With more and more Americans going the SUV way, one particular configuration of vehicles that have taken the full brunt of this state of affairs is the full-size sedan, what with declining sales, and all of that.
Yet, Toyota has stayed true to its belief that the sedan does have its own niche in the automotive world; the all-new Avalon is a testament to that faith.
Well, this fully rethought 5th-generation model might just turn out to be the answer to the sedan’s woes because, going by first impressions, it appears to be Toyota’s most potent attempt, thus far, to resuscitate the sedan’s fast fading popularity.
For starters, the 2019 Avalon is lower slung, wider and a hell of a lot sleeker than ever before; at least, that’s what the company claims and that’s what we’re going to check out, here.
So, let’s get straight to it.
The first thing that hits you in the face, if you happen to approach the new Avalon from the front, is the overwhelming amount of grillwork – a whole lot of grill to take in all at once, which, honestly, maybe just a little bit of an exaggeration but it does convey the message.
If you look at it long enough, the grill does stand out, giving the car that aggressive touch that’s so much sought for today, particularly by the young generation.
Built into the familiar Toyota logo is the radar sensor for Avalon’s adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, and just below the logo, you have your 360-degree camera.
Also, looking at it from the front again, the promised lowness and width become evident – it’s definitely lower and more spread out than its predecessor.
Of course, the change is the obvious result of Avalon’s switch over to the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform – yes, the ground-hugging wide-bodied look is all because of that platform.
The Toyota LED Vision Tech headlights on this thing, a company standard now, are supposed to be the company’s most advanced in LED technology, which is all very good, but it does lack the dock lights you see on the Corolla, on the lower part of the grill.
The new Avalons are being made available in 17- and 19-inch wheel sizes; the Touring trim we’ve been talking about is the 19-inch-wheel model; but they both look great, especially with that blacked out finish, which certainly adds to that aggressive look that seems to be so much the focus of Toyota, at least as far as this one is concerned.
If you compare it to the previous generation Avalon, the wheelbase has increased by 2 inches on this flagship model and it is about 3 inches longer than the Toyota Camry.
Moving over to the rear, the Avalon looks even more impressive with its blacked out spoiler; LED tail lights with sequential dynamic LED turn signals and the overall sleekness of shape.
The performance-tuned quad exhaust system on the Touring trim gives you that deeper throatier vroom that’s so much liked by young customers; the other trims may not have as sporty a sound.
The 16, or so, cubic feet of space inside the trunk is pretty ample and what’s more is that the hybrid version also boasts the same space now, after Toyota shifted the hybrid batteries from behind the seatback in the trunk to underneath the seat.
Toyota’s smart key access system is going to be a standard on this flagship line; so, the included key fob, which is a pretty useful little gadget, will allow you to lock or unlock the Avalon’s doors, and even start the car, by touch, as long as you have that key fob on your person.
The key fob does not allow any remote start option, though, which is not really an issue, considering the fact that the Toyota Entune app makes that possible through your smartphone or smartwatch.
Inside the Avalon’s Touring trim variant, the new interior color option dubbed Cognac leather; the real wood grain trim; the diamond-shaped quilted stitching in the seats and in the door panels; and the two-tone steering wheel on this trim are all very refreshing, indeed.
However, if you are looking for the red leather interior that Toyota offers on the Camry, you are going to be disappointed because, unfortunately, that’s not an option here – yet.
As soon as you’re settled in the driver’s seat, you’ll get that low planted feel of the car, somewhat similar to the Camry in that respect.
The doors have a nice and solid shut sound to them and the door openings are big enough to allow easy entry and exit.
The center stack inside is pretty impressive, as well, with its 9-inch display, part of the Entune 3.0 system, that allows you Home screen customization and what’s really good here is that Toyota finally decided to include Apple CarPlay in this vehicle.
The decent-sized felt-lined inside of this center console offers good storage and this is where you have your USB ports too.
All four windows respond to a single touch system, which is to be expected; the dashboard gauges look more or less like the Camry’s; the standard size sunroof, featuring in most of the trims, are all worthy of a flagship model.
Toyota has put in some serious work in making this all-new Avalon not only aesthetically appealing but also so much easy to use; all you need to do is get inside and you’ll know what has to be done.
The extra two inches on the wheelbase, compared to the Camry’s, have been put to good use in the second row of the vehicle, giving you ample legroom in the process, despite the hump in the middle that does take up some space.
Also, the materials used in the back are soft-touch plastic, which is really nice.
The rear seats have one-level heating, while most competitors give you two levels, but that can be ignored in favor of the overall experience.
Then you have your 2 USB ports in the back as well; and you have the fold-down armrest between the seats, offering two cup holders in addition to a bit of storage space; overall, a pretty comfortable place to be, especially on long drives.
The powerplant under the Avalon’s hood is the updated 2GR-FKS 3.5L V-6, augmented by Toyota’s D4-S system, which is rated at 301 horsepower – a 33HP jump from the 268HP of its predecessor; certainly makes it the most powerful Avalon, yet.
The 8-speed automatic transmission is an improvement over the six-speed transmission on the earlier Avalon, adding to the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.
The hybrid option, however, has the 2.5 dynamic force engine like the Camry’s and the combined 215 HP is again a 15 HP increase from its previous counterpart.
With the new Avalon, Toyota has made every attempt to shake off that long-standing stigma of being the old man’s car attached to it.
The company did try to address that in the 4th-generation Avalon but did not achieve the level of success that is expected of the 2019 version.
What has really changed the equation this time around is the move over to the TNGA platform; the much-improved driving dynamics, the style and aesthetics, the planted feel, and the adaptable variable suspension, among others, are all testament to that.
The new Avalon starts at $35,500, which is just $2,000 more than the earlier version, while the hybrid model will cost you $1,000, again, not too big an increase from its previous counterpart.