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The 2019 Toyota Avalon trims its sails and heads for more adventurous waters this year. The full-size sedan has sportier looks now, and most of the hardware to match.
The Avalon falls from grace up front. Its big, wide grille is punctuated in sport trims (XSE, Touring) that use a mesh grille that’s too wide, too low—too much. It doesn’t help that the mesh is broken into sections that appear to telegraph where the Lexus ES fits in.
Toyota uses LED headlights across all models. Touring trims get laser-cut units that cut through low light like a disco ball. Around back, the sport trims wear mildly attractive decklid spoilers and progressive LED taillights that somewhat redeem the front. We see a lot of Lexus influences in the back—not that it’s a bad thing. Inside, the Avalon dares with contrasting colors and mixed materials that include real wood trim from musical instrument-maker Yamaha. All lines lead toward the middle of the dash, which is dominated by a 9.0-inch touchscreen sitting atop a pedestal from the center console.
The 2019 Toyota Avalon wraps a new design around familiar powertrains. The full-size sedan is available with V-6 or hybrid propulsion that are mated to automatic transmissions. It’s front-wheel drive only, unlike some of its competitors. Most Avalons will be powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 that has been uprated this year to 301 horsepower shuffled through an 8-speed automatic. The duo nets an EPA-rated 26 mpg combined in XLE trim, which is marginally more efficient than last year’s model. Other trims have larger wheels and lose 1 mpg combined across the board.
The V-6 is strong and pulls the Avalon confidently in highway passes. Sportier trims such as XSE and Limited offer intake sound composers that amp up engine noises, but we’d stop short of calling the Avalon a sports car—it’s just a better feel through the pedal. Most cars will ride atop a standard MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspension that damps out road imperfections well. Base XLE trims ride the softest, XSE and Limited trim levels get stiffer springs or beefier stabilizer bars for better cornering.
This year’s Avalon is marginally larger than last year’s, its wheelbase is 2 inches longer. Rear seat passengers get more than 40 inches of stretch out room, long enough for the lankiest editors. Shoulder room and hip room aren’t an issue either; the Avalon boasts American-sized proportions in every direction. Air vents, two USB ports, and available heated seats mean that rear riders probably have the best perches in the Avalon—that’s not criticism about the accommodations in front, either.
Up front, the seats are supportive and all-day comfortable and power adjustable in base versions. Long legs up front won’t cramp long legs in back, our 6-foot-3 editor had plenty of room to sit behind himself.
The Avalon’s interior ranges from contemporary to borderline brash. Small shifts in Toyota’s color palette push the Avalon past black and beige swatches inside; a cognac leather interior with stipples and quilting in Avalon Limited trim levels echoes a wingtip oxford—if you’re into that sort of thing.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.