Jun 282018

When I hear the name Avalon, I think of my favorite album from the eighties by Roxy Music, Avalon. Legend also has it that Avalon is the birthplace of Excalibur, King Arthur’s sword. In 1994, Toyota chose the name for its all-new top-of-the-line midsize sedan. No pressure, right?

With a redesign coming in 2019, featuring a gargantuan grille, there’s still time to grab the 2018 model for fans of the current look. Latino Traffic Report recently drove two versions of the Avalon Touring, one in Ooh la la Rouge Mica and the other in Parisian Night Pearl (above).

An homage to the larger sedans of yore, the Avalon immediately impresses with its roominess, offering 42.1 inches of legroom in the front and 39.2 inches in the rear.

While the trunk can fit 16 cubic feet of cargo, the rear seats are not split for added cargo carrying ability.

Outside, the styling could be called understated, but the inside was rather elegant, with a dash, accented by smoked chrome details and a capacitive touch center stack for controlling the entertainment and climate control systems, plus a seven-inch split touchscreen.

Improvements for 2018 include the Toyota Safety Sense-P suite of technologies that are now standard like automatic high beams, dynamic radar cruise control, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, and lane departure alert with steering assist. A backup camera is also standard.

While not the most expensive Avalon trim, the Touring is the second from the top out of five and as such, includes important technology like the available blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and a parking sensor. It’s also the sportiest trim with a sport- tuned suspension and eighteen-inch wheels with darkened rims.

A 3.5-liter V6 with dual variable valve timing with intelligence powers every Avalon. Matched to a six-speed automatic transmission, it produces 268 horsepower and 248 lb.–ft. of torque and has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. On the test drive I averaged 22.7–24.9 mpg.

The available hybrid powertrain also makes the Avalon unique in its segment.

Standard creature comforts include dual-zone climate control, Entune premium audio with integrated navigation, auxiliary USB ports, Bluetooth, a CD player, (great for playing the CD version of Avalon) leather seating with heated seats for the driver and front passenger, a leather-trimmed telescopic steering wheel with paddle shifters, and Qi compatible wireless smartphone charging. My iPhone 6s was not compatible.

The midsize sedan may be an endangered automotive species but it’s not dead yet and with its 24-year history, going on 25, the Toyota Avalon is quite the survivor.

Pricing for the 2018 Avalon XLE starts at $34,395. The as-tested price for the two Avalon Tourings came to $38,739 and $39,541 (with the addition of an illuminated door sill, $379 and wheel locks, $80).

Si: The Avalon’s interior roominess and capacitive center stack gave it a premium feel.

No: While the Touring is the sportiest Avalon trim, those darkened rims looked odd.


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