Electrons for the win

Toyota recently gave me an opportunity to drive the latest fifth-generation Avalon mid-size sedan, and suffice to say, I was impressed. There’s a lot to like about this “attainable premium” four-door, but the thing that really grabbed me was what happened when I put my foot down while behind the wheel of the hybrid model.

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The Full Story

Test Drive: The 2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Has Some Surprising Punch Exterior
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The V-6 is a fine choice, but the hybrid is definitely the one to get, as it not only returns upwards of 44 mpg, but it also provides a solid torque-fueled “whomp” as soon as you put your foot down.

Take a peek under the hood of the new fifth-gen Toyota Avalon and you’ll find the same powertrain package that’s offered on the latest Toyota Camry. Buyers can get theirs with one of two engine packages, including a new 3.5-liter V-6 gas engine, or a four-cylinder equipped with Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II).

The V-6 is a fine choice, with a decent power band that really gets going at the top of the rev range. However, the hybrid is definitely the one to get, as it not only returns upwards of 44 mpg, but it also provides a solid torque-fueled “whomp” as soon as you put your foot down.

Test Drive: The 2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Has Some Surprising Punch Drivetrain
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Output is rated at just 215 ponies, but you wouldn’t know it from the shove this thing makes as soon as you dig into the throttle

Output is rated at just 215 ponies, but you wouldn’t know it from the shove this thing makes as soon as you dig into the throttle. Those surprisingly sporty characteristics are underlined even further when you put the Avalon into Sport mode, which sharpens the throttle response even more.

Standout features for the hybrid powertrain include a 2.5-liter four-cylinder mated with a 650-volt electric motor. Providing the extra electrons is a nickel-metal hydride battery pack, which is mounted underneath the passenger seat. The powertrain connects to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which actually works well in an application like this. The Sport mode also adds a Sequential Shiftmatic mode for the CVT, but you’re probably better off leaving it in fully auto mode.

Test Drive: The 2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Has Some Surprising Punch Exterior
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Look for the 2019 Toyota Avalon in dealers next month.

After all, the Avalon is more long-distance cruiser than it is canyon-sprinting corner-carver, and the power is really best suited for mid-size sedan stuff like merging and passing on the highway. It’s all quite efficient as well, with mpg boosted by the Auto Glide Control feature, which will help the Avalon coast when appropriate. To sweeten the deal, the whole thing runs off regular 87 octane fuel, which means you aren’t spending those hybrid fuel savings on the premium stuff.

Look for the 2019 Toyota Avalon in dealers next month.

References

Toyota Avalon

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