It was just a few months ago that I reviewed the Toyota Avalon in this space. I liked the smooth ride and roominess it offered, though several things on it were a bit dated. I knew Toyota was about to launch an all-new version for 2019 and when the new car rolled up I had to walk behind it to see the badging to make sure it was indeed an Avalon.
2019 Toyota Avalon
Sure enough, there was the name splashed across the trunk but I still could not believe this was Toyota’s 4-door sedan that has been around for 25 years. An initial glance at the long, shapely slope of the top shows an elegance found in high-end sports sedans. But the front grille is what really shook me.
Previous Avalon models had two grilles – an upper and a larger, lower portion with a small bumper separating them. Toyota has now removed that bumper seemingly making one large grille. It reminds me of a big smile from The Cheshire Cat. The company says this new grille design it to express performance. But that remained to be seen as I had yet to step inside.
The view of the front still mesmerized me as the slim, elegant LED headlights form eyes around that big smile. Stylish body lines and curves swoop back from the Avalon’s nose on each side of the body suggesting a chiseled and more up-to-date look.
If my eyes were not yet opened wide enough my mouth was just as when I finally opened the driver’s door. The first glance shows drastic changes from older models starting with the front panel. The shapes are simpler and materials are more subdued.
The Avalon centers most of its functions on the 9-inch touchscreen atop a floating center stack. It has knobs and buttons which I like in addition to the touchscreen for a tactile feel. The most astounding feature to me was the addition of Apple Car Play. Toyota has been one of the last manufacturer’s to make a go of it alone in the console entertainment world, shunning the latest Apple and Android software programs.
But there was the Car Play logo shining brightly on the screen inviting iPhone users to plug in their smartphones for a simple – and safer – interface. As much as I applaud Toyota for finally getting into the 21st century yet they need to stop whatever beef they have with Google and add Android Auto.
Connectivity, Infotainment, and Safety
You will find all the bells, whistles and cameras found in most new cars. The surround-view camera system does a good job of displaying your surroundings. Toyota’s Entune 3.0 audio system is here with 8 speakers and can be upgraded to 14 with the JBL audio upgrade.
There are 4 USB ports and plenty of room for your phone to rest.
Toyota’s Safety Sense P system has great features like pre-collision with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, dynamic radar cruise control, rear cross-traffic braking and alert, and 10 airbags.
Ride and Drive
Behind the wheel, the ride is smooth thanks to a new suspension system. The Avalon has an updated 3.5 liter, V-6 engine that puts out 301 hp, an improvement of 33 hp from the previous model. I found it immediately responsive to throttle applications with almost no lag, which is always a plus on highways. For an enhanced feel, you can go from Normal mode to Sport+ in some of the models.
Verdict and What You’ll Pay
It’s funny how a few months can make a difference with reviewing cars but the all-new Avalon has been years in the designing and making. And I like it. It’s a very solid sedan.
It comes in 7 different flavors starting with XLE at $35,500 all the way up to the Limited edition beginning around $42,000. And it does have hybrid options which, Toyota says, increases the fuel economy to 43 and 44 mpg.