Ace of Base: 2020 Toyota Avalon XLE

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
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.

[Images: Toyota]

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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2 of 31 comments

    The Toyota Avalon is the only Toyota I would buy. And, the AVALONR license plate in California is still available.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Apr 09, 2020

    Agree the older I get the more appealing an Avalon is to me. A bought a neighbor's low mileage 2012 LaCrosse E-assist for a very low price. A low mileage Avalon would be a good used car but even at 35k a base new Avalon is still not a bad deal. If I were buying new the 2020 Impala Premium trim would be the one I would buy.

  • Conundrum Can't see that the Espada chassis had much to do with the Miura. The Miura had a rear-mounted transverse V12 with the transmission and final drive all part of the engine block. So it's a bit of a stretch saying the north-south V12 and regular transmission Espada chassis was related to the Miura. It looks to be no more than an update of the 400 GT. And short and long-arm independendent suspension was hardly unique -- a '53 Chev had that in front, it was standard for years on most cars that didn't have Mac struts. The Brits call SLA suspension double wishbone, so Honda thought that sounded more mysterious than SLA and used that terminology in ads, but it's the same thing. Only a few mid '30s cars had same length upper and lower A-arms like a '36 Chev, before the obvious advantage of a short upper arm for camber control was introduced. Of course Ford used a dead beam front axle until 1949, so it was last to climb out of the stone age.Do you have a link to a reference that says the Miura and Espada chassis were related?
  • FreedMike One of the things that we here in North America often forget about Europe is that it's a COMPLETELY different world to drive in. Imagine driving in the downtown area of the city you live in 24/7, and never leaving it, and you have a decent simulation of what it's like to drive in a place like Paris, or London, or Rome - or Manhattan, for that matter. As far as the "dystopia" is concerned, I don't really see it that way. This isn't made for people living in the 'burbs - it's for urban dwellers. And for that application, this car would be about perfect. The big question is how successful the effort to provide large-scale EV charging in urban areas will be.
  • Matzel I am hoping that Vee-Dub will improve the UX and offer additional color options for the 2024 Mk8.5 refresh for Canada. Until then, I'll be quite happy with my '21 GTI performance pack. It still puts a smile on my face going through the twisty bits.
  • Stanley Steamer There have been other concepts with BYOT, that I have always thought was a great idea. Replacing bespoke parts is expensive. If I can plug in a standard 17" monitor to serve as my instrument panel, as well as speakers, radio, generic motors, batteries, I'm for it. Cheaper repair, replacement, or upgrade costs. Heck I'd even like to put in my own comfy seats. My house didn't come with a built in LaZboy. The irony is that omitting these bespoke items at the point of sale allows me to create a more bespoke car as a whole. It's hard to imagine what an empty rolling monocoque chassis would look like capable of having powertrains and accessories easily bolted on in my garage, but something like the Bollinger suv comes to mind.
  • Iam65689044 Sometimes I'm glad the French don't sell in America. This is one of those times.