While the competition continues to back away from sedans in favor of SUV and CUV vehicles – Toyota has not. Instead, professing they build better front-wheel drive sedans than anyone, Toyota has doubled down for 2019. Following the success of the all-new 2018 Camry, Toyota is soon to deliver a completely reimagined, reengineered, restyled and feature-rich lineup of their venerable full-size Avalon sedan.
We were privileged this month to be able to test drive the all-new Avalon twice. First at the national media event held on the city streets and roads in-and-near Del Mar California where we got a good ‘everyday’ assessment. That was followed by a day and half on the road track at the Eagles Canyon Raceway in Decatur Texas – competing in the Texas Auto Writers (TAWA) Annual Spring Roundup trials.
At the national media event, the 2019 Avalon was the subject of much favorable comment about Toyota’s re-imagined approach to delivering an advanced full-size sedan that addresses the needs of a broader and more diverse US audience.
At the TAWA event, with more than 50 media attending, those impressions were confirmed as Avalon was voted the 2018 Full-Size Car of Texas and honored with the 2018 Best Interior award. In fact, it came within a hair of winning the coveted 2018 Family Car of Texas trophy.
As for us, after three days behind the wheel of all of the grades and trims, we found – as with the new Camry introduced last year – that the 2019 Avalon (also) is definitely not your parents (or grandparents) sedan any longer.
The 2019 Avalon grade strategy from Toyota is targeted and direct to reach the wider audience. From those targeted new younger generation drivers, to retaining current Avalon owners and attracting active lifestyle older generation drivers – Toyota has crafted an Avalon (including a hybrid) that meets each group’s wants and needs.
At every grade, Avalon is loaded with performance, convenience, premium treatments, technology and driving excitement like no Avalon before. Plus – with much in common across all trims – each is engineered, styled or featured in order to appeal individually to the respective audience.
A distinctively styled Sport grade group focuses on bringing a new younger generation of drivers to Avalon. The Sport grade offers two trims – a new athletic XSE and a classic Touring – both performance tuned for driving excitement and featuring sport style accents like Piano Black grille with sport mesh insert, dual exhaust with quad tips, Piano Black spoiler, sport sound-tuned exhaust, aluminum pedal covers, black painted 19-inch wheels and more.
The Premium grade group (XLE and Limited) targets retention of existing generations of Avalon owners by offering more luxury, comfort and convenient new technology coupled with bolder – but refined – styling and enhanced performance – just right for those not ready to ‘age out’ of the Avalon.
The Hybrid grade is available in XLE HV, XSE HV and Limited HV trims. It is designed to attract active lifestyle drivers of any generation who desire the efficiency and economy of the only hybrid in its segment.
The 2019 Toyota Avalon is all-new from the ground up in every way. Built on the new TNGA-K (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform, Avalon is lower, longer and wider than ever before. A new metal stamping method allows more expressive side sculpting while a longer wheelbase has enabled a longer cabin.
The resulting lean and low muscular profile coupled with tangential vents at the front, a rear spoiler and underbody panel coverage has further lowered its aerodynamic coefficient of drag to 0.27 which improves vehicle dynamics and fuel economy.
New powertrains and Suspension
A revised 3.5L V6 gasoline engine is standard. Delivering 301 horsepower with 267 lb.-ft. of torque and mated to a Direct Shift 8-speed Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission with sequential shift mode and paddle shifters on some trims. Standard performance Drive Mode selections include Eco, Normal and Sport. A more performance focused Sport S and Sport S+ mode is available on Touring.
The 3.5L V6 delivers an estimated 22/31 mpg city/highway and 31 mpg combined fuel economy.
The standard hybrid powertrain is a 215 horsepower (net) combination of a 2.5L 4-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor generator mated to an Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission – also with Sequential Shift Mode that enables manual shifting through six simulated gears. Drive Modes are EV, Eco, Normal and Sport. The Sport Mode enables application of more power for improved acceleration when desired. A second motor generator provides starting power and charges the Nickel-Metal Hydride battery.
Hybrid fuel economy is estimated at 43 to 44 mpg depending on the model.
With its new (individually grade-tuned) Multi-Link Rear Suspension and a Toyota-First Adaptive Variable Suspension (Touring), speed-sensitive Electric Power Steering, Electronically Controlled Braking and wheels from 17-inch to 19-inch – Avalon handling is very much more like you would expect in a sport sedan.
New or first features for Avalon
- All LED Lighting
- Signature LED Vision Tech Lighting System with Dynamic Sequential Turn Signals (Limited and Touring)
- LED Adaptive Cornering Lamps (Limited and Touring)
- Sport S, Sport S+ and Custom (Touring) drive modes
- Four (4) engine sound systems standard or available by grade
- 8-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission (gasoline models)
- 9-inch Color Center Stack Touch Screen display
- 7-inch Driver Multi-Information display
- 19-inch machined finish alloy wheel available (XSE V6 and Touring)
- Electric Parking Brake with Brake Hold
- 10-inch Color Head-Up Display (available)
- Apple CarPlay compatible
- Amazon Alexa enabled
- Qi Wireless Charging (available)
- Five (5) USB Charging Ports all grades (one for each passenger)
- Smartwatch Connectivity w/Entune 3.0 Remote Connect App
- Birds Eye View Camera w/Perimeter Scan (available)
Other Standard or Available Features of Note
- Moonroof (standard or available depending on model)
- Ambient lighting for cupholders, console and door handles (Limited and Touring)
- Dual Zone Climate Control
- Smart Key with Push Button Start
- Premium leather, SofTex or Ultrasuede trimmed seating (depending on model)
- Quilted pattern with two-color stitching on selected seating
- Aluminum, Yamaha-sourced wood or hydrographic accent trims (depending on model)
- Heated/Ventilated seats front and heated rear seats (Limited and Touring)
- Rear seat arm rest with cupholders and space for smart tablet or cellphone
- Entune 3.0 Audio Plus JBL w/ClariFi 14-speaker 1200W power Audio – standard on XLE and XSE
- Entune 3.0 Premium JBL w/ClariFi 14-speaker 1200W power Audio with Dynamic Navigation – standard on Limited and Touring
- Intelligent Clearance Sonar and Rear Cross-Traffic Braking (available Limited and Touring)
- Toyota Safety Sense System P (TSS-P)
- Toyota STAR Safety System
- Hill-Start Assist
- Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
As a member of that active-lifestyle older generation group, we would go with the Sport Grade Avalon Touring. With its Adaptive Variable Suspension providing lightning-fast, continuously variable damping and Drive Mode set to Sport +, we made easy work of multiple test runs on the track at Eagles Canyon. Equipped with the Intake Sound Generator and sport sound tuned exhaust – you could hear us both coming and going. Our kind of ride.
Availability and Pricing
Assembled in Georgetown, Kentucky, the 2019 Avalon (all grades and trims) arrives at dealerships shortly. Base prices for the gasoline models run $35,500 to $42,200. The hybrid models’ prices range from $36,500 to $42,800.
Sign up for updates and learn more about the 2019 Toyota Avalon by visiting: https://www.toyota.com/upcoming-vehicles/avalon/
Read what we had to say about the new generation 2018 Toyota Camry here: http://www.inwheeltime.com/2018-camry-quantum-leap-forward/
Learn more about Texas Auto Writers Association here: https://www.texasautowriters.org/