Photos Courtesy Toyota
By Vince Bodiford
Among all of the Toyota cars, the Avalon is my favorite. It’s the largest of all of their sedans, and I like big cars. It’s also named after one of my favorite places anywhere – Avalon, which is the crown jewel little town on Santa Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California.
Like the town of Avalon, the car is painting-perfect in good looks, is charming and welcoming, is upscale, and is just the right size.
As Toyota’s flagship midsize sedan, the Avalon brings premium style, performance, interior amenities, and presence to the road – without a first-class price. It’s this blend of high-quality characteristics that has been key to the Avalon’s success since it first rolled off the assembly line at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky back in 1994 (I drove that very first model, and it was great back then, too).
Avalon offers V6 and hybrid powertrains (for this test I drove they hybrid), the latter delivering 40 mpg combined. The Avalon offers a choice of V6 or hybrid powertrains – one of eight Toyota hybrid models available for 2018. The Avalon’s 3.5-liter, DOHC V6 with Dual VVT-imakes 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 248 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm. Teamed with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the V6 offers EPA-rated 24 mpg combined fuel economy (21 city/30 highway).
The Avalon offers a luxurious ride, yet also has a sporty side, especially when drivers use the standard steering wheel paddle shifters on the gas model and driving mode selector (Eco, Normal and Sport modes).
The Avalon certainly looks the part of a premium luxury sedan, with a coupe-like profile, bold grille and discrete chrome trim. Even with the sweeping roofline, Avalon provides ample rear seat head room. Interior design and appointments also live up to the premium promise. Avalon’s cabin – one of the roomiest in the segment – offers a choice of three interior color themes including Almond, Light Gray, and Black. Serenity on the road is assured by sound-absorbing and sound-insulating materials, including acoustic-type glass used for the windshield and side glass.
Even the smallest of cabin details have been paid attention to. The power windows, for example, slow down as they approach the top of the window frames, and the coin box features a damper for smooth opening and closing. The steering column tilts and telescopes, and elegant smoke chrome trim surrounds the center panel, while glossy trim frames the shifter.
For drivers wanting more sportiness, the Avalon Touring provides a dynamic and responsive driving experience with sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch dark gray painted alloy wheels. Standard LED headlights and LED daytime running lights give the Touring grade a unique styling signature as well as cutting-edge illumination.
Like the colorful little village on Catalina Island, the Toyota Avalon is available in striking colors with fun names: Ooh La La Rouge Mica, Crème Brulee Mica, Sizzling Crimson Mica, plus Parisian Night Pearl. Pricing starts at $42,800 which is the middle of the price range in the category.
For more information, see your local Toyota dealer, or visit Toyota.com