2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Review

While some things never change, others do; case in point, Toyota’s Avalon. Once designed specifically to be the “old folk’s” Toyota, the contemporary Avalon has been infused with a youthful athleticism previously considered way too risqué for Toyota’s flagship. Today, Avalon’s look is sexy, its equipment is decidedly high-tech, and the large sedan exudes vigor previously unknown to the cars wearing its nameplate.

Toyota Avalon Hybrid System Overview

Crisply styled, yet curvaceous; this Avalon stands out where previous iterations of Toyota’s largest four-door blended into the queue at traffic signals. Elegance and sportiness can reside together and Avalon is rolling proof of the fact. The four-door coupe profile is worn well. For the 2016 model year, the Avalon’s front end has been updated with a redesigned grille and new turn signal indicators, upgrading the look of the car considerably.

The interior returns with outré moderne touch sensitive controls on the dash, telegraphing the wealth of tech hiding behind its façade. Wisely, the interior designer stuck with rotary knobs for the volume and tuning functions of the audio system. Thoughtful touches of this nature abound throughout the nicely decorated cabin. Legroom front and rear is offered in abundance, while the trunk is capacious for a hybrid sedan at 14 cubic feet.

We’re talking the top Toyota model here, so near-Lexus levels of kit are prescribed. The top of the line Avalon Limited flaunts rain-sensing windshield wipers, three-zone climate controls, a seven-inch premium Entune setup; four heated seats and cooled front seats too. Even base models feature leather, keyless entry and pushbutton start, as well as a power adjustable driver’s seat. A new tech addition for the 2016 model year is wireless charging for Qi compatible smartphones. Sorry Apple fans, iPhone isn’t one of them.

One of seven hybrid models currently offered by Toyota, the Avalon uses the gasoline/electric powertrain also found in the Camry Hybrid. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is paired with an electric motor and a continuously variable transmission for a total system output of 200 horsepower.

In its EV mode, we saw the Avalon operating purely on electricity at speeds approaching 45 miles per hour. Fuel economy is rated at 40 mpg in the city and 39 on the highway. We averaged 40 miles per gallon overall. It should be noted this completely eclipses the standard Avalon’s 24 mpg combined rating.

Going down the street, Avalon Hybrid delivers a quiet, comfortable and well-damped ride with good reflexes when rapid changes of direction are requested. While we wouldn’t characterize the Avalon as fast, it is adequately powered for the vast majority of situations the car is likely to encounter.

Steering feels direct, acceleration is good and braking is strong, albeit somewhat devoid of feel. Handling on twisty roads is actually entertaining. However, while Avalon is perfectly capable of holding its own in this regard, it really doesn’t inspire this type of driving. Despite the youthful appearance, Avalon remains the grown-up Toyota, as it actually incites laid-back cruising.

Pricing for the 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid starts at $36,650.

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Toyota Avalon Hybrid System Overview

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