Crossovers and SUVs are pushing sedans way down in popularity, so Toyota is introducing an all-new Avalon for 2019 in hopes of reminding buyers that sedans are still a good choice. The new Avalon gets a fresh look, upgraded interior, and new hybrid and gas powertrains to give it wide appeal.
Styling on the Avalon takes this mid-size sedan in a new direction. It has an aggressive grille that dominates the front end of the car, along with new lighting that gives the Avalon an edge. There are lots of angles, which continue to be the story around back.
Inside, the focus is comfort. That’s part of what appeals to people about sedans, so Toyota created an interior that coddles passengers. There’s room for five with a backseat that will easily hold three adults for shorter drives.
The best seats are reserved for the driver and front passenger. There’s mild bolstering to keep you in place on the corners without being tight for larger occupants. They’re comfortable seats with good support and enough give to stay relaxing on longer drives.
Infotainment features a standard 9-inch touchscreen with an eight-speaker audio system and a notable addition. This is the first Toyota with Apple CarPlay. There is not, however, Android Auto. Toyota isn’t commenting on the rollout of either to future vehicles.
There’s a choice of four gas-powered trims starting with the base XLE at $35,500 and topping out with the Touring at $42,200. The Touring trim is dropped for the hybrid leaving only three trims. The base XLE hybrid starts at $36,500 while the top Limited is priced from $42,800. That keeps the price differential to $1,000.
Gas models get a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It has 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, making it an aggressive ride.
It is aggressive off the line with ample power for merging into congested highway traffic. The transmission was smooth overall, but under hard acceleration at higher speeds, downshifts for extra power were somewhat harsh. At cruising speed, however, the Avalon is a quiet and relaxing ride.
It achieves an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon in the city, 32 on the highway, and 26 combined in the base XLE trim. The XSE, Limited, and Touring trims see the highway and combined numbers drop by 1 mile per gallon, so it’s a fuel-efficient sedan in any guise.
The Avalon hybrid gets its power from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired to two electric motors for 215 net system horsepower. Toyota has a reputation for building great hybrids, and the Avalon is no exception. In fact, the ride in the hybrid was smoother than in its gas counterpart, thanks to its continuously variable automatic transmission.
Although these are known for being loud and whiny, this one is quiet and well-mannered. It offered a smoother ride experience than the eight-speed automatic. Acceleration isn’t quite as strong, but it’s still impressive for a hybrid.
Also impressive is fuel economy. The Avalon hybrid achieves an EPA-estimated 43 miles per gallon in the city, 44 on the highway, and 44 combined in the XLE trim. The XSE and Limited trims get 43 miles per gallon across the board. If you’re looking for a fuel-sipping sedan, the Avalon hybrid will do quite nicely.
Every Avalon comes with standard Toyota Safety Sense P, which includes pre-collision with pedestrian detection, full-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane-departure warning with steering assist, and automatic high beams. There’s also standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, making every Avalon fully-featured when it comes to safety.
The 2019 Toyota Avalon offers a range of choices that give it wide appeal. Hybrid and gas powertrains along with updated, aggressive styling are sure to remind buyers that the Toyota Avalon is worth a second look.