By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.2
Once the mainstay of the American family, the full-size sedan is now relegated to a smaller market. These ranks seek out a soft, luxurious ride but have no need for the tall ride height or fuel-thirsty appetite of a large crossover SUV. For them, Toyota builds the 2017 Avalon sedan, a proven commodity with a stellar reputation for reliability, performance, safety and fuel efficiency. Larger than the Kia Optima, Ford Fusion and Honda Accord, the Avalon offers limousine-like rear-seat accommodations and, in the 2017 Avalon Hybrid, delivers better fuel economy than some compact cars. And while competitors like the Buick LaCrosse and Chrysler 300 offer the option of all-wheel drive, neither can match the Avalon’s impressive resale or customer loyalty, although Buick is getting close.
If you need room for four adults, a big trunk, a smooth ride and great fuel economy, Toyota’s Avalon sedan for 2017 has them all in abundance. Those seeking a bit more athleticism can opt for the Touring trim that brings 18-inch wheels and a sport-tuned suspension.
KBB Expert Ratings
Toyota’s Safety Sense-P (TSS-P) is made standard on all 2017 Avalon trims. The system includes automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision and braking with pedestrian detection plus lane-departure alert and steering assist.
The Avalon’s competent road manners and velvety-smooth V6 are made all the more attractive when coupled with the Touring trim’s stiffer suspension setup. This big sedan can round corners with...
... confidence yet delivers a smooth ride, excellent braking and communicative steering response. The Avalon’s interior is as roomy and comfortable as some large luxury models, and even tall passengers will find the rear seats to be quite accommodating. Move to the Avalon Hybrid and you’ll find equally impressive acceleration, although the hybrid’s softer suspension feels less inclined to tackle mountain roads with gusto. However, you’ll find no quibbles with the 40-mpg-city fuel-economy figure. The Avalon’s navigation and infotainment systems are logical and easy to use, and the standard driver assists and safety equipment are formidable. Beyond mere numbers, the 2017 Toyota Avalon exudes a sense of solidity and quality, comfort and safety that makes it the envy of the industry.
Using the same technology as your smartphone, the 2017 Toyota Avalon’s capacitive-touch switches need only the touch of your fingertip to set their operation in motion.
The standard Toyota Safety Sense-P suite includes an array of driver-assist features such as pre-collision warning and braking, pedestrian detection, radar-based adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and lane-departure alert with steering assist.
The 2017 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 $34,000 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 for 2017 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 the Safety Sense-P system, 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, the suite of electronic stability aids, and front seats designed to reduce the severity of whiplash-related injuries.
Since the majority of feature content is tied to trim level, the 2017 Toyota Avalon 4-door sedan offers only a few dealer-installed options.
The 2017 Toyota Avalon sedan 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: 21/30 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
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
In an effort to bolster its value quotient, the 2017 Toyota Avalon carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting right around $34,000. The Avalon Hybrid starts right around $38,000, with range-topping Limited models opening closer to $42,000. The Chrysler 300, Nissan Maxima and Hyundai Azera all share a similar pricing range with the Avalon, give or take a few hundred dollars. The new Buick LaCrosse starts about a grand less while the rear-wheel-drive Dodge Charger starts nearly $5,000 less, but has far fewer standard features. To ensure you get the best deal on your 2017 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 2017 Avalon is expected to retain one of the highest resale values in the segment.