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2020 Toyota Avalon Hybrid XSE Review by John Helig

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2020 Toyota Avalon Hybrid XSE
ENGINE: 2.5-liter 4
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 176 hp @ 5,600 rpm (215 hp total)/163 lb.-ft. @ 3,600-5,200 rpm
WHEELBASE: 113.0 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 195.9 x 72.8 x 56.5 in.
TIRES: P235/45R18
CARGO CAPACITY: 16.1 cu. ft.
ECONOMY: 43 mpg city/43 mpg highway/42.5 mpg test
CURB WEIGHT: 3,671 lbs.
TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Buick LaCrosse, Ford Taurus, Genesis G80
STICKER: $43,749 (includes $995 delivery (est.), $2,404 options)
BOTTOM LINE: The Toyota Avalon is a roomy full-sized sedan with a comfortable ride that is great for long drives.

Don’t expect a Camry when you get in the Toyota Avalon. The Avalon is much bigger (or at least it seems so) and has a big car ride, as opposed to the mid-sized car ride of the Camry. If you don’t understand, go to any dealer and test drive a mid-size and a full-size.

We took the Avalon “over the hills and through the woods” to grandchildrens’ (and daughter’s) house for Thanksgiving. As is the norm in our family, we took many of the fixins for Thanksgiving dinner in a large cooler that fit nicely in the trunk. Since this is a hybrid with the hybrid stuff behind the rear seats, the backs of those seats didn’t fold for increased cargo capacity. This was no problem, as the cooler and much of the food fit in the 16.1 cubic foot trunk and the rear seats and footwells held our suitcases.

Power for the Avalon comes from a 176 horsepower 2.5-liter 4 with electric assist to boost it to 215 hp overall. We drove Interstates as well as local roads and were always comfortable with the power available. The Electronic CVT transmission did whine occasionally on deceleration, but it wasn’t annoying.

I was surprised by some of the omissions with the Avalon. For example, the sticker said it had Qi wireless charging, but while there was a nice tray for my phone it didn’t charge. Also in the tray/cubby at the base of the center stack there was a 12-volt outlet, but no USB outlets. There are two USB outlets in the center arm rest/console

Our tester was equipped with Toyota Safety Sense - P, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection (the car yells at you if it detects an impending crash), dynamic radar cruise control (great on Interstates), lane departure alert, automatic high beams, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

Then primary impression from the Avalon is its ride quality. There’s nothing exotic about the suspension - McPherson struts front and back and a multi-link rear - but the combination of a relatively long wheelbase and the underpinnings combine for a very nice ride, almost Lexus-like.

Overall,, the Toyota Avalon is a nice full-size sedan, even in hybrid configuration , with very good ride quality and great economy.

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate