Exhilaration is not a word we're used to associating with big Toyota sedans, especially not the Avalon, the brand's flagship and a car that has never been aimed at any driver seeking anything close to exhilaration.
Still, here we are. It's no coincidence the all-new Avalon is riding on the coattails of the redesigned Camry launched last year; both cars share a new platform that debuted with the Camry and Toyota says imbues this car with the same tighter handling and chassis responses it promised in the Camry. Despite that, we'd still hardly call the Camry exciting and don't expect the Avalon to be any more so.
But the look is certainly more daring, so there's that, at least. If extroverted styling works for Lexus (it certainly doesn't seem to be slowing down their sales) then perhaps upscale shoppers who prefer the Toyota brand will go for it, too.
Toyota apparently has more faith in the large sedan segment than Ford and Chevrolet: in spring 2018 Ford announced a plan to cut all car models from its range save the Mustang, leaving showrooms stocked with nearly naught but SUVs, crossovers and pickups; meanwhile, Chevrolet still sells the Impala, but barely, after a few years of no notable updates.
With this latest redesign, the Avalon gets a new 3.5L V6 engine making 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, increases of 10 and 17, respectively. The uprated motor comes mated to an also-new eight-speed automatic transmission, a team Toyota says delivers more power and better fuel economy than the outgoing engine and its six-speed transmission.
Standard technology includes a 7.0-inch digital display between a pair of analogue gauges that shows vehicle information and will display navigation instructions. Avalon can also be optioned with a 10.0-inch head-up display, and comes standard with wireless smartphone charging and five USB power ports.
The Toyota Safety Sense P active safety suite is standard, bring a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.
On offer for audiophiles is a 14-speaker, 1,200-watt JBL stereo with surround sound that places speakers throughout the car's interior, taking advantage of what we expect will be a very serene cabin.
Toyota also says the Avalon has a new exhaust that amps up engine noise in sport drive mode and also benefits from artificial sound enhancement to provide a more engaging drive experience.
The Avalon comes in XSE (a new model designation) and Limited trims, the latter being notable for a "cognac" interior treatment that looks quite sharp.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed