This week I bring you the 2017 Toyota Avalon. This is the 4th generation Avalon after making major changes in 2013. 2016 brought the new, big front grill to Toyota’s flagship sedan.
Under the hood, you’ve got the tried and true 3.5-liter V6 that is producing a respectable 268-horses. Other than the hybrid version, there are no other optional powertrains. The Avalon comes with a smooth, 6-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles.
There are three drive modes you can select from the center console. You can choose from Eco, Normal, and Sport. In Eco mode, most cars are sluggish but the Avalon performs well while maximizing fuel economy. In Normal mode, it’s-well, normal. In Sport mode, you feel a major change in the performance and handling of the car is much different. Most people won’t switch modes a lot, but you can keep the Avalon from ever getting boring.
Looking at the exterior, the front end sports a large in-your-face grill intended to attract younger buyers. The rear end is contoured with a subtle spoiler and has dual exhaust, and the 18” dark gray alloy wheels finish off what I consider to be a very attractive, but discreet large sedan. My tester is Parisian Night Pearl with black leather, a very attractive combination.
It is important to note that my press car is the XLE Touring Edition, not the top of the line Limited, and this car only has one option, the floor mats and the carpeted trunk mat that covers the compact spare. Everything else you see on the Avalon is standard equipment on this model.
One thing everyone noticed right off the bat with previous versions of the Avalon was the boring interior and really flat seats. Today’s Avalon interior is exceptional. Comfortable, contoured seats make you feel like you are in a recliner. Wood and chrome accents are subtle, but noticeable, you’ll find hand-stitched leather throughout the cabin, which is well done.
At no charge, you get dual zone automatic climate control, heated seats, and navigation system. You also get Entune, Toyota’s app suite to give you real-time traffic and weather information. You also get Bluetooth, rearview camera, heated power driver and passenger seat, leather steering wheel with audio and voice command. Also standard are push button start, a power moon roof, 10 airbags, blind spot monitoring system, active cruise control, and anti-theft system. The center console has a built-in cell phone charger, and slides to reveal a power port and USB plug.
Gauges are easy to read and there is a colorful driver information center right in the middle. You also get Toyota Safety Sense, which is the pre-collision warning system with pedestrian detection and automatic braking.
The new Avalon drives great and handles really well thanks to a new suspension system and electric power steering, which is awesome. Avalon is unusually quiet inside, it corners well especially in Sport mode, and you don’t feel bumps in the road.
2017 Avalon has a very comfortable and large back seat, lots of head room, and trunk room is more than sufficient. It is a joy to drive and you can tell the car is solidly built.
Although rated at 30 miles per gallon, if you can hold this car to 60 on the highway, it will deliver over 35 MPG. Base price on the Avalon is $33,300, and this one as equipped is $38,739.
For me, the XLE Touring is the right package to buy, and certainly looks the best. If you go all the way to the Limited, you are within $2000 or so of the Lexus ES, with which the Avalon shares a platform.
Bottom line on the Avalon, if you want a car that excites you every time you hit the start button, this probably isn’t it, but if you want a super solid large sedan at a great value, check out the Toyota Avalon.
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