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2015/2016 Toyota Avalon Review By Larry Nutson

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LN Says: ...the Toyota Avalon is a lot of car; amazingly spacious; performs very well; delivers high quality; lots of comfort; everything a significant percentage of car buyers in the traditional full-size segment are looking for.

2015/2016 Toyota Avalon
Something Special

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

There’s something special about getting to drive the flagship of a car brand. Toyota’s flagship, the Avalon, is getting updated and freshened for the 2016 model year. In February at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show Toyota previewed the changes that will be coming to the market this fall.

For 2016 the Avalon will receive a fresh new front end including new available LED headlights and daytime running lights. Around back new LED taillights are said to give it a high-performance look. All Avalon's will be fitted with new wheels including 18-inch alloys with a dark gray finish that will come on the Touring grade.

The 5-passenger front-wheel drive 2016 Avalon will continue to offer a V6 powertrain as well as a hybrid model. Five distinct grades on the V6 models give customers a wide array of choice.Hybrid customers can choose from three separate grades adding luxury features and technology options as they move up the line from XLE through Limited.

Two improved and unique suspension systems have been developed to better align with diverse customer preferences. One tuning prioritizes a comfortable ride for the XLE through Limited grades, the other provides a more dynamic and responsive driving experience for the Touring grade.

The V6 powered Avalon is offered in XLE, XLE Premium, XLE Touring, XLE Touring Sport Edition and Limited grades. The Hybrid is available in the XLE Premium, XLE Touring and Limited grades (compare here).

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Prices for the 2015 Avalon V6 start at $32,285 for the XLE and max out at $37,170 for the XLE Touring Sport Edition. The 2015 Avalon Hybrid pricing starts at $36,470 XLE Premium and rise to $41,700 for the Limited. Pricing for the 2016 model should become known later this fall.

The Avalon’s standard 3.5-liter, DOHC V6 uses Dual VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) to ensure ample torque across the engine speed range. The engine produces 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 248 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm. Teamed with a 6-speed automatic transmission, Toyota says the V6 can move the Avalon fromzero to 60 mph in less than seven seconds. EPA test fuel economy rating is 24 mpg combined, with 21 city mpg and 31 highway mpg.

The Avalon Hybrid uses Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system that combines output from a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine and a high-torque electric motor. The system produces a combined 200 horsepower and varies power betweenthe gas engine and electric motor, or combines both, as needed, channeling torque through a unique planetary gear-type continuously variable transmission. The Avalon Hybrid is no slouch with its 8.0-second zero-to-60 acceleration, according to Toyota’s data.

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In EV Drive mode, the Avalon Hybrid can drive solely on the electric motor for a short distance at speeds under about 20 mph. EPA test estimated fuel economy rating is 40 mpg combined, with 40 city mpg and 39 highway mpg. As you can see from the EPA city test rating, the hybrid drive train pays off if you do a lot of city driving. The Avalon Hybrid comes with a 17-gallon fuel tank, offering theoretically up to 680 miles of driving based on the EPA test ratings.

The V6 Avalon has a 16 cubic foot trunk whereas the Hybrid loses some volume to space for the batteries and drops to 14 cubic foot. That’s still plenty big for a road trip or carrying luggage to the airport and of course, golf clubs.

My media-loan test drive model was the 2015 Avalon Hybrid XLE Premium with a base MSRP of $36,470. Optional equipment included the $935 Entune Premium Audio and Navigation Suite and $225 for carpeted floor and trunk mats. Delivery and handling is $825, bringing the total to $38,455.

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I found the Avalon quite comfortable and pleasant for my Chicagoland around town jaunts. The car is very quiet and the fuel gauge needle hardly moved. Seating is roomy with easy ingress and egress. Performance from the Hybrid was smooth and did not disappoint with acceleration, highway merging and passing all done with ease.

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The rear view camera is a god-send for parking and tight big-city maneuvering. Although not equipped on my test car, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are available and are two technologies that are very helpful in heavy traffic driving and parking lot or garage maneuvering, respectively. When it comes right down to it, the built in Georgetown KY high quality Avalon is a lot of car for the money. It’s amazingly spacious, performs very well and is priced reasonably. It delivers high quality, lots of comfort and what a significant percentage of new cars buyers in the traditional full-size segment are looking for. Yes you can get the same in other brands but then you often need to move in to the premium segment and also end up paying a lot more. BMW, Mercedes, Infiniti and Lexus may have a bit more panache, but it's good to be wise on where you spend your money.

For more information from Toyota about their Avalon just go to If you want specs, reviews, prices and competitive comparisons and detailed information on all of the other brand's large sedans you can get that right here on The Auto Channel's Toyota Buyers Guide and Perfect New Car Match

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Now here’s a money-saver. The 2015 Avalon and Avalon Hybrid come standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Toyota was named the top non-luxury brand in the fifth annual’s Best Retained Value Awards.And, Avalon took the top prize in the Large Car segment for best resale value. Now that’s very special.

2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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