New Car Review: 2019 Toyota Avalon Touring by David Colman +VIDEO
This isn't your father's Avalon anymore
By David Colman
Special Correspondent to The Auto Channel
Toyota has expanded the Avalon model range to appeal to four distinct buyer groups. The XLE base model appeals to those seeking a bargain buy-in. XSE and Limited versions will assuage buyers seeking more luxury. Our Touring model represents a first in the Avalon line because it's designed to appeal primarily to sports minded owners. To that end, the Touring Avalon offers sports tuned front and rear suspension controlled by the driver through a mode switch designated "Adaptive Variable Suspension." This Touring specialty allows you to toggle among the following options: Eco, Custom, Sport and Sport+. Anyone who has reluctantly coaxed an older generation Avalon through tight turns will find the idea of a Sport+ setting for an Avalon to be absolutely revolutionary.
In Sport+ mode, the Touring's lacy black, machine finished 19 inch alloy rims, carrying 235/40R19 Michelin MXM4 tires, work the road surface with precision. There's never a stumble as this tenacious wheel and tire combo seeks grip. Only the tightest turns occasion so much as a chirp. After a half hour of back road bashing you will be mumbling to yourself, "Is this really an Avalon?"
In fact, you can drive this sportingly configured addition to the model range just as sedately as any older Avalon. Just dial down the performance hubbub by dialing up the Eco setting. Or customize the system to provide your desired response level. Touring will comply with a pliable ride, pillow soft steering, and sluggish throttle feedback. The interior, luxuriously appointed like foregoing Avalon parlors, will sooth you with its plush seating, and soft touch surfaces. Faux carbon fiber trim adds a jaunty air to the mix. You'll also appreciate the 3rd generation telematics of the Entune 3.0 system, which allows you to link your smart phone for navigation purposes. Though Entune has previously accepted only Android Auto, the Avalon now connects with Apple CarPlay.
In the conservative Avalon world, the Touring model is something of a revolutionary break through. It retains the best virtues of the brand while adding enough driving virtue to make this once stodgy sedan appeal to a completely new customer base.
2019 TOYOTA AVALON TOURING
ENGINE: 3.5 liter V6, DOHC, 24 Valves, Direct Injection
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 22MPG City/31MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $44,665
HYPES: Finally, a Driver's Avalon
GRIPES: Noisy Safety Nannies Can't Be Silenced
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10
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