By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.3
In the ever-growing sea of crossover SUVs, it’s nice to see a big, comfortable sedan being offered for those who want and need such a vehicle. With the 2016 Avalon sedan, Toyota has created a car as luxurious as it is practical, offering 5-passenger accommodations, outstanding fuel economy and a reasonable price tag. The Avalon’s sleek styling stands in contrast to the more upright lines of the Chrysler 300 and Ford Taurus, and although both these competitors offer the option of all-wheel drive, neither offers a hybrid powertrain option. The same holds true for the Hyundai Genesis. And, of all these competitors, none can match the Avalon’s record for resale, reliability or owner satisfaction.
KBB Expert Ratings
For 2016, Toyota’s Avalon sedan gains a new XLE Plus grade for gas and hybrid models. There’s also revised front-end styling, two new suspension choices (Touring and non-Touring) and, on the XLE, the addition of Entune with Connected Navigation Scout GPS link. Toyota’s Safety Sense-P is made available on Limited models.
When equipped with the Touring suspension, Toyota’s 2016 Avalon sedan rounds corners and hugs the road with all the fervor of a compact-sports sedan. Firm brakes, communicative steering and a...
... potent V6 go hand in hand with a smooth ride, quiet interior and comfortable seating both front and rear. Step into the Avalon Hybrid and you’ll find a car nearly as quick, although a bit softer over the bumps and somewhat less eager to tackle twisting roads. Features like paddle shifters and a Sport mode might seem like overkill here, but they are now expected at this level, so Toyota gladly obliges. Where the Avalon really excels, however, is in its overall feeling of solidity, comfort and safety. From its multiple driver-assist features to the user-friendly infotainment and navigation controls, the 2016 Toyota Avalon sets the bar high for those attempting to one-up it.
Based on the same technology developed for operating smartphones, the 2016 Avalon’s capacitive-touch switches require only fingertip contact to perform their functions. Replacing switches and buttons means less moving parts and therefore, in theory, fewer things to break down.
Optional on the Limited trim, the Safety Sense-P package bundles an array of driver-assist technologies including automatic high beams, radar-based adaptive cruise control, pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection and lane-departure alert with steering assist.
The new Toyota Avalon sedan 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 $33,500 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. 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 headroom.
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.
Toyota’s full-size Avalon sedan is offered in XLE, XLE Plus, XLE Premium, Touring and Limited trims with hybrid variants available in XLE Premium and Limited. 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. Premium models add a moonroof, Entune audio and the Qi wireless charging, while Touring trims bring navigation and driver’s-seat memory control. 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 2016 Toyota Avalon 4-door sedan offers only a few options. Available exclusively on Limited models, the Safety Sense-P package includes a pre-collision system that prepares the car for impact when it senses a crash about to happen, automatic high beams, lane-departure alert and an adaptive cruise-control system that maintains a pre-selected distance behind the vehicle ahead.
The Avalon sedan for 2016 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 2016 Toyota Avalon carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting right around $33,500. The Avalon Hybrid starts around $37,500, with range-topping Limited models opening closer to $41,500. The Chrysler 300, Nissan Maxima, Hyundai Azera and Buick LaCrosse all share a similar pricing range with the Avalon, give or take a few hundred dollars. Although it offers a shorter list of standard equipment, the Ford Taurus undercuts the Avalon’s base price by roughly $5,000. To ensure you get the best deal on your 2016 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 2016 Avalon is expected to retain one of the highest resale values in the segment.