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2014 Toyota Avalon Overview
Once a stodgy and antiquated afterthought, the Toyota Avalon now stands at the pinnacle of the affordable family sedan market. A total redesign in 2013 has carried over nicely into the 2014 editions, thus improved ride comfort, a new look, a heady drive and a boatload of standard features, especially in the higher trims, make this year’s 5-passenger full-size 4-door a solid everyday schlepper.
Once again available in 4 non-hybrid trims, the base XLE, the lower-midlevel XLE Premium, the upper-midlevel XLE Touring and the flagship Limited, this heady sedan also comes in 3 Hybrid trims, the Hybrid XLE Premium, Hybrid XLE Touring and the Hybrid Limited. Passenger room in all versions is exemplary, with non-hybrid trims offering 16 cubic feet of trunk space and hybrids packing a little less spacious 14 cubic feet of cargo-toting ability due to the still-bulky, old-technology nickel-metal-hydride battery pack. Again, of course, all Avalon trims are delivered only with front-wheel drive (FWD).
Standard power in non-hybrid trims should remain the traditional variable-valve-timed (VVT) 3.5-liter V6 engine. Mated with the standard 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission, the peppy 6-banger puts out 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque, good enough to tow 1,000 pounds of trailer, if one is inclined to mount an available dealer-installed tow package, while mileage is expected to remain 21 mpg city/31 highway. The XLE Touring and the Limited are touted to again boast 3 selectable driving modes: Normal, Sport and Eco.
For those who want to run greener, Avalon Hybrid editions should return packing a VVT 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) gasoline/hybrid engine mated to a 650-volt electric motor and the standard continuously variable transmission (CVT) for a total of 200 hp. Again, mileage should remain 40/39, which is ballyhooed by Toyota as among the best in the business.
Look for standard appearance features like 17-inch alloy wheels and power-adjustable mirrors in the base non-hybrid XLE to return for 2014, while the cabin should again flaunt leather upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, full power accessories, and leather and simulated alloy accents. Expect cruise control to return, as well, in this entry-level trim, along with telescoping tilt-wheel steering, a rear-view camera, dual-zone climate control and Bluetooth hands-free calling. Entertainment, meantime, is slated to remain a single-CD player with 8 speakers, auxiliary iPod integration and a USB port.
The XLT Premium ought to once again throw a standard power sunroof, remote garage door opener and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror into the ring, with the XLT Touring adding standard 18-inch alloy wheels, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, memory for driver's settings, satellite radio, a subwoofer and flash-drive navigation. Toyota’s touted Entune infotainment system with available smartphone apps should also once again grace the top-shelf XLT Touring.
The flagship Limited, finally, is again expected to sport a power rear sunshade, added front-seat power adjustments, premium leather upholstery, tri-zone climate control and JBL audio with 11 premium speakers.
The 3 Avalon Hybrid trims, the Hybrid XLE Premium, the Hybrid XLE Touring and the Hybrid Limited, are expected to remain equipped similarly to their non-hybrid contemporaries, while continuing to tote a reconfigured dashboard and instrument cluster to display various hybrid performance data.
Lower Avalon trims ought to once again remain eligible for items found standard in higher trims as options, while the top-shelf Limited and Hybrid Limited should again be available with an available Technology Package boasting adaptive cruise control with a pre-collision prep system and auto hi/low-beam headlights. Look for remote engine start, meantime, to return as one of the more desirable standalone options in this family-friendly 4-door.
Again, notable standard safety equipment for all 2014 Avalon trims should include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, and active front headrests. Daytime running lights (LED in the Limited and Hybrid Limited) should also remain standard for all trims, as should turn-signal-integrated mirrors and a remote antitheft alarm. The XLE touring and Limited, in both Hybrid and non-hybrid form, should flaunt standard blind-spot warning and front fog/driving lights, while both Limited versions ought to boast Toyota’s Safety Connect system with Entune-interfaced emergency assistance features as standard equipment.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.