By on July 15, 2020

Despite deep-sixing its Yaris hatch and sedan for the coming model year, Toyota hasn’t lost interest in all of its passenger car models (not that the Yaris was really as Toyota, but that’s beside the point). There’s been a fair bit of action on that front in recent years, and the automaker shows no signs of stopping.

New trims join the brand’s car entourage for 2021, though those looking to get into the barest-bones Camry will walk away from this article disappointed. (Read More…)

By on June 17, 2020

2020 Toyota Avalon LimitedAs I wrote in April, the Toyota Avalon has taken great strides in moving from being a snoozer to a touring sedan with a bit of spice up its sleeve.

That was in reference to the hybrid. Try the gas-engine Avalon for a truly transformed experience.

Much of the overall hybrid experience remains true in models carrying the gas-only powertrain – the Avalon is sportier and rides more stiffly, though it remains more of a highway cruiser than a true sports sedan – yet the trade-off of a bit more power for a bit less fuel economy livens the car up even more.

(Read More…)

By on April 8, 2020

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.

(Read More…)

By on April 2, 2020

2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited

Time was, you couldn’t pay me to drive a Toyota Avalon.

Okay, that’s not true – part of this job I’m paid to do requires me to drive cars and review them. Including many vehicles that would never be on my wish list.

Allow me to rephrase, then: There was a time I wouldn’t have driven an Avalon unless I was being paid.

Times change.

(Read More…)

By on November 13, 2019

Depending on where you live, the newest variants of the Toyota Camry and its big brother, the Avalon, may arrive too late to help you conquer any wintry weather. This winter, anyway. Slated to arrive in North American markets starting early next spring, the two sedans boast something unfamiliar to owners of these long-running models: All-wheel drive.

In an announcement that took many by surprise, the automaker claims these new AWD sedans can thank the new-for-2019 RAV4 for their existence. A little engineering work later, and here we are. The 29-year drought of AWD Camrys has ended. (Read More…)

By on August 14, 2019

In the bittersweet recent history of the traditional full-size sedan, no move comes across quite as desperate as Toyota’s TRD-ification of the admittedly competent Avalon. No one — repeat, no one — thinks of the Avalon as a taught, corner carving sports sedan, though the model did gain stiffer bones and better handling via its 2019 model year revamp. Frankly, few people think of the Avalon at all.

Which is a shame, as no one loves large, conservative cars more than your author. Add to that the fact that the current inhabitants of the full-size segment have a lot going for them, cargo capacity excluded, and the Avalon is well-known for being among the longest-lasting vehicles on the road.

In donning the Toyota Racing Development badge, the Avalon can’t help but get noticed, though the reaction of passers-by might fall along the lines of “WTF,” rather than “Oh, dammnnnn…” That’s assuming they ever see one. (Read More…)

By on August 5, 2019

2019 Toyota Avalon front quarter

You’ve seen the type. The solo diner, eating while working through emails at the restaurant or FaceTiming with their kids while in the lobby of the Hampton Inn out by the interstate. The salespeople, making the wheels of commerce and commission turn with each mile glued to the windshield, travelling the highways in search of the next big sale.

These professional drivers don’t need a CDL, though many log enough miles in a year to rival some truckers. They need a comfortable, dependable steed that doesn’t warrant a second thought – it just does exactly what they need.

While many Willy Lomans have moved to midsized crossovers for their work vehicles, there is something comforting and familiar to a big sedan for slogging multiple hours on the highway. Had I had a choice back when I was out on the road for work, something like this 2019 Toyota Avalon would have been ideal. A trunk, hiding whatever samples I was carrying from prying eyes, is something you don’t get in some me-too crossover.

(Read More…)

By on December 28, 2018

2019 Toyota Avalon wind tunnel: Image: Toyota

Fred writes:

What is it with all these fake vents on the front and rear grilles and valances of new cars?

I admit, I recently bought one of the worst offenders, a 2019 Avalon (I bought it for the Audi-esque interior). But for crying out loud, why all the black plastic trying in vain to fool the eye that these are… what, exactly? (Read More…)

By on November 14, 2018

Toyota/Twitter

“Win on Sunday, sell Camrys on Monday,” as the old saying goes. That’s what Toyota’s doing in the lead-up to this week’s debut of two vehicles you’ve waited patiently for. Nah, let’s be real. You’ve resided in a heightened state of suspense, nerves jangling, taking Ativan just to get a few hours of sleep, ever since last week’s teaser of the upcoming TRD Camry and Avalon.

Don’t worry, they’re almost here — and now there’s a whole Tundraful of eye-popping, pants-rending optical candy to feast your peepers on. But don’t settle for having us louts describe the TRD-ified family sedans for you. What does defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr., noted lover of Toyota, think? (Read More…)

By on November 1, 2018

Image: Toyota

Frankly, you have to wonder what took them so long. With all of America crying out for big front-wheel drive sedans, especially ones with conservative pedigrees and visual upgrades to appeal (plead?) to the younger crowd, a move like this was long overdue.

Yes, finally, Toyota appears ready to give us the Camry and Avalon TRDs we’ve longed for these past many years. Get ready, because these two super sedans drop on an unsuspecting public later this month.  (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2018

2017 Kia Cadenza - Image: Kia

April wasn’t a hot month for auto sales, what with two less selling days than the same period last year. Overall, the industry was down nearly 5 percent last month, with — in many cases — only the hottest-selling models, many of them recently revamped SUVs, posting a net gain.

April held some surprises, though, and one had to do with a pair of vehicles that should be on their way to the funeral home. That is, if all automakers acted on what they saw in the tea leaves. Certain automakers, Toyota and Kia among them, aren’t quite as eager to hop onto the all-crossovers-and-trucks bandwagon. Because of this, there’s still choice for someone looking for a large, front-wheel-drive sedan with plenty of content, but not luxury vehicle levels of it.

These people actually exist, albeit in ever smaller numbers. And these people apparently like what they see in two particular models. (Read More…)

By on April 23, 2018

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Years fade into the past, but the public’s thirst for high-riding, do-everything vehicles never seems to ebb. In light of this seismic shift, the Toyota Avalon’s continued presence at the top of the brand’s model line increasingly comes across as mysterious. Perhaps it shouldn’t be.

Introduced for the 1995 model year, the front-drive full-sizer always stayed true to itself — dressed in conservative clothing, it boasted a comfy, roomy cabin, ample V6 power, old-school Toyota dependability, and little chance of drama. If flashiness or cargo volume wasn’t your thing, who could ask for more?

In its recent study of America’s longest lasting vehicles, iSeeCars.com discovered the Avalon was the passenger car most likely to see 200,000 miles. Treat it right, and it’ll outlast multiple owners.

There’s a problem, though, in the fact that fewer and fewer buyers visit Toyota showrooms in search of a large sedan. Avalon sales declined each year following the model’s 2013 post-recession sales peak. Clearly, a change is in order. In crafting its next-generation Avalon, Toyota sought to create a model capable of wooing loyal, returning customers and — for the first time, it seems — younger buyers.

The trouble is, by messing with a formula that worked well for two decades, you risk alienating both groups. (Read More…)

By on January 15, 2018

As we told you not too long ago, Toyota’s sticking with its traditional car lineup in the face of declining sales — clinging to it, really. How else could you explain not only the continued existence of the full-size Avalon sedan, but a wholly new generation of it?

That’s what we have here this morning in Detroit. The 2019 Avalon, the fifth-generation of a  lineage dating back to the 1995 model year, is here. It’s longer, lower, wider, faster, thriftier, and plusher than before, while boasting enough technology to impress or confuse just about anyone who might find themselves behind the wheel. (Read More…)

By on December 9, 2017

2019 Toyota Avalon, Image: Toyota

A quick glance of the North American automotive landscape reveals an environment not too welcoming for traditional passenger cars. Actually, it’s beyond unfriendly. The public’s desire for crossovers, crossovers, crossovers makes the market as hospitable to large sedans as Pripyat, Ukraine, is to human life.

Nevertheless, Toyota’s unyielding desire for a full-size flagship sedan means the Avalon — a solid, safe, conservative model launched for the 1995 model year — will live to see another generation. And, judging by a teaser image released by the automaker on Friday, the 2019 Avalon is dressed to impress.

It might be the model’s last chance to make an impression. (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2017

2016 Toyota Avalon - Image: ToyotaU.S. sales of full-size, volume-brand sedans fell 17 percent in the first seven months of 2017, a sharp drop following noteworthy declines in each of the last three years. Despite the growth the market has seen since the auto industry’s collapse in 2009, big sedans have lost 37 percent of their U.S. sales volume over the last four years.

Compared with 2013, that’s 18,000 fewer sales for the segment every month. Even compared with 2016, that’s 6,500 fewer sales every month.

In what was historically a fleet-dependent corner of the passenger-car market, many automakers’ reduced emphasis on sales to daily rental companies plays a major role. Numerous players in the segment also attempted to move upmarket, further away from the midsize cars that now offer the requisite interior volume. It hasn’t turned out so well for some. Remember the Mitsubishi Diamante and Mercury Montego? We’ll soon forget the discontinued Hyundai Azera. The Ford Taurus is likely not long for this market, either.

Yet in a market that’s lost 17 percent of its sales this year, the Toyota Avalon has shed 28 percent of its year-to-date volume, a loss of 7,475 sales. With an all-new 2018 Camry set to generate more than its fair share of Toyota sedan sales, does the Avalon even deserve a place in Toyota’s 2018 lineup?

Indeed it does, as Toyota will launch the fifth-generation, TNGA-based Avalon in 2018. “We’re committed to Avalon,” says Toyota North America’s executive vice president for sales, Bob Carter. (Read More…)

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