Will digital goodies and extra mpg entice buyers to ditch their crossovers?

It’s no secret that the sedan body style is under fire these days, losing ground to the ever-popular SUV and crossover segment year after year. However, Toyota is confident it’ll still move units, ushering in a new fifth generation for its full-size Avalon four-door at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. The big draw this time around is the technology stuffed into the cabin, as well as a new hybrid powertrain under the hood.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story

What About Styling?

Toyota Takes High-Tech Approach With New Avalon Hybrid Exterior
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Right from the off, the new Avalon looks the part of a fresh four-door, packing on new styling cues that definitely help it stand out in a crowd

Right from the off, the new Avalon looks the part of a fresh four-door, packing on new styling cues that definitely help it stand out in a crowd. Regardless of whether or not it actually looks, you know, good, that enormous front grille and those Lexus-esque styling features are definitely head-turners in their own right.

Add in cool stuff like dynamic turn signals and LED lighting front to back, and the high-tech approach can definitely work to the Avalon Hybrid’s advantage here.

What About The Interior?

Toyota Takes High-Tech Approach With New Avalon Hybrid Interior
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Of course, a screen is only as good as the software behind it, and to that end, the Avalon Hybrid has plenty of new stuff, including the Entune 3.0 app suite and Toyota Remote Connect.

Front and center is a standard 10-inch heads-up display, as well as a 7-inch display in the gauge cluster that provides readouts on Hybrid System status, and a variety of complementary screens elsewhere in the cabin. The stand-up display on the center console also looks pretty “techy” if you ask us.

Of course, a screen is only as good as the software behind it, and to that end, the Avalon Hybrid has plenty of new stuff, including the Entune 3.0 app suite and the latest version of Toyota Remote Connect. Basically, these offer a good number of remote services and features, plus app support. The latter also comes with smartwatch support and Amazon Alexa support, with Alexa users getting tons of integrated features with their various connected devices, including those at home.

Toyota Takes High-Tech Approach With New Avalon Hybrid Interior
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Toyota also mentioned that it's throwing in Apple CarPlay smartphone support as standard across the range. This is actually a pretty big deal.

Toyota also mentioned that it’s throwing in Apple CarPlay smartphone support as standard across the range. This is actually a pretty big deal – most of the other automakers are already in on this, and frankly, it’s about time Toyota got in on it as well.

Complementary features include a WiFi hotspot by way of Verizon, and a Qi Wireless Charging system to keep that phone topped off.

There’s also the Toyota Safety Sense suite of technology, which tosses in good stuff like Lane Departure Warning, Steering Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic High-Beams, Pre-Collision Warning with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear-Cross Traffic Alert, and more.

All told, the Avalon gets a sweet bit of kit inside, with everything you’d expect from the segment.

What About Under The Hood?

Toyota Takes High-Tech Approach With New Avalon Hybrid Exterior
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Toyota boasts the Avalon as the “only full hybrid vehicle in the segment,” which makes sense coming from the makers of the Prius.

In addition to a new platform under the skin, the 2019 Avalon also comes with an optional hybrid powertrain under the hood, replacing the standard model’s 3.5-liter V-6 with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and 650-volt electric motor. Power is sent through a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to drive the front wheels.

Toyota boasts the Avalon as the “only full hybrid vehicle in the segment,” which makes sense coming from the makers of the Prius. Standout features include dual VVT-i and VVT-e (basically hybrid-specific variable valve control), D-4S direct injection, and a high 14:1 compression ratio. The hybrid also uses two electric motors to help keep the battery pack topped off, with one of those motors used for power assistance. Providing the electrons is a nickel-metal hydride battery pack, which, if we’re honest, is a bit old school in an age of lithium-ion packs and claims of solid-state batteries.

Regardless, there are still multiple drive modes to make the most of available electron power, plus features like Auto Glide Control, which helps to save fuel by engaging an automatic drive setting that acts like a neutral gear for easy coasting. There’s even a sport mode to dump electric power at a whim, and six simulated gears if you wanna take a more hands-on approach to the CVT, all of which should pair well with the new adaptive suspension components.

Nice, But Is It Techy Enough?

Toyota Takes High-Tech Approach With New Avalon Hybrid Exterior
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While SUVs and crossovers boast enhanced practicality thanks to large storage spaces, tall suspension, and AWD grip, entries in the sedan segment need something to call their own. The technology angle could work well, and the Avalon Hybrid is a good move in that respect. However, will customers respond? We’ll have to see.

References

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 Detroit Auto Show news.

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Read more Toyota news.

Source: Toyota

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