Highlight: The Avalon hybrid, which is considered a lone ranger, is the only green vehicle in the large car segment.
Test Vehicles MSRP: $44,697 (Base MSRP: $38,395)
Seating Capacity: 5
Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; a vehicle stability system; a traction control system; a pre-collision braking system with pedestrian protection; a radar activated cruise control system; and a tire pressure monitoring system
Standard Equipment (Base XLE Model): 17-inch alloy wheels; smoked LED taillights; power tilt moonroof; rear seat armrest with built-in cupholders; a push button ignition starter system; a keyless remote entry system; an auto dimming rearview mirror; a sliding front center armrest; a dual zone automatic climate control system; heated front seats; leather seats; and power front seats
Standard Equipment (Limited): 17-inch chrome wheels; High Intensity Discharge headlamps; automatic dimming outside mirrors; rain sensing wiper system; a 3-zone ventilation system; a JBL 11-speaker audio system with an AM/FM/HD/CD with satellite radio; built in apps; a leather trimmed steering wheel; leather perforated seats; heated/ventilated front seats; power front seats; heated rear seats; memory operated driver’s seat; a power rear window shade; an in vehicle wireless charging system; an aluminum scuff plate door sills; a blind spot monitor system; and Toyota’s safety connect system (includes a stolen vehicle locator, roadside assistance and an automatic collision notification system)
Options: illuminated door sills; carpeted trunk mat set; and paint protection film
Other Trim Level
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: an 8-speaker AM/FM/CD with SiriusXM satellite radio
Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard
USB Connectivity: Standard
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder turbo/156-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage:
What’s New: The Avalon is in the last year of its product cycle, so basically there are no new changes. While a new Avalon is making its debut at the North America International Auto Show, we are not sure if a hybrid powertrain will be available on the next generation Avalon. If it does continue, it will also be infused into the next generation Lexus ES hybrid, too.
Why: For buyers seeking a roomy, fuel-efficient near-luxury sedan, the Avalon hybrid fits the bill. The five passenger sedan garners the highest rated mileage in its class, a combined average of 40 MPG, according to fueleconomy.gov is great for navigating the city or long distance road trips.
Although the vehicle is powered by a four-cylinder engine, the Atkinson engine and high tech torque electric motor combined pumps out 200-horsepower. The performance of the engine seemed more than adequate for this large sedan.
The Avalon hybrid is available in three trims. For those pinching pennies, the base XLE model is a well-equipped package. It includes everything from leather (heated front) seats to a push button starter system. Those seeking more near luxury features, but prefers the Avalon hybrid over Lexus’ ES hybrid can opt for the top of the line Limited trim. With the higher end package, one can expect such premium features as heated rear seats, an in-vehicle wireless charging system, an upgraded audio system and ventilated front seats.
Furthermore, regardless of the trim, every 2018 Avalon hybrid is outfitted with Toyota’s safety sense package. Those feature included automatic high beams, a radar activated cruise control system, a pre-collision braking system with a pedestrian alert system and a lane departure warning system.
But: The styling is somewhat dated, when compared to the other vehicles in the segment, especially the athletically designed sales segment leader, the Maxima. Up until we learned of the announcement of the next generation Avalon, we weren’t sure if Toyota was going to remain committed to another generation being that consumer tastes have shifted from cars to crossovers, SUVs and trucks. However, for those willing to pay several thousand more, they can upgrade to the Lexus ES hybrid, which offers a more enhanced warranty, a contemporary design and slightly smaller interior cabin.
Verdict: With Toyota’s flagship car being on the last leg of its product cycle, as a result of the next generation vehicle making its debut at the 2018 North American International Auto Show, buyers should be able purchase a heavily discounted vehicle. With the savings, one should expect a spacious, fuel efficient vehicle that provides the latest luxury and high tech safety features.