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2019 toyota Avalon

The Toyota Avalon has long been known as a "Japanese Buick" - a full-size sedan that offers a capacious cabin and a comfortable ride but little in the way of style or sportiness. However, that sedate image should become a thing of the past as news of the latest model spreads.

Recent changes
The Avalon is all-new for the latest model year.

Overview
Looking to appeal to buyers outside of the Avalon's traditional septuagenarian base, Toyota recently gave the sedan a retuned suspension for more responsive handling, along with a thorough restyling that resulted in a newly distinctive look. Those qualities, in combination with refinement worthy of Toyota's Lexus luxury division, transform the Avalon into a highly competitive offering. The addition of a hybrid model further expands the sedan's appeal.

Outside, the Avalon features subtle, graceful touches like gently upswept character lines on the flanks, a gradually tapering roof line and understated rear quarter windows. Up front, a Camry-inspired upper grille contrasts with a massive trapezoidal lower intake that represents the car's most controversial element.

Life aboard
The Avalon rides on Toyota's modular platform. Its reasonably long wheelbase clears up ample room for five to sit in stretch-out comfort, and trunk space checks in at 16 cubic feet. That's about average for the segment it competes in.

The Avalon's interior styling isn't as whimsical as its exterior but it does look modern. The center stack has a semi-floating design. It's highlighted by a nine-inch touch screen display that runs Toyota's Entune 3.0 infotainment system. The Avalon stands out as the first Toyota vehicle to offer Apple CarPlay compatibility. Android users are currently out of luck, though Toyota is looking into adding Android Auto compatibility sooner or later.

Despite going high-tech, the system is still easy to use thanks to Toyota's inclusion of buttons and knobs. The same goes for the Avalon's climate controls, which are straightforward and easy to use.

A number of NVH-focused additions, such as new sound-quelling materials, acoustic glass and wind-cheating exterior mirrors help reduce road noise and give the Avalon a library-quiet interior.

Technical specifications
Toyota opted not to surf the downsizing wave sweeping across the industry. The Avalon comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 301 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 267 pound-feet of torque at 4,700 rpm.

The six shifts through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is the only configuration available. Fuel economy checks in at 22 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 26 mpg in a combined cycle.

The Avalon Hybrid model teams a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 176 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque with a small electric motor that draws electricity from a Nickel-Metal-Hybride battery pack. The gasoline-electric setup sends 215 horsepower to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The hybrid model returns 43 mpg in the city, 44 mpg on the highway, and 44 mpg in a combined cycle.

Standard and optional features
The Avalon is offered in four trim levels named XLE, Limited, XSE, and Touring, respectively. Hybrid models come in XLE, XSE, and Limited trims.

The list of standard features includes dark gray trim on the grille, dual exhaust tips, LED lights all around (including daytime running lights), door mirrors that are heated and manually-adjustable, 17-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows, noise-reducing glass for the windshield and the front windows, dual-zone A/C, SofTex upholstery, heated front seats, eight-way adjustable front seats, a 60/40-split rear bench, a leather-upholstered multi-function steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, remote keyless entry, power windows, an overhead console with map lights, dual sun visors with sliding extensions, and an eight-speaker sound system.

The list of standalone options includes a 14-speaker sound system. Buyers can also order several option packages including the advanced safety package, which bundles a bird's eye-view camera, rear cross-traffic braking, and an intelligent clearance sonar. The moonroof package adds a moonroof and a wireless phone charger in the front center console.

Occupant Safety
Every Avalon comes with dual front, front side, front knee, rear side, and curtain airbags in addition to electronic traction and stability control systems.

Toyota also includes pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, a lane-departure warning system with steering assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. These features are bundled into a package called Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) that comes standard on every Avalon regardless of trim level or powertrain.

Key Competitors
The Toyota Avalon competes in a segment that's shrinking fast. Buyers can also look at the Buick LaCrosse, the Cadillac CT6, and the Chrysler 300. Top-spec variants inevitably overlap with the Lexus ES, which rides on the same basic platform as the Avalon.