2011 Toyota Avalon
3.5L V6 268 HP with 6 Speed Automatic Transmission
Crimson Mica Metallic with Charcoal Leather
The photo gallery/slide show of the Avalon
Being candid the Avalon does not blip much on anyone's radar screen. Although it should, its an interesting full size sedan!
For 2011 Toyota has done some tweaking, and recalibrating to improve the "blip" factor of the Avalon.
Its a roomy, smooth, quiet, very competent full size sedan.
This car is substantial in size, if you appreciate full size sedans, like we do it will immediately have an appeal, with an increasing cool factor as you drive the car.
The styling is appealing, if somewhat middle of the road inoffensive. It has strong street presence, most folks do a second take to confirm the size of the Toyota they just saw. Probably thinking "What was that big Toyota I just saw"? The light pipes in the headlamps, and taillights are a unique feature.
The interior is roomy, well appointed, with precise fit and finish, with Toyota making a diligent effort to meet a specific price point. The emphasis is on a touch of luxury, passenger comfort, ease of interface with the car. Navigation with a 7 inch screen, Satellite radio are present, as well as Bluetooth, and MP3 connectivity, the entertainement system is a JBL 12 speaker surround sound which is good. The back up camera facilitates dealing with tight spaces. The leather/wood steering wheel is a nice touch.
The entire rear seat area starting with the size of the rear doors, the opening angle (wide) of the doors, the flat floor, the adjustable seat back its phenomenal. Put it this way rear seat leg room is not an issue, the emphasis is on comfort.
One cool feature of the Avalon, there are no options, simple what you see is what you get for $41,100 none of the "to get this you need that package" routine...which often becomes intellectually insulting. At the same time the car is engineered to meet the price point, in many instances with options its vehicle engineered to meet lower price points that are escalated in price.
All the safety features are present, including a driver knee air bag, and double side impact reinforcements in the rear doors.
The fuel economy rating is 6.8 L Highway and 10.6 L City per 100 kms.
How does it drive?
The appearance of the car belies its capabilities. Although its a full size FWD sedan it has good acceleration, the 6 speed automatic is smooth, the steering feel is acceptable, the brakes are good. Its smooth, quiet, completely relaxing especially in a congested commute environment. While being competent when you require a surge in performance.
At first blush the car does not inspire you to get spirited, its not a sport sedan either. If you do get spirited there is a lively personality hidden under a few layers of the Avalon. Once you peel away the initial layers, this car comes alive. The engine has an inviting note, the variable steering tightens up, you can shift the transmission manually, the brakes are good.
Must be the 17 inch wheels that fool you in thinking that its more sedate than it really is.
Who should consider an Avalon, when the mid size sedan segment is already populated with very competent offerings for slightly less money?
You want/need a full size sedan, you don't want a CUV. You still prefer a vehicle that drives like a car, and not an AWD "something". A mid size sedan is a little cramped for your requirements, especially in the rear seat. At the same time you have no desire to spend 6 figures for a luxury full size sedan.
Suddenly the Avalon is an exceptional value proposition for a full size sedan with all the comfort, convenience features, without an over abundance of technology to escalate the price.
The quick review...