Toyota Avalon: Smooth operator provides exceptional value, comfort

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Toyota understands that the 2017 Avalon is not its sexiest vehicle, but it surly delivers exactly what large car consumers are looking for with its big interior spaces, smooth, quiet cabin and powerful engine package.

Toyota has made a concerted effort to lower the average age of its buyers and the Avalon does an impressive job moving things in that direction. The Avalon rides a longer version of the front-wheel-drive platform that underpins the Toyota Camry.

Capable Cruiser

Toyota engineers have tweaked the suspension to make the car more agile and provide better straightline stability. An electric assist power steering system makes the steering lighter and quicker. While the 2017 Avalon is improved dramatically over its previous generation model, it will never be mistaken for a sport sedan. And that’s okay with Toyota buyers, who are quite willing to look past exterior aesthetics and hold tight to value.

The Avalon remains as smooth and quiet as ever. Most bumps hardly register with passengers and it has become a wonderful highway cruiser that glides from destination to destination.

Power On Demand

The 2017 Toyota Avalon offers a time-tested 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 268 horsepower. That’s plenty of power for any driving situation, including passing and merging on the highway. The Avalon’s V6 is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

With the Avalon’s V6 engine, you get 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, which is above average compared to other non-hybrid large sedans. The Avalon is also available in a hybrid version, which starts at $37,250, which is $4,000 more than the standard Avalon’s base price.

Interior Finesse

Inside, the Avalon is just as comfortable as it ever was, with plenty of impressive connectivity. The ambience is that of a luxury car. The dash, door panels and major touch points are covered in soft-touch materials and supple leather upholstery is standard.

The Avalon’s control interface layout features pretty traditional visual and operational treatments. Gauges are beautifully simple in their design and easy to see day and night.

Every seating position in the Avalon, except the dreaded middle back spot, offers lots of room and comfort. The front seats lack the lateral support to keep passengers from sliding around during aggressive cornering, but that’s fine because few Avalon owners will drive that hard. The rear seat is highly sculpted, making it one of the more comfortable rear seats available today. The trunk is big at 16 cubic feet (14 cubic feet in the hybrid).


Toyota’s Entune infotainment system comes standard in the Avalon. It uses a 7-inch touch-screen display to showcase niceties like standard navigation. An eight-speaker audio system comes standard, but higher trims get a nine-speaker audio system or an 11-speaker JBL audio system. Using the infotainment system is a breeze, for the most part. The menu structure is logical, and the touch screen is quick to respond.

Avalon gets a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with four out of five stars in the individual frontal crash and rollover tests. It has a rating of Good (the highest score possible) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in all crash tests, as well as a 2017 Top Safety Pick designation.

The 2017 Avalon is like a fine Cabernet that ages and gets better and delivers exquisite taste and value. With its sleeker looks over previous generations, it should attract younger buyers. With prices that range from $30,990 to $39,650, it offers most of the luxury of the Lexus ES for thousands less. That makes it one of the better values among entry-level luxury cars no matter how old the buyer.

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