2017 Toyota Avalon Review


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2017 Toyota Avalon Overview

The full-size Avalon is Toyota’s flagship sedan. Slotted above the popular Camry but sitting below Toyota’s more luxurious Lexus lineup, the Avalon underwent a major redesign in 2013 and a significant facelift in 2016. Now, the Avalon carries into 2017 mostly unchanged.

The one major update to the 2017 Toyota Avalon involves active safety. Previously, only the upscale Limited trim offered automatic emergency braking—which can automatically stop or slow the car to prevent a collision. For 2017, Toyota is making this feature and others standard across all trims on nearly all vehicles. All Avalons now get Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), which includes four safety systems: pre-collision braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert with steering assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and dynamic radar cruise control.

The Avalon is the same width and height as a Camry, but four inches longer. Buyers can choose from either a 269-hp 3.5-liter gasoline-only engine or a hybrid drivetrain that combines a 4-cylinder engine, a 650V permanent-magnet AC synchronous electric motor, and a 244.8V Ni-MH battery for a net output of 200 hp.

Even though the Avalon is designed more for cruising than racing, either engine choice can get the big car out of its own way in a hurry.

Both conventional and hybrid Avalons come in various trim levels, ranging from the well-equipped XLE to the top-of-the-line Limited. All XLE and Limited Avalons come with a suspension that’s tuned for comfort, while the Touring has a suspension that gives the driver a bit more road feel.

The opening price-point XLE comes standard with leather seats (heated for the driver and front passenger), a leather steering wheel, push-button start, and 17-inch wheels. While this trim level doesn’t come with navigation, the XLE’s version of the Toyota Entune infotainment system does connect to a driver’s phone to offer app-based navigation. Instead of relying on a built-in setup, it uses the phone’s GPS and data connection. Be warned: Toyota vehicles don’t work with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The 2016 Toyota Avalon XLE starts at an MSRP of $32,650. Though pricing hasn’t been announced for 2017, we don’t expect any major changes.

The XLE Plus sells for $34,400 and adds a moonroof and an auto-dimming mirror with a HomeLink-compatible garage door opener. The XLE Plus Hybrid starts at $36,650 and is similarly equipped.

The XLE Premium gets some added technology: built-in navigation, an upgraded sound system, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a memory driver’s seat and mirrors, and a wireless phone charger in the center console. It starts at $35,850, while the XLE Premium Hybrid starts at $38,100.

Step up to the gasoline-only Touring trim (MSRP $37,050) and you get LED headlights, 18-inch wheels, and slightly less cushy handling.

Finally, the range-topping Limited offers heated and cooled front seats, tri-zone climate control, and a power rear sunshade. A gas-powered Limited will set you back $40,050, while a Limited Hybrid goes for $41,950.

Compared to the conventional trims, which get 21 mpg city/31 highway/24 combined, the hybrids promise 40/39/40 and offer a mile’s worth of electric-only driving. There is one caveat: the back seats don’t fold down, which makes the cavernous trunk a bit less useful.

Regardless of which Avalon you choose, you’ll get a traditional sedan with modern technology and old-fashioned comfort, all for thousands less than a similarly equipped Lexus.


A member of the New England Motor Press Association who has owned everything from a Town Car to a Prius, Keith has contributed automotive coverage to outlets including Wired, Car & Driver, and USA Today.

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