By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.5
The full-size sedan has been on a slump as of late, replaced by bigger crossover SUVs that offer more interior room and versatility. But, there is still a large set of the population who likes the low stance, comfortable ride and easy-to-park characteristic of a sedan. For them, Toyota builds the 2014 Avalon. Its striking exterior is further bolstered by a premium interior befitting the finest Lexus sedan. Taut driving dynamics, a smooth ride and a silent cabin are also mainstays of Toyota's flagship, as are the cutting-edge yet user-friendly in-vehicle audio and navigation systems. Alongside the potent V6 is a hybrid model delivering a slightly less robust 0-60 time but much better fuel economy
If you're looking for a big sedan that delivers economy-car fuel economy, the full-size 2014 Toyota Avalon is it. Class-leading resale value and reliability are also pluses in the Avalon's favor, as are its sleek good looks.
A rearview camera is added to the base XLE, prompting a slight price increase for the trim. The XLE Premium now offers the display audio unit with navigation and Entune Apps suite, while a blind-spot monitoring system is made optional on the Touring trim.
Driving Impressions The 2014 Toyota Avalon delivers a thrill ride, but not in the traditional sense. While not intended to deliver a BMW-like ride, the Avalon nevertheless is a competent sedan that...will impress with its smooth ride and sedate driving experience. Compared to the last-generation car, the newest Avalon benefits greatly from better feel in the steering and brakes. There's also an available driver-selectable Sport mode that adds more weight to the power steering response and improves upshift times. Toyota may have gone a bit overboard adding features like paddle shifters and downshift rev-matching, but it's nice to have them onboard just the same. The V6 is a true star, but it's the hybrid powertrain that won our hearts, delivering excellent performance while returning a 40-mpg combined city/highway figure. On the road, the Avalon shuts out almost all wind and tire noise to create a cocoon-like environment.
CAPACITIVE TOUCH SWITCHES
Using the same principle that controls your smartphone, the Avalon's capacitive touch switches require only the slightest touch to perform their function. Reacting to minor fluctuations in electrical current when contacted by your finger, these switches are more efficient and require less moving parts than traditional buttons and knobs.
REAR CROSS TRAFFIC WARNING
Parking lots filled with big SUVs often block a driver from noticing cross traffic at the rear of the vehicle. Toyota's Rear Cross Traffic Warning system eliminates this problem by alerting the driver with a warning signal and indicator light when a vehicle is approaching from the side.
The 2014 Toyota Avalon offers perhaps the finest cabin in its class, with first-rate materials, user-friendly controls and impressive fit and finish. The general design is the same regardless of trim level, which only sweetens the Avalon's attractive $31K starting price. Toyota's latest batch of infotainment options such as advanced voice recognition, mobile application integration and hard-drive-based navigation should appeal to tech-savvy buyers. And, unlike the Ford Taurus, the Avalon's capacitive touch switches for the audio and climate-control functions are responsive and straightforward. In terms of comfort the rear-seat passengers are treated to an abundance of legroom and headroomExterior
The Avalon's masculine stance and sculpted bodywork were conceived by Toyota's Southern California-based Calty Design studio. The forward-raked C-pillar and sweeping roofline impart an almost coupe-like silhouette. Although it seems counterintuitive, this aggressive design actually improves rear-seat headroom. The headlights incorporate a pair of stylish square-shaped projector lenses, which Toyota calls Quadrabeams. This contemporary look is finished off with a set of 17-inch or optional 18-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights and dual chrome-tipped exhaust outlets.
The 2014 Toyota Avalon is offered in XLE, Premium, Touring and Limited trim levels with hybrid variants available in the last three. In base form, the Avalon includes heated outside mirrors, rearview camera, leather-trimmed seats, smart-key access and push-button start, dual-zone climate control and a 6.1-inch audio touch screen and eight speakers. Premium models add a moonroof, while Touring trims include creature comforts like navigation, driver's-seat memory control and Toyota's Entune infotainment system. Occupant protection consists of 10 airbags, a comprehensive suite of electronic stability aids, and front seats designed to help reduce the severity of whiplash-related injuries
Since the majority of feature content is tied to trim level, the 2014 Toyota Avalon offers only a few option packages. Available exclusively on Limited models, the Tech Package includes a pre-collision system that prepares the car for impact when it senses a crash about to happen, automatic high beams, and an adaptive cruise-control system that maintains a pre-selected distance behind the vehicle ahead. The Premium trims can upgrade to the navigation radio with Entune Apps suite.
The new Avalon gets its motivation from the tried-and-true 3.5-liter V6 or new Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder hybrid powerplant – the same system used in the latest Camry Hybrid. The conventional engine churns out a healthy 268 horsepower through a 6-speed automatic gearbox, while the hybrid system sends its 200 horsepower to the front wheels via a gearless continuously variable transmission. To the dismay of those living in the Snow Belt, the Toyota Avalon does not offer all-wheel drive.
268 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 mpg
2.5-liter inline-4 hybrid
200 net hybrid system horsepower
Engine: 156 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
Battery: 199 lb-ft of torque @ 0-1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 40/39 mpg
In an effort to bolster its value quotient, the 2014 Toyota Avalon carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just over $32,000, just $350 more than the 2013 model. The Avalon Hybrid starts right around $36,000, with range-topping Limited models opening closer to $41,000. The Chrysler 300 shares a similar starting price with the Avalon, while the Nissan Maxima, Hyundai Azera and Buick LaCrosse begin in the $33,000 range. Although it offers a shorter list of standard equipment, the Ford Taurus undercuts the Avalon's base price by roughly $3,000. To ensure you get the best deal on your 2014 Toyota Avalon, take a look at KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page. When it comes to the other side of the pricing equation, the 2014 Avalon is expected to retain one of the highest resale values in the segment.
By Miles on Thursday, February 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great looking inside and out"
Cons: "way too much road noise on the highway"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"This is a basic car but it is gorgeous inside and out. My only complaint, and to me it's huge, is there is a lot of road noise that comes into the cabin when you're on the highway. Totally my fault for not taking it on the highway to test it (only around town). I talked to the dealer about it and they said other Avalons were just as noisy when they compared them to mine. My gut tells me that Toyota really skimped on insulation for this car and if that is so, they just lost my business. I went from having a perfect 2004 Camry to what I hoped would be a step up, not two steps down."
By yukon on Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "solid feel and stable ride"
Cons: "hands free mode can be touchy"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"smooth ride, but uninspired. blind spot warning is very vaulable. Not a fan of radar cruise control. Tremendous value. Last avalon lasted 197000 miles and no major problems. Traded in for new model at wifes request."
By Twigster on Sunday, February 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Just what I needed"
Cons: "Nothing worth noting."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my "highway" car. Drove to NEPA Pocono Area with my electronic drums in the trunk. The July shakedown cruise to our yearly SummerJam proved the Avalon's capability. I tend to travel fast (above the speed limit) and got almost 30 MPG while feeling safe and in control. Love the transmission and the steering and despite what MT may say about "steering feedback" I didn't find that a negative since I didn't want a "sports car" or want to "feel the road". Spent almost three weeks driving around the N.E.P.A. area roads that I grew up driving on (I live in Tampa), these are what we call "driving! roads". Again, the car made it a blast - it went everywhere like it owned the road. Giants Despair Hill Climb road or Blue Ridge Parkway @ Shenandoah National Park. Day or night we (friends and family) had a blast just driving around and seeing "the old places". Paddle shifting was precise when used and the stereo performance with my iPod matched. (Sat radio? jury out.) Deer or possum attracted to the new car smell tried to jump aboard but the handling, brakes and headlights defeated them. THIS is just what I need in a car. I don't need to "make a statement" to anyone with the car I drive. I just need a car to carry my drums and wife safely to those people and places we love."
By Bernie on Monday, February 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,800overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "good looks and a sporty ride"
Cons: "Cubbies should be lined to reduce noise frm items"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After a rocky start with headliner issues, which have been corrected, I find the Avalon Ltd. to be a great vehicle with a very satisfactory resale vale. This automobile can compete with Mercedes and BMW in luxury, handling and style. I will definitely buy another one."
By Dan D Dan on Saturday, February 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drives, handles like a much smaller auto..."
Cons: "Some of the shiny trim on the dash needs to go...."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Had gone to the dealer to replace tires on my '09 Camry XLE & this '13 Magnetic Grey Limited was in the showroom & caught my eye. Test drove it & was immediately sold. This car handles great although if you're looking for the previous Avalon's plushy ride, it's definitely not here, it's a firm but solid ride, even quite more firmer than my '09 Camry. The seats are oversized, comfortable & have 3 cooling and 3 heating temperatures, a blessing when the weather turns really cold. The Limited is loaded with x-tras that really enhance the overall experience driving this auto. I like the auto headlight dimmers, Bluetooth, fantastic stereo, GPS, backup camera clear and fast to respond, auto wipers, etc., etc. Safety features such as lane departure warning, backup, side & rear & front impact warnings are spot on (I've tried all the warning systems & they are spot-on. Also, believe it or not, my insurance rate has dropped considerably over the '09 Camry because of all the safety features. Dollar for dollar, this is the best auto you can buy in today's market. I have over 2k miles and am looking forward to many more happy miles."
16 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By tvsteve on Friday, January 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "gas milage, roomy, performance, blind spot monitor"
Cons: "can't think of any"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have been a GM man all my life up until the Government bailed them out. And we lost Pontiac. I decided to try a Toyota Avalon Hybrid. I purchased it in Nov 2013 and have only driven it in winter.and only in town with one trip which I got over 40mpg. With leaving the car run a lot this winter because of brutal cold we have had and as my wife runs into the grocery store I'm still getting over 35mpg and that is checking by the actual gas I use, not the gage that tells you the amount, it is off by about 1 to 2 mpg. I really like this car its roomy and comfortable Memory seats are a plus for two drivers. I really like the sport mode because it makes the car feel like a 6cyl it surprised me when I used it for the first time, I like fast cars any way, so to have a hybrid that accelerate like does is a big plus. Now if you have four adults in the car in sport mode it does not perform like when i'm alone. I chose the Avalon over the Camry because of the trunk room and overall features. Love the blind spot monitors and back up camera. My wife had a hard time backing up a long drive way, now with a backup camera she does it like a pro."
20 people out of 20 found this review helpful