Don’t call it a comeback

The sedan segment has taken some pretty big hits over the last few years, regularly losing ground to the ever-popular SUV and crossover body styles. But while overall sales are down, some automakers are sticking it out with fresh new four-doors in the hopes that customers will once again see the light. Toyota is one such automaker, and the latest 2019 Avalon is a great reason to go against the grain.

Continue reading for the full story.

How Does It Look?

2019 Toyota Avalon: First Drive Impressions Exterior
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We’ll take bold and a bit ugly over bland and plain any day of the week.

Whether in person or just in pictures, the latest fifth-generation Avalon’s exterior is dominated by one very obvious design feature - that massive front grille. Dubbed the “Under Priority” design language, the large-grille look has seeped into the majority of Toyota’s lineup, including the more upscale Lexus stable as well, and all told, it’s a divisive issue.

While some are drawn to the sharp angles and bold aesthetic, others find it off-putting and garish. While clearly a matter of opinion, we here at TopSpeedfind it to be pretty over the top. We think the rest of the front fascia looks fine, but the size of that black mesh insert in the nose definitely has us taking one step back.

That said, we definitely prefer a controversial, aggressive look over something that doesn’t take any chances whatsoever. We’ll take bold and a bit ugly over bland and plain any day of the week.

More objectively speaking, the 2019 Avalon changes up the exterior dimensions, measuring in lower, longer, and wider than the outgoing model, all of which helps to increase interior space even more.

2019 Toyota Avalon: First Drive Impressions Exterior
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The 2019 Avalon changes is lower, longer, and wider than the outgoing model

There’s also some fun little details outside that add an extra bit of techno flair, such as Dynamic Auxiliary Turn Signals. All models are also equipped with LED headlights, with higher grades receiving an automatic on/off feature.

Finally, wheel sizing ranges between 17 and 19 inches in diameter.

What’s It Like Inside?

2019 Toyota Avalon: First Drive Impressions Interior
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The design is very attractive, bringing elegance and top-shelf appeal from front the back.

Toyota frames the 2019 Avalon as “Attainable Premium,” which speaks mostly to its redesigned interior and equipment, two areas where this sedan truly shines.

For starters, the design is very attractive, bringing elegance and top-shelf appeal from front the back. The center console sweeps upwards from the central tunnel in a single arc, with wide horizontal lines across the dash adding extra visual width to the aesthetic. The button layout is streamlined and simple, while the lines feel more organic and delicate than you might expect from something at this price point.

What’s more, this large mid-size offers plenty of passenger space, especially in the rear. The seats are also very comfortable, especially when they come with the available ventilation feature. Materials include the available Yamaha wood trim, plus aluminum accents.

On the infotainment front, the Avalon gets Toyota’s latest Entune 3.0 system, which gets its direction from a 9.0-inch screen mounted high on the center console. There’s also a 10-inch heads-up display offered as standard higher in the range, which adds a nice bit of digital goodness for drivers to enjoy

A standard Qi wireless charger keeps your phone topped off, while a special cubby compartment just ahead of the shifter keeps it secure. High-quality entertainment is in play higher in the range thanks to a 14-speaker JBL audio system pumping out 1,200 watts of power, while onboard Wi-Fi keeps you connected.

2019 Toyota Avalon: First Drive Impressions Interior
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Apple CarPlay makes its big Toyota debut this year, which is a pretty important update.

Apple CarPlay makes its big Toyota debut on the mid-size sedan this year, which is a pretty important update for one of the world’s largest automakers. It’s also critical for a model like the Avalon, given the likelihood buyers will be rocking an iPhone in their pocket.

Rounding out the interior spec is the latest safety stuff, which includes the full Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) suite, including a Pre-Collision System, Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and more.

How Does It Drive?

2019 Toyota Avalon: First Drive Impressions Exterior
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The suspension provides just enough feedback when driving spiritedly, all while keeping the comfort factor intact.

Under the skin, the 2019 Avalon is riding on the latest Toyota New Global Architecture platform, which mixes lightness and torsional rigidity in equal amounts for a comfortable, yet connected ride.

Highlights include a fresh multi-link suspension setup in the rear, plus available Adaptive Variable suspension. This latter feature offers both comfortable cruising and a more enthusiastic ride, and we feel it was spot on for a model like this.

Overall, we wouldn’t call it “sporty,” but the experience behind the wheel certainly isn’t gonna put you to sleep. It provides just enough feedback when driving spiritedly, while also keeping the all-important comfort factor intact.

Providing the motivation is a 3.5-liter V-6 making 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. Sending the output to the ground is an eight-speed automatic transmission, which connects to the front wheels exclusively. All-wheel drive is not offered on any trim level.

2019 Toyota Avalon: First Drive Impressions Drivetrain
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While the V-6 is definitely a solid powerplant, we’d recommend the Toyota Hybrid System II powertrain instead.

While the V-6 is definitely a solid powerplant, we’d recommend the Toyota Hybrid System II powertrain instead. Despite it’s green predispositions, the hybrid provides some surprising punch when you put your foot down. The torque feels great for onramps and passing maneuvers, despite the fact the powerplant makes just 215 horsepower from an electrically boosted 2.5-liter four-cylinder and nickel-metal hydride battery. Like the ‘six, the hybrid engine routes all of its power to the front wheels, but it replaces the eight-speed automatic with a CVT. The whole shebang will also return a very impressive 44 mpg.

How Much Does It Cost?

2019 Toyota Avalon: First Drive Impressions Exterior
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The price tag will definitely raise some eyebrows - in a good way, that is.

The 2019 Avalon is considered Toyota’s flagship sedan model, so it makes sense it comes equipped with all those bells and whistles. However, the price tag will definitely raise some eyebrows - in a good way, that is.

The base model XLE V6 trim level starts at $35,500, with the hybrid version starting at $36,500, an up-charge of just $1,000. Higher in the range, you’ll find the XSE ($38,000), Limited ($41,800), and Touring ($42,200), with the hybrid alternatives for the XSE and Limited once again adding just $1,000 to the bottom line. The top-trim Touring is only offered with a V-6 powertrain.

All told, the 2019 Avalon is unquestionably one of the top competitors in its class. Look for it in dealers next month.

References

Toyota Avalon

2019 Toyota Avalon: First Drive Impressions Exterior
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The Adaptive Suspension On The 2019 Toyota Avalon Works Wonders

2019 Toyota Avalon: First Drive Impressions Exterior
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Test Drive: The 2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Has Some Surprising Punch

2019 Toyota Avalon: First Drive Impressions Exterior
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The 2019 Toyota Avalon’s Interior Looks Fantastic

2019 Toyota Avalon: First Drive Impressions Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Toyota Avalon.

2016 Toyota Avalon High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota Avalon

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Read more Toyota news.

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