Most new cars claim–sometimes laughably–to appeal to the young and young at heart. The Avalon doesn’t bother with such pretense. Witness its retro advertising: commercials feature the 1954 song “Mr. Sandman.” Indeed, the Avalon, although redesigned just last year, is a traditional full-size car that doesn’t pretend to be anything hip or trendy. As always, it rides on a stretched Camry wheelbase and seats five. Last year’s update saw a few new creases and a smattering of chrome make it onto the exterior, but it’s hard to imagine anyone aside from owners of old Avalons noticing. The interior distinguishes the car from lesser Toyotas with standard leather seating and upgraded materials. It also clearly panders to its audience with art deco influences and, more important, large fonts and big controls. There’s also an impressive assortment of technology, including standard Bluetooth, USB, and satellite radio. The trunk, however, is actually slightly smaller than that of a Camry. Those inclined to floor the gas pedal will be in for a surprise: the silky smooth V-6 rockets the Avalon forward like a sport sedan. The pillow-soft suspension, though, makes it clear that performance is decidedly not the car’s mission. Rather, the smooth ride and hushed cabin will please drivers who want to hear and feel as little of the road as possible.
Trim levels: Avalon, Limited
Body style: Sedan, 5-passenger
Engine: 3.5L V-6, 268 hp, 248 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 106.9 cu ft
CARGO SPACE: 14.4 cu ft
The Avalon, which was redesigned last year, has no notable changes for 2012.
Front, side, side curtain, and driver’s knee air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; and a tire-pressure monitoring system are all standard.
All: 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway
- Roomy, comfortable interior
- Smooth ride
- Excellent V-6 engine
- Handles like a big old American car
- Still looks generic
Magic carpet ride.
- Buick LaCrosse
- Ford Taurus
- Hyundai Genesis
- Nissan Maxima