The Richmond Auto Mall - Tony Whitney Reviews

Jan 2, 2018



Toyota’s Avalon sedan has long been something of a hidden treasure in the company’s lineup. A luxury vehicle that sits at the very top of Toyota’s model range, the Avalon often gets upstaged by Lexus at that end of the market, but the car has always had a lot of character and individuality of its own. Toyota calls it “an attainable premium” and that would be a pretty good description for the product. For 2019, Toyota is launching an all-new Avalon and from the spec sheet, it’s certainly the largest and most luxurious sedan the company has ever offered in North America.

The Toyota Avalon was originally introduced back in 1994 and was built from the start in the US. The car has always been designed for the North American market and is not even sold in Japan, though I have heard of them being imported there. The first generation car, like succeeding models, was exceptionally roomy for a Japanese car. In fact, it was classed as “full size” here and remains exceptionally capacious today. The first generation model had three-person seating up front, making it a six-passenger vehicle. This feature was dropped for future cars, but it was an interesting attempt to match the US sedans of the time, which were often huge.

The new car, which was announced at the Detroit Auto Show in January, is the fifth generation Avalon and is based on new platform architecture. Not surprisingly, it combines exceptional comfort with very advanced technology. The car was developed by Toyota design operations in various parts of the US. Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky, plant builds the Avalons and they are exported from North America to various countries around the world.

The Avalon has evolved into a very sleek and attractive car with something of a muscular, sporty look to it. The car is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, which obviously translates to it being a little roomier inside than the 2018 car. Slim, all-LED, projector headlights are available and they add to an athletic look not often seen on cars in this class. The rear lighting is LED on all variants of the Avalon.

Power comes from an advanced 3.5-litre direct-injection V-6, which was designed from the start to offer exceptional economy for a large car. The V-6 is mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels. The increased 8th gear ratio was designed to improve high-speed cruising fuel economy. XSE variants have a manual option operated by paddles on the steering wheel. All Avalons have three driving modes – Eco, Normal and Sport.

The interior is beautifully done and certainly the best and most luxurious cabin in any Toyota to date, though less expensive cars in the automaker’s model ranges can be very well done. Leather is available for all trim and everything in the cabin is made from soft-touch materials for a luxury ambiance. Real wood trim is a feature on some models and also available is perforated Ultrasuede. A 9-inch multimedia screen is featured and some very tempting sound systems are offered. Apple CarPlay is standard on all versions and there are no less than five USB ports.

Expectedly, the new Avalon features a full roster of the safety systems that add up to Toyota Safety Sense P. Underlining Toyota’s goal of “zero casualties from accidents” features include a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, ten standard air bags, blind spot monitoring and much more. All variants come with a backup camera and a panoramic view monitor is available too. The new Avalon, which should arrive later this year, will be a tempting option for buyers shopping the luxury car market and looking for outstanding value for money. The Avalon has always deserved more attention from premium sedan buyers and perhaps with the 2019 model, it will achieve that well-merited aim.


BODY STYLE: Four-door, full size sedan

ENGINE:3.5-litre V-6

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic

PERFORMANCE: Zero to 100 km/h in approx. 7.0-secs (estimated)

FUEL ECONOMY: 11.4 litres/100 km city; 7.7-litres/100 km highway