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Overview: 2021 Toyota Avalon (Snow Video) on Everyman Driver

The Toyota Avalon is a full-size sedan offering tons of space and a relaxing ride. Under its long hood is a powerful V6 engine; the optional hybrid gets up to 43 mpg overall. The massive cabin has the refinement of a luxury car and many user-friendly features; upper trims have leather interiors and heated rear seats. The Avalon’s quiet powertrain and supple suspension help with daily driving, as does a suite of driver safety aids.


Smooth V6 and efficient hybrid engine options; Large, refined cabin with many standard features; Toyota’s reputation for dependable build quality; A legitimate alternative to pricey luxury cars


The sport trims lack real driving excitement; Some rivals have fancier interior features

What’s New: Available all-wheel-drive provide extra grip; XSE Nightshade Edition adds black exterior trim; Avalon Hybrid gets a new lithium-ion battery; Avalon TRD now offers summer tires, more colors

As the Avalon is the largest and most expensive Toyota sedan, it tends to set the style and design trends for smaller cars like the Camry and Corolla. Its spacious interior, padded center console, and high-tech dashboard give the Avalon the feel of an expensive luxury car. The interior fit and finish are better than some much pricier sedans. The Avalon comes exceptionally well-equipped for its starting price, with standard leatherette seats. Leather is included in the Limited and higher trims. Some available features include heated rear seats and active noise cancellation. Interior space is excellent, with abundant room in both rows. Cargo space is also very good, at 16.1 cubic feet.

A nine-inch infotainment screen comes standard, and it makes up the top portion of a smoothly cascading center stack. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and Bluetooth are all included. Upper trims offer wireless smartphone charging, navigation, and a 14-speaker JBL audio system.

Powering the Avalon is Toyota’s tried-and-true 3.5-liter V6 engine that the brand uses in various applications. It’s a quiet and smooth power plant, offering 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive come standard, and the EPA estimates an overall fuel economy of 25 mpg, which is decent for a big car with a strong engine. Paddle shifters are standard on the XSE, Touring, and TRD trims. All-wheel-drive is optional on the XLE and Limited.

The hybrid trims employ a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine paired with an electric motor, which gets its power from a lithium-ion battery located in the rear of the vehicle. Combined, these return 43 mpg. A continuously variable transmission and front-wheel-drive are the only choices here.

The Avalon comes in five trim levels: XLE, XSE, Limited, Touring, and TRD. Front-wheel-drive is standard, and all-wheel-drive is available on the XLE and Limited trims. The XLE, XSE, and Limited can be had as hybrids.

Starting around $36,000, the XLE has a comprehensive list of driver safety aids, including automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keep assist. Other amenities include automatic LED headlights, heated mirrors, leatherette upholstery, power heated front seats, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone climate control, wood trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, an eight-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD Radio, a nine-inch touchscreen with voice command, in-car WiFi, front and rear USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa.

The Hybrid XLE costs $37,000. The XSE trim received a Nightshade Edition makeover for the 2021 model year, which gave the sporty trim gloss-black exterior accents. Starting around $39,500, the XSE Nightshade also has a power sunroof, a garage door opener, metal interior trim, and wireless phone charging. The Hybrid XSE costs a few hundred dollars more.

The Limited, which retails for about $42,500, features a head-up display, memory side mirrors, leather upholstery, heated/cooled front seats, heated rear outboard seats, driver’s seat memory, a heated steering wheel, ambient lighting, a 14-speaker JBL premium audio system, and navigation. Hybrid Limited costs roughly $43,500.

The Touring, for $43,000, adds an active suspension and noise-canceling technology.

The Avalon TRD costs slightly more than the Touring trim, and it’s easily the sportiest choice. It comes with 19-inch matte-black alloy wheels, sporty exterior accents like side aero skirts and a rear diffuser, a sport-tuned suspension, larger front brakes, red brake calipers, unique black synthetic suede seats with red stitching and red seat belts, a TRD cat-back dual exhaust with polished stainless steel tips, and a gloss-black rear spoiler. Summer performance tires are available.

The Toyota Avalon is an excellent choice for drivers who want a sedan roomy enough for four adults or shoppers wanting a premium car’s peace and luxury without the high expense. Toyota’s reputation for reliability also makes the Avalon something of a practical alternative to pricier alternatives with shakier credibility.

The Avalon’s price isn’t the only thing that makes it pragmatic — all-wheel-drive and a hybrid powertrain are both available, though sadly can’t be combined. Some rivals have slightly more interior headroom and glitzier tech, and even the Avalon’s sport trims aren’t that fun to drive. But overall, shoppers looking for a large, quiet sedan that’s easy to live with will be hard-pressed to do better than an Avalon.

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