- Quiet and upscale interior with roomy seating front and rear
- Wide array of optional features
- Above-average fuel economy
- Large trunk
- Ride may be too firm for traditional Avalon shoppers
- All-wheel drive isn't available
When you've got a winning formula, it's typically a good idea to stick with it. And that's pretty much what Toyota has done with the 2017 Avalon. Redesigned back in 2013, this large sedan has received only a few updates in the last four years and otherwise has stayed true as a comfortable, quiet and well-equipped sedan that's just at home commuting as it is eating up endless miles of American highway.
As far as the basics go, the 2017 Toyota Avalon pretty much has them all covered. It offers plenty of room for five adults and a lovely cabin with high-quality materials and very good construction, plus the choice of many available high-tech features. The Avalon is extraordinarily comfortable on the highway and whisper quiet, too. It also handles better than past generations of the car. The ride is definitely firmer than in previous generations, but the Avalon is still remarkably easy to drive. If you're in the market for a big sedan, you'll definitely want to go for a test drive.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2017
Previously optional on the Limited top trim level, Toyota's Safety Sense package is now standard on all Avalons. It includes adaptive cruise control, a lane departure warning and intervention system, forward collision warning, automatic pre-collision braking and automatic high-beam headlight control.
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
There are five trim levels for the 2017 Toyota Avalon: XLE, XLE Plus, XLE Premium, Touring and Limited. The XLE and XLE Plus are base trims, but they provide a lot of equipment for the price such as dual-zone automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control and leather upholstery. The XLE Premium, Touring and Limited are better equipped with extras such as integrated navigation, wireless smartphone charging and even optional ventilated front seats.
As previously mentioned, the XLE is pretty well equipped for a base trim level, and it feels excellently put together. It comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine (268 horsepower, 248 pound-feet of torque), a six-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar support) and a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat.
Electronics features that come standard on the XLE include keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen with Toyota's Entune interface with voice controls, and an eight-speaker audio system. Added for 2017 as standard safety equipment on the XLE is the Safety Sense package, which includes adaptive cruise control, a lane departure warning and intervention system, forward collision warning, automatic pre-collision braking and automatic high-beam headlight control.
If you want to add a sunroof and an auto-dimming rearview mirror to your base XLE, upgrade to the XLE Plus.
The XLE Premium has a few more significant upgrades such as driver-seat memory settings, Qi wireless smartphone charging, integrated navigation, a nine-speaker audio system, smartphone app integration, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
For buyers looking for a bit sportier feel from their Avalon, the Touring trim is probably the right choice. It comes with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, a sport-tuned suspension and unique interior trim.
Even shoppers who've owned or driven an Avalon in the past will likely be impressed by all the equipment that's packed into the Limited trim level. It comes with all the same equipment from the Touring trim (minus the interior accents) plus xenon headlights, auto-dimming side mirrors, automatic wipers, ambient cabin lighting, tri-zone automatic climate control, upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat, an eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated rear seats, a rear power sunshade, Safety Connect and an 11-speaker JBL premium sound system.
A big effort to improve materials quality and modernize the Avalon is obvious. Depending on trim level, soft-touch leather adorns most surfaces, and tasteful styling touches are present throughout.
As with most cars in this class, the Avalon's rear seat is quite roomy. The cavernous trunk offers 16 cubic feet of space, and its wide opening and low liftover height make it easy to load heavy bags. The cabin also offers plenty of small item storage.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
With 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque on tap, the Avalon wastes no time getting up to freeway speed and gets from 0 to 60 mph in a quick 6.4 seconds. Few buyers will gripe about its acceleration.
The Avalon is easy, approachable and eminently drivable. It's as user-friendly as it should be.
The Avalon's powerful 3.5-liter V6, coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission and a well-tuned suspension, makes for a surprisingly fun Avalon.
Compared to the previous Avalon generation, the ride is definitely busier. But with stiffer springs and firmer damping, it is also more controlled. It's a worthwhile trade.
The Avalon manages to be adequately damped to avoid feeling "floaty." Sure, the Avalon isn't as good at dynamic handling maneuvers, but if you're driving this car at the limit of its handling, you're missing the point.