AUTO REVIEW: Spacious 2017 Toyota Avalon is all about comfort
As vehicle trends change over the years and customers change their minds about what kind of cars and SUVs they want to take home, some things don’t seem to change much. One of those is the continued presence of large sedans for folks not following trends to go small.
Think back to the decades past and you’ll envision many large boxy sedans. And while the boxy look is now gone, many folks who want to stick to sedans still want to have some room to enjoy their ride, and for those people, longer vehicles like the Toyota Avalon still exist.
I recently drove a 2017 Avalon, and I’m back with a full report on how this big sedan stacks up.
So how does the Toyota Avalon look? It looks like a big sedan, because that’s what it is.
It’s attractive enough, but not flashy or overly in your face, though its front grille is still quite large (See the new Lexus front-end design if you want something truly in-your-face)
The trunk is among the largest I’ve seen, and materials used on the interior are high-class.
Due to its 195-inch length, you get lots of space inside the Avalon. Five people (3 in back) can all travel very comfortably. And that’s really the ultimate goal of this kind of vehicle — to make you comfortable, for trips short and long.
You’ll get a leather-trimmed steering wheel with paddle shifters, leather-trimmed seats, and there is a memory system for driver seat and outside mirrors positions. Dual zone auto climate control is included. You can also get a power moonroof.
HOW’S THE RIDE?
The Avalon features a 3.5-liter, V6 engine; and a 6-speed CVT automatic transmission.
It offers an impressive 268 horsepower, and 248 lb.-ft. of torque.
These numbers translated well, as the Avalon was reasonably powerful for a large sedan; powerful is not an adjective I usually use to describe Toyota vehicles, so that’s a big feat in my mind.
The Avalon only comes in front-wheel drive; no AWD option is available (some of its competitors offer AWD — which could be a mark against it).
Also, on the subject of comfort, this is a very quiet ride, no matter the conditions. Well-sealed all around to keep the noise out.
The tech setup inside the Avalon has a simple look, and is easy to figure out. It could probably use an update visually, but in terms of function I had no major complaints.
The Entune Premium audio with integrated Nav and App Suite features a 7-inch touchscreen; AM and FM radio, CD player, a nine-speaker system, Aux and USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music, and the Entune App Store. You also get HD Radio for free, and SiriusXM Radio (3 month trial, then you have to pay to keep it). As with most vehicles these days, a backup camera is included. The Avalon is also equipped with Qi wireless charging for compatible phones.
Among new standard safety features on the Avalon for 2017 are forward collision warning with auto emergency braking. You can also opt for blind spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert.
The Toyota Safety Sense package, which is standard, includes: Pre-Collision system with Pedestrian Detection; Lane Departure Alert and Steering Assist; Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and more. The Avalon also had strong crash test safety scores, and offers impressive lighting features via its Quadrabeam halogen headlights with auto on/off, DRL and Auto High Beams.
The Avalon’s official fuel mileage numbers are 21 mpg city/30 highway/24 combined — strong numbers for a large sedan. Compared to its rivals in the category (Chevy Impala/Buick Lacrosse/Chrysler 300, among others), the Avalon beats all except Impala, which is just a small tick higher.
If that’s not enough for you, there is also a hybrid version of the Avalon that gets you up to about 40 mpg.
The Avalon I tested cost just over $37,500; base price starts about $33.300 for the model. These are not low numbers, but are reasonable when compared to the luxury vehicles that tend to offer the type of amenities you are getting in the Avalon.
It’s also worth noting the Avalon has solid Toyota reliability, which translates to good resale value.
Those seeking a spacious sedan with ample legroom and storage space, plus a quiet and impressive ride behind the wheel, still have a few full-size sedan options available. And while it’s not perfect, the 2017 Toyota Avalon is among the very best out there in this category.
Vehicle: 2017 Toyota Avalon
Price as tested: $37,539 (starts at $33,300)
Best feature: Comfy and large interior space, surprisingly strong engine
Rating: 4 out of five stars
Who will want this vehicle?: Folks looking for a quality large sedan without making full leap to luxury level.