2011 Toyota Avalon Limited

Jeffrey Jablansky
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Matt Tierney

After driving the Avalon, I came away unusually nonplussed. Toyota's largest sedan is neither heart-racingly exciting, nor a slouch in the pants. The 2011 refresh of the Avalon is so subtle that I didn't realize it was a revised model.

Toyota had a strong pawn when it pitched the original generations of Avalons as Japanese Buick-fighters, taking a slice of market share away from General Motors as well as Ford's large sedans. The game has moved on. The newest Buicks, such as the Regal, show a renewed focus on the driver, and Ford's reinvented Taurus has far more style and sportiness than the Avalon does.

As a 22-year-old, I'm not in the Avalon's target market, but I didn't care for the interior. The blistering white-on-white of our tester's interior reminded me of sitting in a dentist's chair, although I've sat in dentist chairs with better bolstering and lumbar support. I'm not sure about the redundant temperature controls on the steering wheel, either, when the actual controls are a pinky-length away. The typophile in me dislikes the oversize eighteen-point type on the buttons and gauges -- a less-than-subtle hint at the Avalon's intended audience. The navigation screen is angled toward the rear center passenger, not to driver or passenger, which makes it difficult to locate and operate buttons by feel alone. (Then again, if the size of the text hasn't screamed out the button's function FROM A MILE AWAY...)

The Avalon behaved just as I expected: like a big Camry. A really big one, at that, with the added bonus of pinky-effort steering and a surprisingly high level of road noise in the cabin. The engine has more than enough power and will rev to redline if you push it, but why would you? This sedan is a smooth operator, meant to be savored from the perch of the cavernous back seat, on a long highway trip. Skip the back roads with this one.

Jeffrey Jablansky, Associate Editor

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jtmartinson
Amazing that you have been able to keep your job five years - how are your related to the publisher? Check the meaning of the word "nonplussed" - seems as though you missed that one also.
steve_c
First, a 22 year old Associate Editor? Tough times for the publishing industry indeed. Second, a 22 year old reviewing the Toyota Avalon? Could there not be a worse demographic to test the vehicle than a 22 year old male? There's a reason why you don't care for the interior or the instrument panel.I find it hard to take your review seriously given that you're the complete opposite demographic this vehicle is intended for and that you were unable to take that into consideration when writing your review. As a reviewer you are of course entitled to your opinion, but you should also include what the people who would be interested in actually purchasing the Avalon might think.
btc909
38K awah come on try for 40K next year!

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