Ace of Base: 2020 Toyota Avalon XLE
There’s comfort in a big sedan, both literally and figuratively. The familiarity of a stretch-em-out interior and ability to chew up the miles like candy is like a rejuvenate tonic for those of us who enjoy large cars. Sure, hot hatches are a great bit of fun, but full-size whips are like shaking hands with an old friend.
The Toyota Avalon has been around for longer than you may think, showing up at the Chicago Auto Show in 1994 before going on sale later that same year as a 1995 model. Twenty-five years later, the model remains atop the Big T’s range of cars — and now includes a gonzo TRD version, for some reason. What does the entry-level trim bring? Let’s find out.
All trims of Avalon, save for the hybrid models, are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 making 301 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. Spending more money to move up the food chain nets naught in terms of power. Point for the base car, then. These numbers compare well with other large cars in its rapidly shrinking segment, as the V6 Charger makes around the same amount of grunt — as did the just-departed Impala. An eight-speed automatic funnels all power through the front wheels.
That’s a big grille on the schnoz, so let’s offset it with some brown paint. Opulent Amber, shown here, is actually one of two brown options, a revelation sure to please members of the Brown Car Appreciation Society [link]. Flashy Ruby Red and Wind Chill, both pearl finishes, are the only two shades that cost extra. LED head- and taillights are standard on this base XLE.
A raft of active safety features are included, like pre-collision systems designed to sense when the car is about to mow down a pedestrian, along with the likes of lane keeping and dynamic radar cruise control.
Three different interior hues are available, none of them costing anything above and beyond the base price. Your author prefers the black Softex but understands if retirees in Scottsdale choose beige for heat retention reasons. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard, as are heated seats and a tilt/telescope wheel. All the power windows are auto up/down, meaning all hands can hear the announcer at the drive-in bingo.
Four USB ports is an impressive showing, making up for the fact that wireless charging is an option. Perhaps Toyota knows their demographic better than I. The infotainment duties are taken care of by a large 9-inch touchscreen, a system that features Apple CarPlay plus satellite radio and eight speakers. This is the same standard system installed in other Avalon trims costing thousands more.
Will a base 2020 Avalon set anyone’s world on fire? Likely not. Is it very well-equipped and a great Ace of Base candidate? Comfortably.
Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.
The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.
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