The Toyota Avalon always seems to get overlooked. Maybe it's because the closely related Toyota Camry is one of the best-selling cars in the world, but people often forget about the Avalon. That's unfortunate, because I was truly surprised and impressed by this full-size sedan. Surprised that the performance and features were up to date, and impressed by the comfort and quality of the car overall. I looked forward to driving the Avalon every day I had it.
The Avalon is a true full-size sedan, and that's a category that doesn't get a lot of attention these days. The action is all over in the compact SUV area, but full size cars still fill an important role for family and luxury transportation, and they're generally very reasonably priced.
The Avalon comes with Toyota's proven 3.5-liter V6 engine rated at 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. The Avalon's transmission is a solid 6-speed automatic, and the car comes with front wheel drive. There is also a hybrid version of the Avalon available.
On the road, the Avalon has plenty of power. Let's state the obvious: The Avalon is not a sports car, but I found that it had enough power to be an enjoyable drive. What surprised me is that the Avalon is also a very calm car to drive. The overall effect of the engine performance, quiet cabin, and handling is that the Avalon will relax you as you drive. That's worth a lot on a Portland commute these days.
The interior of the Avalon is very well-appointed. The test car was a mid-level Touring trim, and included leather upholstery with heat in both the front seats. The seats are power-adjustable with a seat position memory system. The Avalon Touring trim also comes with a seven-inch Entune infotainment system including Navigation. Of course there's support for your iPod, hands-free phone use, Siri Eyes-Free, and an integrated backup camera. One more thing, the trunk is enormous as it should be on a full size sedan.
Toyota wouldn't send the Avalon out of the factory door without a full set of safety features, and all the critical ones are standard on all trims. In the Touring trim, both a blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert are standard.
The bottom line on the Toyota Avalon is that if you have forgotten about it, you might want to take another look. If the mid-size cars just aren't big enough, or don't offer the comfort you're looking for, you can step up to a full-size for just about the same money. Like me, you might be surprised at how much you like the Toyota Avalon.
2017 Toyota Avalon Touring
Base price: $34,185
Price as tested: $39,134
Type: Full size sedan
Engine: 3.5-liter V6 (268 hp, 248 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 21/30
Overall length: 195 inches
Curb weight: 3,505 pounds
Final assembly: Georgetown, Kentucky