Driving the Avalon was like a trip down memory lane, but I didn't feel like I was in an old-fashioned car, since ours was equipped with one of Toyota's excellent navigation systems, a back-up camera, and even Bluetooth for the 660-watt, 12-speaker stereo. Wait, wait, let's say that again: a 12-speaker, 660-watt stereo? In a car that's aimed squarely at the AARP set? Wow, what is the world coming to?
When it comes to cars like the Avalon, there's no sense in trying to explain them to BMW drivers. There are still a lot of people who simply want a big, comfortable, reliable, cushy sedan that doesn't ask a lot of the driver. These are the folks who were served for decades by cars like the Ford Crown Victoria. So now they get similar driving dynamics -- isolated ride, lazy steering, considerable body roll -- but combined with Toyota reliability and an available portfolio of modern amenities like the aforementioned navigation and stereo. That said, if my mother or aunt were thinking about buying an Avalon, I'd recommend that they also check out the Buick LaCrosse.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor