+Exterior styling blends old-school grandness with modern chiseled LED lighting.
+Sophisticated-feeling interior with large singular trim pieces of gloss black plastic, padded leather, and natural wood.
+Hybrid power provides instantaneous and seamless acceleration with a confidence-inspiring low-end grunt.
+Fuel economy is on par with what is expected of large hybrid cars, meaning better than hybrid crossovers but not as good as smaller hybrid cars, like Toyota’s own Camry Hybrid.
The 2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid nails the modern sense of a large car. High tech, high efficiency, and fine details create a cool scene and leave a lasting upscale impression.
At $45,055, this Avalon Hybrid Limited is equipped with many standard features that help rationalize the price. LED headlights, sequentially-lighting LED turn signals, and crisp LED taillights help dramatize the Avalon’s large body. Inside, the perforated leather seats are heated and cooled up front and heated in the rear while the driver gets a heated steering wheel, heated auto-dimming exterior mirrors, and position memory. A color head-up display, five total USB chargers, a wireless charging pad, and a 1200-watt JBL premium audio system that could shake the car apart, are additional examples that draw comparisons to more expensive cars. The only available option package includes a surround-view camera system and parking sensors.
Styling and Size
The Avalon goes for the large car look and hits a bulls-eye with near-horizontal styling curves, low-slung body sides, and a long sloping rear roofline. It’s lower, wider and longer than its predecessor and, in fact, it’s several inches longer than the Toyota Highlander. The Avalon’s extended length doesn’t bring copious amounts of rear legroom but it’s still plenty spacious and comfortable. In front, the center console rises sharply up the middle of the dashboard where the climate controls, air vents, and the 9-inch infotainment touch screen are seamlessly joined by single a gloss-black trim piece. Long horizontal surfaces of leather, wood, and aluminum trim give the interior a high-quality feel and the low dash keeps it all from feeling bulky. Inside and out, this fifth-generation is by far the most coordinated and confidently styled Avalon to date.
This top trim Avalon receives the full gamut of passive and active safety tech. Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic crash notification, full-speed active cruise control, lane keep assist, and automatic rear braking work to reduce stressful situations while automatic high beams, adaptive cornering lights, and perimeter scan help keep the driver aware of the car’s surroundings. In the real-world, the Avalon’s active cruise control excels in stop and go traffic though it lacks some of the newer tech, such as lane centering, which can be found in the all-new Corolla. Outward visibility is excellent and, at night, the headlights and the additional adaptive cornering lights provide really good coverage of the road straight ahead and off to the side when necessary. .
Power and Efficiency
The Avalon Hybrid receives motivation from a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder that has many tricks up its sleeve for improved efficiency and power with motor-controlled variable valve timing and dual fuel injectors per cylinder. Helping achieve gains in both of those areas is Toyota’s dual motor hybrid system setup where one motor supplements acceleration while the other ensures the Ni-MH battery remains sufficiently charged. With full power, the Avalon can travel about a mile in relative silence. The system generates a combined 215-hp while the 88-kW motor has plenty of grunt from a stand-still and provides immediate response when called upon for passing and merging. It won’t blow your mind with power but it feels entirely sufficient for everyday driving, even in the mile-high city of Denver. In fact, the hybrid powertrain is so good at everyday duties that one has to consider the hybrid as a comprehensive performance upgrade.
Ride and Handling
Out on the open road, the suspension fulfills the tone set by the Avalon’s big and low slung exterior styling. The suspension’s softer tuning means it is better adept at absorbing large bumps and dips in the road than carving corners though it maintains good composure through the winding roads. Around town, it maneuvers with a level of agility not seen before in an Avalon while the 18-inch wheels leave enough tire sidewall to help quell sharp impacts and ride smoothly over small imperfections at lower speeds.
Styled, designed, and built in the U.S., the large Toyota carries a sense of excellent collaboration between its styling and engineering teams. The Avalon sensibly marries value with sophistication and efficiency that will charm most who are willing to have a closer look.