Toyota introduced the Avalon to the U.S. market way back in 1995 as its more upscale, full-size sedan slotted between the Camry and more luxurious Lexus brand. It originally rode on a stretched version of the Camry’s platform and even shared its 3.0-liter, V-6 engine. Generational changes in 2000, 2005, and again in 2013 have kept the Avalon fresh with revised looks, interior appointments, and updated drivetrains.
I recently spent a week getting to know a 2014 Avalon in its most well-appointed form. My Limited tester came coated in a really beautiful dark-blue color Toyota calls Parisian Night Pearl. Its interior came awashed in soft-touch, tan leather seats with contrasting Parisian Night Pearl stitching and accent pieces. Equipped with the Technology Package, my Avalon came fitted with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Automatic High Beams, and the Pre Collision System. Also present was Toyota’s innovative Qi Wireless Charging system (pronounced "Chee") that works with like-enabled electronic devices.
Though those were the only two main extra-cost options, the Limited trim package took care of checking the other option boxes in one fell swoop, netting nearly every conceivable amenity desired on modern sedans. Heated and cooled leather seats with 10-way adjustments, moonroof, navigation, HID headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a laundry list of standard safety equipment.
Speaking of safety, the Avalon comes rated with five stars across the board from the NHTSA, except for the driver-side frontal crash, which earned a still-respectable four stars. Its other government ratings aren’t bad either. The EPA rates the Avalon at 21 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined.
The Avalon might not be the most exciting product Toyota builds these days, but it fulfills its intended purpose of passenger comfort very well. Out of all the cars I’ve piloted lately, the Avalon would be my pick for a long-haul roadtrip with the family.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Toyota Avalon