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2016 Toyota Avalon: Industry-Leading Sedan, Yet Still Sporty
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23 July 2016   By John Dickerson and John Kehlenbeck

2016 Toyota Avalon is still a best-seller, but now it’s even better. 

2016 Toyota Avalon

Personality: Your grandparents old sedan meets the 21st century

Best Gizmo: A combination of Toyota reliability and (almost) Lexus luxury

Most Annoying Feature: A little too light on the steering if we are being picky

MPG (as tested): 21 city/ 31 highway (V6) and 40 city / 39 highway for the hybrid option

 Performance: Excellent for a large four door with a six cylinder engine

Cars we smoked at stoplights: A old Lincoln Town Car and a Prius

0-60: 6.3 seconds

How Fast Is That? Fast enough for every situation outside of a racetrack and the autobahn 

How Much? Starting price of $32,650 with options taking it well into the $40’s

What option should I splurge on? Blind Spot Monitoring

Serious Contenders? Wide range of competition with the Hyundai Azera, Chrysler 300, Lincoln MKZ, and Buick LaCrosse to name a few

In all, Toyota has taken its best-seller and drastically improved it over the past two years. It rides better, looks sporty, and inside it feels upscale. With all that improvement, the 2016 Avalon still retains its (mostly) reasonable price. In other words, an industry leading sedan is finally a front runner over the competition.

With the exception of Honda, no other family sedan can touch Toyota’s reputation for reliability or its middle-of-the road family appeal. If resale value, gas mileage and crash ratings top your priority list, then the 2016 Avalon is your baby. This car shines and ranks near the top in most, if not all those contests. 

The Avalon does not pretend to be a sports sedan. However, shoppers familiar with Avalon of the past will be delighted to see needed improvements. This is a car for those looking for a sporty family sedan with a leaning toward luxury. If you are even asking about horsepower and tuned suspension, this will not fit the bill for you.

The outside of the 2016 Avalon is mostly unchanged from the previous years. With a low front grill , daytime LED running lights, and dual exhaust on the rear, the four-door sedan looks slightly smaller and very similar to its lower cost sibling, the Camry. 

The new Avalon can be purchased with 5 different trim levels, not including the Hybrid option. The XLE, Premium, Touring, Touring Sport, and Limited Editions all come with a 3.5 liter 288 horsepower six cylinder engine. This V-6 delivers a refined and confident drive with plenty of punch off the line. It lands 21 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on the highway. The Avalon Hybrid pairs a 156 horsepower, 2.5 iter inline four cylinder engine with a 105kW electric motor to achieve a respectable 40 mpg city rating and 39 mpg on the highway. 

Of course, the Avalon hybrid remains one of the most comfortable and civilized hybrids on the road today. Toyota makes it obvious they posses extensive experience in this category. Borrowing heavily from the Prius, the Avalon Hybrid delivers excellent torque and acceleration as well as smoother braking than you would normally see in many ultra-efficient vehicles.

The interior of the Avalon is spacious to say the least. With more than adequate headroom for even the tallest among us, five adults can fit comfortably in the cabin. The trunk is slightly larger than the previous year and yields an acceptable 16 cubic feet of storage space.

From the captains seat, the dash and center console design is well laid out and has a modern touch compared to the bulk of the competition. There is a new 7-inch touch screen at the top of the center stack which allows media control, navigation information, and a host of other features. The main item of note at highway speeds is the absence of noise. First making waves in the Lexus LS460, Toyota has obviously carried over technology and materials to quell the noises of the road to the lower priced models.

On the previous model, I complained that the Avalon had lost the quality interior materials that set it apart in the mid-2000’s. The Limited Edition came only in a two tone interior and the seating was stiff and ache inducing. Thankfully, all has changed. The interior of the “base” model Avalon now feels more upscale and competent, and the seats make even the longest of road trips a comfortable experience. 

The lackluster reputation of years past is left in the dust, and the new Avalon fits the bill of luxury and confidence. It continues doing what Toyota has always done best – delivering an unbeatable concoction of practicality and value.