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2014 Toyota Avalon

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 10/29/2014 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2014

Toyota added a standard rearview camera and a three-blink turn signal mode to all 2014 Avalons. The Limited trim gains standard ambient lighting on the dash.

Vehicle Summary

The Avalon is Toyota's full-size sedan offering and it is sold in XLE, XLE Premium, XLE Touring, and Limited trims. A conventional gas V-6 engine and a hybrid I-4 powertrain are available, all in sedan form and with front-wheel drive.

Overview

Since its 2013 redesign, the Toyota Avalon sports a new aggressive exterior design that is a huge leap forward from the last generation's ultra-conservative looks. The 3.5-liter V-6 producing 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission and serves as the base powertrain. An Atkinson cycle 2.5-liter I-4 paired to an electric motor is the optional hybrid engine, with a combined output of 200 hp routed through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Fuel economy is notable for hybrid models, which get an EPA rating of 40/39 mpg city/highway while V-6 Avalons achieve 21/31 mpg. Additionally, the large 17-gallon fuel tank means that the car, particularly the hybrid, needs fewer stops on long drives.

On the road, it's clear that comfort and refinement are 2014 Avalon strong suits. V-6 models, in particular, excel at "keeping the cabin library quiet," The chassis improvements Toyota made has made the Avalon a better handling car without sacrificing its key virtues of refinement and comfort. However, over rough surfaces, the suspension crashes slightly and makes the car unsettled. Hybrid models also retain the same level of refinement as the V-6 with the exception of the engine sounding buzzy when worked hard, which detract from the car's otherwise quiet cabin.

Inside, the Avalon's cabin is a pleasant place to spend time in with a modern design that is rich in technology with the availability of Toyota's Entune suite of apps. Additionally, high-quality materials and increased sound deadening means that the car is more sophisticated than before.

The Avalon has a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars) and has scored good in four categories of IIHS testing (good is the highest possible score).

What We Think

The Avalon is a competitive full-size sedan with a modern design, and a refined cabin that make it ideal for long-distance travel. Improvements made on the car's driving dynamics for its 2013 redesign helped keep the Avalon competitive because it addressed the major issues without detracting from the car's overall sophistication. In two 2013 comparison tests, we praised the Avalon for its generous interior and superior build quality, which helped it win against the Hyundai Azera and Nissan Maxima despite the fact that the seats leaned toward the firm side. In the later five-car comparison test, the Avalon placed third, above the Chrysler 300S and Ford Taurus, but below the Chevrolet Impala and Kia Cadenza.

You'll Like

  • Hybrid fuel economy
  • Spacious and refined cabin
  • Ideal for long drives

You Won't Like

  • Hybrid engine can get noisy
  • Suspension crashes slightly over broken pavement
  • Firm seats for a comfort-oriented car

Key Competitors

  • Chevrolet Impala
  • Kia Cadenza
  • Chrysler 300
  • Dodge Charger
  • Hyundai Azera

Sum Up

4 star So far, the Avalon's dramatic, driver-oriented makeover is catching on.

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