in a Toyota hybrid that was NOT a Prius. 2 things about that car, regrettably, gave me pause (looking back it was a screaming deal that I should have bought): the styling of the front end and that the car was A LOT more complicated a car than I thought that I wanted to deal with.
Avalons are, depending on the years, often nearly the same length as the concurrent Camry.. But after years of standing in the shadow, stylistically, of the Camry, Toyota decided with this generation to bring the Avalon into its own right.
I don’t think that I could buy a 2021 Avalon (new, or used) but I will be interested to see if a buyer backlash forces Toyota to tone down the styling by mid-model cycle.
Egad’s, what the?
That grille reminds me of Wallace.
Toyota’s ongoing “large mouth Bass/bottom feeder” themed grilles have kept me out of their showrooms.
I guess not everyone can be pleased. 8,692,168 worldwide customers in 2020 didn’t seem to mind. 🙂 But imagine if they had a more conventionally boring front end!
“But imagine if they had a more conventionally boring front end!”
Then another subset of people would be complaining that their boring styling kept them out of their showrooms. I suspect there’s more than a few people out there who would make both comments, suggesting they weren’t going into the showroom one way or the other but want their comments to seem relevant.
When the late Ed Koch of NYC mayor was asked why NYC wasn’t more homogenized concerning the different ethnic parts of the city, he replied “it would be pretty boring if everything were the same”.
I generally feel the same way. If one likes a car’s styling, go for it.
Well, first of all, well done on the review as always.
I have mixed opinions on this car. In many ways, it is handsome in the same way the TourX is, so I can see why you like it. A wagon version would be even more so.
The swoopy center stack is neatly integrated. I don’t care for whatever that style is, but it resembles my son’s PlayStation 5 so it must be the new thing.
The seats look pretty sweet. Neat color too.
The thought of your head getting anywhere near the sunroof is odd to me. I am 6 foot tall and all torso, and I am nowhere near the roof of my ’03 Avalon. Compared to the zero-tumblehome and city-bus headroom of my old (very old) one I wouldn’t like having less room.
It has an attractive roofline; sleek and stylish while seeming to have adequate window-age.
I’m curious about how quiet the motor is from the outside. I ask because a guy at work has a new Highlander. He parks next to me most days.
From my car with my window down I can’t hear my (270,000 mile) V6 running. At all. I can hear his (what sounds like) 4-cylinder quite easily. I was surprised by this, as it sounded more like my friend’s ’14 Sonata which sounds kind of like a 70s Toyota. (I don’t mean that as an insult) I’m not talking exhaust sound, just the sound from outside the hood. I am not around newer Toyotas all that much. Is this how they all are now? (not being sarcastic)
Of course I don’t like the massive grille. But I’m trying to look objectively beyond that. Since Toyota took the more-expressive-styling route awhile back I’ve been wondering if they are still focusing as much on function, and that Highlander’s relative noisiness compared to my ancient car has me concerned, as does the new Avalon’s seemingly smaller headroom area.
Thanks again for an enjoyable read.
I perhaps sit a bit more upright than many but not any more than recommended, my goal is to be able to comfortable grasp every part of the steering wheel without lifting my back off the seat. Some people tend to lean further back and work the bottom of the wheel which would increase headroom in that case. I can only try to be consistent in how I approach the various cars.
At idle from inside the car I could not hear the Avalon running, nor could I hear the Highlander when I had that last year. (or even our older 2016 that we used to own).
I wonder if your friend can hear YOUR car from his car, it’s usually easier to hear a car’s engine when you are standing or sitting next to it than if you are in the actual car and trying to hear the engine in front of you. There is far more sound deadening (on purpose) between your engine compartment and your front seat than there is between your friend’s side fender, wheel well and your open window.
Thanks for the reply.
I prefer to sit mostly upright, too. I also keep the seat somewhat closer than my height would suggest.
Good point about the location of sound deadening. I hadn’t thought of it that way.
re: Engine noise. Is it a rapid ticka-ticka-ticka-ticka? It may be the high pressure fuel delivery system on the direct-injected engine. Fairly common on direct-injected engines from a number of manufacturers, and they are surprising loud at idle.
To my unsophisticated ears, the sound said to me “Check my oil”.
Is that common on late-model Toyotas?
Yes, that’s usually the Direct Injection pump and isn’t just Toyotas, many manufacturers use the technology now. I believe Mitsubishi offered it first, lots of Hyundai and Kia models do as do many of the Europeans, especially Mercedes. It’s sort of like a very fast paced lifter tick (but isn’t). You (or at least I) can’t generally hear it from inside the car unless parked next to a wall with the window open etc.
What you may hear is the direct fuel injectors. Our MDX V6 engine is very quiet but those injectors are pretty noisy. Inside the car I can’t hear much of anything if I’m cruising. The engine under load sounds good.
I totally agree with your assessment of the Gen2 Avalon. Back in the days when I needed to commute 140 miles per day I chose one of those for my commute cocoon. I was deliberately looking for a Gen2 for the same reasons..airy greenhouse, great headroom, and great mileage.
This was one of Toyota’s best engineering efforts EVER! we have a LS430 right now, but if it got totalled tomorrow, I’d be looking for another Avalon right away.
Change the oil more often than recommend. Every 4,000 to 5,000 miles or so.
Hoping that Toyota has improved the up and down shifting feel/quality.
My 2019 Camry’s 8 speed automatic transmission can be best described as “spastic and bi-polar”.
The only Toyota I have driven recently where I noticed the up and down shifting was the Tacoma and the reason for that is that it was a manual transmission 🙂 The 8-speed here shifted imperceptibly as far as the mechanics of the thing are concerned.
If you’re not staring at the tachometer and focusing on what is normal behavior in modern multispeed transmissions by looking at it (they shift a lot, that’s the point, as opposed to a 2-speed PowerGlide), and instead feeling every shift, both up and down, there is something wrong with your car and it should be looked at under its warranty program.
The Toyota dealer’s service manager said: “That’s just how they shift now.”
My 2011 Camry had a much smoother, quieter, more harmonious powertrain than this 2019 model does.
Try a different dealer for the next oil change. Or/And test drive a new one with the same power train on their lot. Your dealer isn’t the company, and the service writer is no tech expert.
ToyotaNation.com has a plethora of complaints and comments about the current Crappy Camry transmission.
It’s not just me.
“They all do that” is a time worn and still universal reply by any and every dealer service manager when a car is under warranty. I would have thought that today the “Love, it’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru” people might be better, but boy was I wrong.
We don’t have a lot of livery cars aka black sedans, in my neck of the woods. Nor do I see many late-model Avalon’s. But when I see one, usually hybrid, it’s often one of the former as well. Or an Uber.
Comment of the day. Stray possessives drive me nuts too.
Was always puzzled as to why Toyota would build the Avalon, which appeals to the same demographic as the similar, and more expensive, Lexus ES. Maybe it’s a world market thing and the more widespread Toyota dealership network.
Nice looking car though and always near the top in CR and other auto reliability surveys.
The Avalon, I think, was originally conceived as competition for America’s large sedans. In fact, many were sold with bench front seats and column shift, are any still sold that way?
Therefore, this car was originally seen as ” doing battle ” with Buicks, Chevy’s Impala, Ford’s Crown Victoria. (The first Avalons hit showrooms 25 years ago. )
Right. Plus, the Avalon used to be larger than the Camry/ES, which were midsize. But at the start of the previous-generation ES (2013-2018), it began using the Avalon’s longer wheelbase.
I don’t think anything Toyota has made in the last 20 years appeals to me or fits my needs.
Even once you get past the grill, you have a 4000lb AWD/FWD sedan with a 205HP naturally aspirated 2.4L engine with an automatic transmission…. snooze…
If it really can do 34MPG US highway without major pussyfooting or driving only 50mph/90kmh, that is impressive.
Perhaps not your cup of tea but to clarify:
The weight is 3570-3715;bs. Occupants would increase that as with any car.
The FWD is available with a 301hp V6, that would be the base trim and available all the way through the lineup.
0-60 in 7.7 as this one does isn’t objectively “slow” and likely better than the median car driving around on today’s roads. The 301hp V6 in the FWD one does do it in 6 seconds flat. How fast does a family sedan need to be?
And yes, I showed the gauge of the gas mileage average from my house to the south end of Denver done on freeways with 75mph posted limits and then through a city with limits of 55/65 and flow that was faster in all cases, no special driving needed or required to exceed the 34mpg rating. Elevation at my destination was 800 feet higher than at my start as well.
It might not be an dynamically exciting car but it’ll cruise with comfort all day long. I feel like this was Toyota’s goal.
“Love it or hate it, the 9″ screen doesn’t look tacked on at least,”
Easy to imagine the screen is not there. Then you will see a nicely sculpted dashboard with flowing lines. To me, that ugly looks like someone fitted an aftermarket and tried to get away with it by smoothing it down to the tunnel. It is not part of the dash design.
Amazing after a couple of years now this still seems hard to incorporate in the dash design.
I believe there is not and was not any intention to actively incorporate the screen into the dash for most makers. The point is to have it higher up as close to the driver’s line of sight as possible instead of having the driver look down and away from the road as well as being generally minimalist in design. They can be “incorporated” but then are either much lower than the instrument panel or the whole surrounding dash looks much higher as seen in various BMWs for example from the mid 2000’s or so.
A better analogy might be to consider how people use cell phones as navigation devices in cars. Many will just jam them into the cupholder and constantly look down at them to see their direction. Others will get a device that clips to their ventilation outlets or suckers near the base of the windshield so that the device is high up and as close to line of sight as possible with less necessary eye movement. It’s obvious which is the better option.
The best option today regarding mobile phone navigation these days Jim, is having the screen, and using Apple CarPlay. Then you get the best of both worlds. Thankfully, more and more cars are coming with this feature.
I really don’t understand why so many folks are put off by these screens in cars, as they really do serve a purpose. Of course I’m preaching to the choir here, as you are the proud owner of a Tesla. Screens don’t get any more awesome that that!
Great review as always, sir!
These displays are exactly the same visually as continental spare tire kits. Those mercifully weren’t mandatory options in most cases though.
It’s “minimalist” in the same fashion, there’s a conventional dash design there, just like there is a conventional rear end, the Continental spare places an auxiliary spare tire over the existing rear end, these place an auxiliary appearing screen over the dash. Same visual effect with different parts.
Dude, you are reaching but I appreciate the commentary. I don’t think anyone here expected you to like this car no matter if it had a screen or not, and that’s perfectly alright, different strokes and all that. A screen can be a useful tool for the driver/operator, it allows visual directions, it allows easily modifying many settings and parameters of the vehicle without paying a dealer to hook something up and rip you off, it allows display of massive amounts of information, communication etc. Just because it’s different than in your vehicle doesn’t automatically make it bad for everyone. In the case of the Tesla that someone else referenced above, non-owners in general are clamoring for MORE screens, and Ford obliged in the Mach-E…Change is hard, progress happens anyway. Interaction with the screen is not mandatory to operate the car itself in this Toyota.
As far as “design” goes, there are two other options to having screens – A: hang it tablet style on the otherwise “conventional dash design” and everyone complains how tacked on it looks or B: integrate it into the dashboard itself and that results in either the dash being a cliff like in many 1970s and early ’80s domestic cars if you want it high up or the screen and other ancillaries needing to be placed so low that the operator is peering down into the area behind the shifter such as where you’d often find the stereo in older cars, both completely unsatisfactory to what appears to be the majority of modern drivers.
This particular one here actually features design work, its location is one of intention, not convenience of manufacture.
The last decade or more of use has shown that screens are remarkably robust devices, hugely convenient, they aren’t falling off their mounts, and the overwhelming majority of buyers like them, the main request seems to be to increase their size. All in marked contrast to continental kits.
I understand what you mean, Matt.
I think with this Avalon, rather than trying to integrate the screen into the dash, which in my opinion never works, they just decided to make a separate arch from the console area to hold it and not clutter the dash.
Like rather than trying to fit yet-another drink on the table, they just got a second table. Sort of brilliant in a way. I expect others will follow suit.
Two options with a spare tire too, hang it on an otherwise conventional rear end where it’s tacked on or put it in the trunk and take up lower cargo space. Actually there’s three, no spare, but heaven forbid a car doesn’t have a standard screen in it. Ok, I’ll stop now 🙂
I never said I disliked the car, to the contrary actually, I think the body styling minus the grille is very handsome and other than that display on the dash(which is a bane in just about every car now, but definitely better executed here) I think the interior is very attractive in design and materials, one of the best out there quite frankly. The Avalon is my favorite sedan out there next to the Dodge Charger for a much different purpose. With regards to the screens and technology features however I just can’t help but have a good memory and knowing it wasn’t long ago people extolled the virtues of analog gauges and tactile intuitive controls where you didn’t need to look anywhere else but forward to operate them, whether they were placed up or down. Tesla can rationalize their giant screen when they have autopilot to justify the driver inattentiveness it enables.
That interior looks fantastic. Any time you can get an interior color other than black, grey, or beige in a win.
I’ve never seriously considered an Avalon (and likely still won’t), so I had no clue that it had this terrific of an interior. Too bad it is attached to such a “butter face” of a car.
Thanks for this revealing look at the Avalon, a car I would otherwise not likely be familiar with. Yes, that interior is very inviting. Well done. And yes, this does strike me as a junior LS, undoubtedly intentional.
Since my xB is currently up on ramps, I’ve been driving Stephanie’s 2013 TSX wagon, for the first time in over a year. My relevant thoughts: yes, I really do prefer tall cars. And I think Toyota might have done themselves a favor adding a couple of inches to these. But once snuggled in, oh my, does that TSX go and handle!
As to anyone thinking a 200+hp four is “slow” or “snoozy” in a car this size, it’s pretty silly. Seriously, how often do these drivers actually use all that power? I got a ticket for doing 130 in the TSX. How many of these V6 drivers ever really let them rip? I suspect it’s mostly in their heads, the knowledge that all that unused power is theoretically available to them at a stab of their feet, regardless if it’s ever fully utilized.
Yes, the 2000 Ford Crown Vic with its 4.6l V8 had 200hp, weighed several hundred pounds more, and had a combined average of 18mpg with the handling prowess of a log and people still think they are plenty fast/quick because the police liked them. I know which one I would choose of these two (and I say all that as a quasi-fan of the Ford).
If you want/need real power and acceleration you go full or at least partial EV anyway nowadays beyond specialty applications where the noise IS half of the appeal, 0-60 in 7.7 isn’t slow and it’s limited to 130mph anyway, not that anyone will touch that (besides you in the desert of course).
My 170 HP Golf has more than adequate power for every situation I have encountered.
As for tall cars, this is one of the main reasons I bought my Golf. Visibility was a big factor, too.
I agree, people seem to be numbed by horsepower numbers being thrown around in modern supercars and top of the line Muscle cars, but my heavy Cougar had 205 horsepower when I got it in high school and I never found it underpowered unless I caught myself up in a drag race with a car way out of my league, otherwise it was enough to do pretty much everything it does with the 320 horsepower engine in it now.
Very nice interior, I poked around one on the dealership floor and it feels like a premium vehicle. It is a sleek car in profile, but as with the Camry, the…um, expressive front fascia isn’t to my liking.
I’m not in the market or demographic for large semi-premium touring sedans like this, but I’m inclined to believe that if I were, I would want something better under the hood than a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated 4 cylinder. This engine is quite good in a $28K Camry, but I think it’s playing out of its depth at this price point. Blizzaks, FWD, and a disregard for fuel economy for me. Gimme the V6.
I too or was at least a little concerned about it at first, and then found it quite easy to live with. The fact that the Lexus ES, when equipped with AWD, uses the exact same engine/drivetrain made any remaining hangups about it go away, now this is the bargain setup comparatively. The car is lighter than you’d think at between 3570 and 3715lbs.
I too enjoy the Toyota V6, it’s so effortless, however I also recall struggling to get 22mpg in our 2016 Highlander, as I see gas prices exceeding $3/gallon again it all of a sudden becomes more relevant. For purely in town usage the Avalon is quite large. But for an open road trip, i.e like those trips that every EV-naysayer says they need to take across the country twice a month with their car or even just a couple of hundred miles occasionally, this seems ideal. Easily as comfortable as a large pickup truck or SUV with minimal noise intrusion, no trouble maintaining higher speeds, and far superior gas mileage along with a quite reasonable price of entry when compared to those trucks with similar interior amenities. And on the open road the view isn’t constrained by taller vehicles in close proximity.
Nice to hear that they implemented the 2.5 well in this application. Preference for V6 reserve thrust and NVH aside, the 2.5 is impressive in acceleration and mileage. Despite the extra 3-400 pounds and AWD over our Camry with the old 2.5, this Avalon’s a smidge quicker and seems to return the same fuel economy.
7.7 to 60 is more than adequate for pulling into traffic and getting up to highway speed.
Exceeding $3/gallon? Come back to California: I paid $4.49/gallon for premium yesterday. Given the thirst of my G37, that peppy and economical four sounds quite appealing. The Avalon has gotten too big for my needs, though.
If my memory is accurate, the Buick comparison got its start in a review of the very first Avalon by (I believe) C&D – which used a subtitle something like “Toyota Builds a Buick – – – And A Good One”. It was kind of accurate at the time, and Buick was on its last big roll in the mid 90s. A longtime Buick fan in my circle bought an early Avalon for his wife. They never bought another Buick.
I have moderate experience (through friends, relatives and such) with 1st and 3d gen cars, but not these. If I were in the market for a large sedan I would certainly give one of these a look. I would love to drive the V6 and this 4cyl AWD version back to back. Maybe this is the car that would get me past my prejudice against 4 cyl large vehicles.
On the topic of this being Toyota’s Buick, it seems entirely appropriate with that gaping maw of a grille.
@Jim: Your reviews are one of the high points of this site. I always read them, even when they are about cars that I’m not ever going to buy, or only have a passing interest. I really appreciate the “personal” sizing tests, as I’m 6’4″ and that is one area that I’ve always felt was lacking in reviews.
Thank You, I appreciate that very much!
I agree with Moparman, Jim. I read every review you write. Sometimes I even agree 👍 with your statements.
Thank you, John!
@Jim: Your reviews are one of the high points of this site. I always read them, even when they are about cars that I’m not ever going to buy, or only have a passing interest. I really appreciate the “personal” sizing tests, as I’m 6’4″ and that is one area that I’ve always felt was lacking in reviews. 🙂
It appears the Avalon is continuing to successfully fulfill its mission of being a large comfortable and reliable car for people who don’t particularly care about cars and driving. It also fills the niche of serving those who consider a Lexus too expensive or ostentatious. In this respect the Avalon is a Buick Electra to the Lexus LS’ Sedan de Ville, or a Rover P5 to a Bentley.
Like the Camry the Avalon is the kind of car I would never drive but unhesitatingly. recommend to others.
As a random aside I initially type Sedan de Ville as Sedan de Vile, which seems like a perfect moniker for the 1985 FWD Cadillacs
toyota should make a big sedan with a bench seat and column shifter and a tall greenhouse for headroom but not a truck, stretch it out for back seat and trunk room. dont make it premium just make it like a corolla but big. bigger than a camry.
They did exactly that on prior versions of the Avalon, just the other day I was looking at one from ca.2002 – bench seat, column shift, high-looking roof, giant trunk. Eerily similar to a JDM Crown Comfort.
Nice review! I hear the comments about the integrated screen, but designers are influenced by Tesla. Their screens are the definition of “bolt-on” and no one seems to ping them.
As a component that likely could need replacing in the future, I would prefer it to be somewhat accessible and not buried in the dash.
I still don’t like the gaping maw front end but with a darker color I would live it.
The big problem I have with any new vehicle is that I am driving a fraction of what I used to when I started working from home B.C. I went from 500 miles a week commuting to 0, and now only about 40 miles a week overall. At that rate, I am looking at 4k miles/year taking in errands and other odd trips!
I only have the odd meeting in person or that requires me to drive somewhere apart from local errands. The biggest problem I have is keeping my car on a battery maintainer!
I don’t think I will be buying anything new for a long time in the future.
To my unsophisticated ears, the sound said to me “Check my oil”.
Is that common on late-model Toyotas?
I agree with the other comments on the appealing interior. Looks better than most other Toyotas boring black and silver plastic interiors. Also looks better than the Buicks of old that this car is attempting to emulate.
That front end though, it looks like a dustbuster attachment.
Nice interior I dont like the front, the seat possibly drops down for tall drivers but I dont know if this Avalon comes here theres a suburb called Avalon and the old TV1 studios were in Avalon no it will be one we dont get.
lots of Toyota hybrids in all shapes and sizes here it seems they put that drive train in everything,
200hp should be enuff my car catches most things merging on slip roads its only 110 hp and 195 ftlbs@1700rpm not even needed when the lane you merge into is doing 20kmh
Interesting to see a car we don’t see in Europe.
That interior looks great, especially (because of?) the colour and the roof line reminds me of the last Jaguar XJ, which is a compliment.
And the styling otherwise – absolutely fine in that dark blue, but the snow plough does rather dominate the front.
Having said that, is it any worse than some of Audi’s efforts or the latest BMW 4 series?
I can’t imagine the cost to repair that grille. Even a low speed front end collision would be very costly. Almost no protection seen in front view, insurance may be more expensive on the new Avalon?
I doubt it. The front of most cars is covered in plastic these days. Whether it’s a large grille or a small grille and inversely a plastic painted “bumper” surrounding it with a larger hole or a smaller hole in it for the “grille”, why would there be much of a difference? As I explained, the middle section of it is in fact closed off, i.e. solid, with presumably a bumper bar behind it like any other car. The grille portions likely come from the factory pre-painted and are a bolt on affair, as opposed to the bumper which generally requires paint. The parking sensors are in the grille and grille colored, so one size fits all, no extra paint or special assembly procedure there either. The days of any minor collision in any car being able to “buff out” or costing less than an average deductible are long gone. Nobody wanted unpainted black bumpers (can’t look like one of the poors, right?) and nobody wants the weight and thus fuel economy penalty of solid metal chromed bumpers either as everyone is a superior driver and wouldn’t ever need that. 🙂 Never mind what the replacement cost is for a dinged/bent chromed bumper is on a modern truck, who knows.
Cars more and more taller, bigger and wider grilles, it seems we’re near to enter in a loop of design style.