2021 Toyota Avalon Hybrid review: Soft-serve sedan


I hope you want huge grilles…


Craig Cole/Roadshow

The 2021 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is like soft-serve ice cream: easy and candy. With a cushty journey, accommodating cabin and nice demeanor, this huge sedan is soothing to drive and goes down (the highway) simple. But the real-world gasoline financial system is definitely its strongest asset. You could not imagine how economical a four-door of this dimension might be.

Cup or cone?

Appealing to a variety of drivers, the Toyota Avalon is served in two methods: with both an internal-combustion or hybrid powertrain. Since neither model is a driver’s automobile — no, not even the Avalon TRD — it’s possible you’ll as effectively get the hybrid and luxuriate in its superior effectivity, which is supplied with little sacrifice in efficiency.

Introduced just a few years in the past, the fifth-generation Avalon is constructed on the TNGA platform, underpinnings that, in a single type or one other, help an enormous vary of Toyota merchandise, the whole lot from the Prius to the Highlander to the Lexus ES. This structure makes the Avalon Hybrid really feel rock strong, freed from creaks, groans, squeaks or rattles, plus it helps present glorious crash safety, as evinced by stellar scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Slightly bigger than a Camry and way more upscale, the Avalon provides luxury-car frills in a mainstream package deal, although it’s possible you’ll not love its appears to be like, as that large grille is a bit a lot. Aside from distinctive styling and inside appointments, this Toyota is almost equivalent to the Lexus ES, which is mainly an Avalon with additional toppings. They have the identical wheelbase and total size, and in hybrid guise, equivalent powertrains and effectivity scores. But who wears it higher? Well, having reviewed the ES just a few months again, on this case, I’d say the Toyota is extra satisfying. The ES 250 I examined was enough, however its faults have been way more evident given the elevated price ticket.

A giant softie

The Avalon Hybrid’s inside is stretch-out spacious and as soft as grandma’s sofa, although this instance’s creamy-soft cognac-colored leather-based is way extra interesting than her shiny plastic slip covers. The supplies employed inside are of top quality, with liberal quantities of soppy plastics and even actual wooden accents in Limited fashions. Up entrance, the bucket chairs are comfortable but supportive and the backseat is equally accommodating, serving up huge quantities of headroom and leg house. For long-distance journey, the Avalon is aces.

The Avalon Hybrid’s inside is spacious and upscale, simply do not anticipate a lot cutting-edge know-how.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

Adding a bit panache, this Toyota’s dashboard is expressively designed however not excessive or bizarre searching for the sake of being totally different. There’s undoubtedly some 3D sculpting to it, however the design is just about symmetrical. I additionally love how the console sweeps as much as be part of the middle stack, it is a easy however suave contact. The infotainment and local weather controls are mounted up excessive in order that they’re simple to see, although I do want a few of these chiclet-style buttons have been a little bit bigger, as they could be a problem to press whereas driving.

Like different Toyotas, this automobile has predictable deficits and I’m not going to beat them to loss of life on this review. The backup digital camera is fairly low-resolution and the infotainment system lackluster at greatest. The customary 9-inch touchscreen is, nonetheless, brilliant, colourful and simple to look at with out taking your eyes too far off the highway, once more, due to its elevated place on the dashboard. Along with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto is customary gear, although each smartphone-mirroring techniques want USB entry to work, so be sure you convey a cable. Limited fashions do come customary with a Qi wi-fi charging plate, at the least.

Efficiency is the cherry on high

This Toyota is powered by a hybrid drivetrain, one centered round a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Augmented by a pair of electrical motors, which, amongst different issues, perform as a repeatedly variable transmission, this Avalon is graced with a complete of 215 horsepower. A particular torque determine shouldn’t be listed as the mathematics with hybrids is fuzzier than the pores and skin of a kiwi you would possibly garnish a sundae with. Smooth and responsive, this association can transfer the automobile from a standstill to 60 mph in round 8.1 seconds, which makes the Avalon Hybrid really feel spry if not overly vigorous. Even when the accelerator is buried, the internal-combustion engine stays muted.

But what makes this such a dynamite drivetrain is the gasoline effectivity. Lower-end Avalon Hybrids sticker at 43 mpg metropolis and 44 mpg on each the freeway and mixed check cycles. In comparability, this Limited-trim mannequin is rated at simply 43 mpg throughout the board, an enormous privation, I do know. In real-world driving, nonetheless, this automobile is extraordinarily environment friendly, as I’m getting greater than 46 mpg with out even attempting, which is rattling spectacular for one thing this dimension.

This powertrain delivers good efficiency and stellar effectivity.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

A creamy journey

Comfort and effectivity are this Toyota’s jam, so do not anticipate a lot else from the drive. There’s nothing enjoyable about how the Avalon Hybrid handles. Its steering is predictable, the wheel feeling as mild as a dollop of whipped cream. The brake pedal simple to modulate and the transition from regenerative to friction braking is all however imperceptible, one thing different automakers might study from.

Handling is safe, however my tester’s Hankook Kinergy GT all-season tires really feel like they’re product of laborious cheese, providing little really feel, even on dry pavement. Of course, with a treadwear score of 540, you’ll be able to’t anticipate a lot in the best way of corner-carving grip. They howl in disapproval lengthy earlier than you attain the restrict. On the plus aspect, these efficiency-focused tires are quiet and supply a journey that is creamier than frozen custard. Thanks to its consolation and refinement, the Avalon Hybrid is soothing to drive and may really make you are feeling much less burdened after a journey than once you began.

Helping soothe frazzled nerves, Toyota Safety Sense-P is customary throughout the vary. This consists of superior driver aids like lane-departure warning with steering help, computerized excessive beams and adaptive cruise management. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is included freed from cost, too. Even although it is accessible on different Toyota and Lexus fashions, lane centering (Lane Tracing Assist in Toyota parlance) is, sadly, not accessible at any value.

If you are after a big sedan and each consolation and gasoline financial system are high priorities, Toyota has you steed.


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A successful recipe

The 2021 Toyota Avalon Hybrid begins at nearly $38,000 together with $995 in vacation spot charges, a mere $975 greater than a comparable gas-powered model. That will get you an entry-level XLE instance with a great deal of customary options together with keyless entry with pushbutton begin, LED headlights and loads of security gear. The pinnacle Limited mannequin you are studying about on this review checks out for $46,717, a more-than-reasonable determine for a big, comfy and well-equipped sedan. Naturally, just a few extras inflate the bottom value, however nothing loopy. The Advanced Safety Package features a 360-degree digital camera system and parking sensors with rear computerized braking, all for $1,150. The smooth Ruby Flare Pearl paint job prices an additional $425, and a small handful of different choices add an extra $847 to the underside line.

The Avalon Hybrid is a big sedan with a twist. Like a dish of chocolate and vanilla comfortable serve, it gives big-car consolation and hybrid effectivity, an unexpectedly tasty mixture.



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