2019 Toyota Avalon
If there's one word Toyota is trying to avoid with the design of the new Avalon it's 'boring'. With its slim LED headlights, predator-style gullet, and numerous body creases it's clear Toyota appends excitement with grille-to-body ratio. The bigger the better. We say there was a point Toyota should've stopped making larger grilles and that was approximately four years ago.
Besides its new front end, the Avalon has been completely redesigned from the ground up for its 5th generation. 2019 models are hewn from Toyota's New Global Architecture leading to a stiffer chassis, higher quality materials, tighter packaging, and less weight. This means thinner A-pillars for more visibility, extended C-pillar for more rear headroom, and shorter overhang in front (-0.4") and back (-1.0"). The Avalon is also taller by 1-inch, wider by 0.8-inch, longer by 0.7-inch and has a longer wheelbase by 2.0 inches. When placed next to a 2018 Nissan Maxima the 2019 Avalon is 4 inches longer with a longer wheelbase, 0.4 inches narrower, with both having the same height at 56.5 inches tall.
Wheel track is widened by 0.4-inch in the front and 1.5-inch in the rear for increased stability. Improvements to its underbody layout and front vents reduce drag coefficient to 0.27. Suspension is strut front with multi-link rear on all Avalons, though only the Touring trim receives Toyota's first Adaptive Variable Suspension using adaptive dampers to smooth out the ride. XLE, XSE, and Limited make do with thicker stabilizer bars and stiffer springs unless they choose to upgrade.
Power comes from either a 2GR-FKS 3.5-liter V-6 or THS II 2.5-liter inline-four hybrid. The normally aspirated V-6 is carried over from the Camry XSE/XLE V6 so it's normally aspirated and produces 301 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic gearbox running to the front wheels. Hybrid models use a 2.5-liter engine with 650-volt electric motor for 176 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque. Toyota says the battery pack is more compact than the previous model though it still compromises on rear passenger and trunk space. Partially electric Avalons use a CVT with paddle-operated 'shift' support.
Step into the new cockpit and you'll be greeted with a redesigned center console. What used to be a confusing cluster of indistinguishable buttons is now a neat row of indistinguishable buttons. A 9-inch infotainment gesture-controlled touchscreen takes center stage over vents and climate control. Just in front of the gear select lies an 'eBin' with 12-volt socket, 2 USB ports, and Qi wireless phone charging section as standard. The oddly shaped cup-holder to the right of the gear select doubles as a place to put your phone, and Toyota says there's 3 more USB ports inside the center storage.
Drivers can view various bits of information about the car through a standard 7-inch multi-information display between the gauges. A 10-inch full color head-up display is optional which is undoubtedly the largest in the full-size sedan segment. Assist features packaged in the optional Toyota Safety Sense P suite include pre-collision assist, full-speed radar adaptive cruise control, lane departure assist, automatic high beam, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, panoramic view monitor, parking sensors, and rear cross traffic braking.
The interior is lined with a mix of soft-touch materials in addition to leather or perforated Ultrasuede depending on trim. XLE models use fake wood, XSE and Touring use aluminum, and Limited models use real Yamaha-sourced wood lining the dashboard. An optional 14-speaker 1200 watt JBL sound system is available. More luxury can be had with an intake sound generator, exhaust baffle tuning, active noise control, and engine sound enhancement package. Apple CarPlay is another Toyota first and is standard on all models.
If you're interested in showing off the car to your friends, the 2019 Avalon supports Amazon Alexa connectivity for voice-controlled locking/unlocking, temperature settings, remote start, fuel check, and more. Distinguishable aesthetics include black mesh front grille for V-6 models and a horizontal-style grille for hybrids (Pictured above). XLE and XSE models use one set of LED headlights for daytime, low and highbeam while Limited and Touring models feature discrete modules for each function. Higher end LED headlights also include adaptive cornering LEDs that fade in and out when changing lanes or turning with sequentially activing turn signals like the taillights of a Ford Mustang. Toyota says the daytime running lights and parking light use laser ablation for an intricate pattern. We'll have to see past the grille to appreciate these features.
2019 Toyota Avalons will be assembled at the Toyota Manufacturing plant in Georgetown, Kentuky, U.S. Sales are expected to begin late spring, 2018. Price is estimated to run from $34,000 to $42,000 for V-6 models.