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2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/5/2017

Con: Ride quality might be too firm for traditional Avalon buyers.

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Interior: The Avalon Hybrid's interior is spacious and elegant, with high-quality materials throughout. The front seats are very comfortable and highly adjustable, with plenty of side bolstering and lumbar support for both the driver and the front passenger. As you'd expect for this class of car, the Avalon's rear seats are quite roomy.

All Avalons come standard with Toyota's Entune infotainment system, and the XLE Touring and Limited come standard with additional smartphone app integration and a larger screen. Toyota has also updated Entune for 2015, adding swipe capability, a customizable home screen, voice recognition training and cache radio that can rewind up to 20 minutes.

Storage cubbies provide ample room for drinks and personal effects, and the center console is large. The front section of the center console acts as a convenient "eBin" with power cords passing through a sliding panel for two cell phones and auxiliary and USB connections. This area is also home to the available Qi wireless charging system. Toyota is among the first automakers to offer wireless charging for cell phones. We like its convenience, but it doesn't charge very quickly.

The Hybrid's trunk offers 14 cubic feet of space, which is less than the regular Avalon but still more than what's available from the typical midsize hybrid sedan.

Body: The 2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is offered in XLE Premium, XLE Touring and Limited trim levels.

The XLE Premium comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, a power sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, full power accessories, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar support) and a four-way power front passenger seat. Electronic features include keyless ignition and entry, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera and Toyota's Entune Audio Plus setup that includes a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, voice controls and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface.

The XLE Touring adds foglights, driver memory settings, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite, which includes a 7-inch touchscreen display, nine speakers, a navigation system and smartphone app integration.

The Limited includes all the above plus xenon headlights, auto-dimming side mirrors, automatic wipers, upgraded leather upholstery, a 10-way power driver seat, an eight-way power passenger seat, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, a rear power sunshade, ambient lighting, Toyota's Safety Connect system and an 11-speaker JBL premium sound system. The Limited also offers an optional Technology package with adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlight control, Qi wireless charging and a forward collision warning system.

Driving: The 2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid's 200 hp isn't a whole lot for a big car like this, but for the most part, acceleration is perfectly adequate. The Avalon Hybrid is also exceptionally quiet, though the CVT can cause the engine to drone during acceleration. Otherwise, the Avalon Hybrid is the equal of other hushed large luxury sedans.

This big sedan also feels respectably secure and sure-footed around turns. The brakes can feel grabby under light braking, but that's pretty common for hybrids, and most owners should acclimate to them fairly quickly. In general, the Avalon Hybrid is just plain easy to drive. The ride quality is firmer than Avalons of old, though, so if you're coming out of an older model, make sure you give this new car a thorough test-drive.

What’s New: For 2015, the Toyota Avalon Hybrid gets minor upgrades. All models have the next generation of the brand's Entune infotainment system, while the XLE Touring model adds blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert.

The 2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor that's fed by a trunk-mounted battery pack. Combined, the two power units are good for 200 hp. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) delivers power to the front wheels.

According to EPA estimates, the Avalon Hybrid returns 40 mpg combined (40 city/39 highway). In Edmunds performance testing, an Avalon Hybrid Limited accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds. This is about a second slower than the regular, V6-powered Avalon or most other conventional large sedans, but quite peppy for a hybrid sedan.

Safety: Standard safety features include traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, front and rear seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. The XLE Touring and Limited come with blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Also standard on the Limited is Toyota's Safety Connect service, which includes roadside assistance, stolen vehicle location and automatic collision notification. The Limited's optional Technology package includes a frontal pre-collision warning system.

In Edmunds brake testing, the Avalon Hybrid stopped from 60 mph in 132 feet -- about 5 feet longer than average for the segment.

In government crash tests, the Avalon Hybrid received five out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the otherwise similar non-hybrid Avalon scored a "Good" rating -- the highest possible -- in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, small-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests. The Avalon's seat and head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Pro: Exceptional fuel economy for a large sedan; upscale and quiet interior with roomy seating front and rear; large trunk.

Edmunds Say: With its upscale styling, welcoming cabin and impressive fuel economy, the 2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid earns our respect as a top choice for buyers looking for a fuel-sipping full-size sedan.

Introduction: The leader in the hybrid car segment, Toyota has a total of seven hybrids, ranging from the subcompact Prius C to the full-size Avalon. The Avalon Hybrid debuted in 2013 as part of the Avalon's redesign. It happens to be a leader in the large-sedan segment, too, as nothing else comes close to combining comfort, space and high fuel economy as well as the 2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid.

The mechanical soul of the Avalon Hybrid is its hybrid powertrain. The same system used in the Camry, it features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine teamed with an electric motor to create a total of 200 horsepower. That power is plenty for everyday needs, but the fuel economy is more impressive. Its EPA-estimated combined fuel economy rating is 40 mpg, which is thriftier than the compact Corolla's, and the 17-gallon fuel tank gives it a theoretical range of nearly 700 miles.

Like the standard Avalon, the Avalon Hybrid boasts an attractive look that you might mistake for a European luxury sedan. The interior continues the upscale theme with high-quality materials, plenty of space for passengers and plenty of features. Even a base Avalon comes with keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery and a power driver seat as standard. Moving up to the more expensive versions will get you tech-oriented features like adaptive cruise control and smartphone app integration through Toyota's latest version of its Entune system.

The Avalon Hybrid is pretty much a class of one, too. The only other large sedan to offer a hybrid system is the 2015 Buick LaCrosse. We like the LaCrosse in general, but its hybrid system is nowhere near as efficient as the Avalon's. Beyond that, you might check out midsize hybrids like the 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid, 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid and Toyota's own Camry Hybrid if you want to save a bit of money (or look at the Avalon-based Lexus ES 300h if you want to spend more). But overall we find the Edmunds "B"rated 2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid to be one impressive package.

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