2021 Toyota Avalon Review | Big, but surprisingly luxurious and engaging

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Although the class of full-size sedans continues to shrink, Toyota is aiming to do its best with the Toyota Avalon in 2021. The 2021 Avalon is already one of the top options after its redesign two years ago and it improves with even more variety. As an option, all-wheel drive is added to a range that already includes V6, hybrid and high-performance TRD options. Regardless of the model, the Avalon offers you plenty of space, a surprisingly appealing driving experience, a lot of comfort and a cabin that can compete with that of real luxury brands.
That level of skill is likely not needed in a segment where there are only two real competitors left, the aging Chrysler 300 and the Nissan Maxima, but it's very much to be welcomed. And when ordered in a high trim level, it's a strong argument against larger entry-level luxury sedans like the mechanically related Lexus ES.
2021 Toyota Avalon
What's new for 2021?
The 2021 Avalon receives a number of significant, if not earth-shaking, changes from last year. The biggest problem is the optional all-wheel drive, which is exclusively combined with a new 205 hp four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine. Front-wheel drive vehicles are still available with a V6 with 301 hp or a hybrid powertrain with 215 hp, which will receive a lighter lithium-ion battery for 2021.
Elsewhere, Android Auto isn't just available now, it's standard. There are also two new USB-C ports. Eventually, the XSE trim becomes the XSE nightshade trim. It is characterized by a black trim: grille, mirror, spoiler, badge, window trim, door handles, antenna and 19-inch wheels.
2021 Toyota Avalon
What does Avalon's interior and vehicle technology look like?
The full redesign of the Avalon for 2019 brought a higher quality interior with a distinctly different look and feel than what you find in a Camry. Together, these go a long way in justifying the Avalon's higher price tag. A tall, straight center stack rises from the center console and appears to float away from the rest of the dashboard like a free-standing tower. It's a bit cool and avoids many displeasing the pinned iPad while still benefiting from the reduced visual bulk and increased line of sight that the design allows. The area behind it has an architectural effect, integrates the ventilation slots neatly and shows different materials. Most of the interior materials are made from high-quality plastic, but models with high cladding like the Touring get incredibly soft leather and real, open-pored wood cladding. Equipped, the Avalon feels like a full-fledged luxury car. The TRD now looks quite sporty with its black and red interior. Unfortunately, the seats don't get any extra padding, so the extra cornering ability means you can be prepared to stay in place.
Wide, expansive seats are comfortable for long periods of time and the driving position is perfect for devouring highway miles with ease. The view is fantastic without any major disadvantages. Heated and cooled seats are available depending on which equipment you choose, as is a heated steering wheel.
The aforementioned central tower itself has a switchgear unique to Avalon that maintains Toyota's longstanding fondness for separating the air conditioning system from the infotainment (kudos). The latest Toyota Entune 3.0 system comes standard with a 9-inch touchscreen, WiFi and a selection of USB ports, including two USB-C variants, satellite radio, Amazon Alexa integration, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Toyota has not yet jumped on board the fully digital measuring device cluster game with the Avalon, but it does have a generous 7-inch display that divides the measuring device set. The Limited and Touring each receive a 10-inch head-up display.
2021 Toyota Avalon
How big is the Avalon?
The 2021 Toyota Avalon is pretty big, and that's one of the reasons it's successful. At 195.9 inches in length, it's actually longer than the three-row Highlander. With the length comes an attractive, long hood and a real presence on the road. Rear passengers can spread out with 40.3 inches of legroom, and the trunk has a sizable 16 cubic feet of cargo space. That's good for the segment, but there's no denying that a crossover can provide more cargo space.
With the Avalon Hybrid, there is just as much space for your belongings as the loading volume remains at 16 cu-ft. Earlier hybrid sedans always lost space in the trunk due to the battery. Nice job, Toyota. The trunk shape is also useful so that larger suitcases and bags can easily get into the trunk.
2021 Toyota Avalon
What is the Avalon fuel economy and performance data?
The Toyota Avalon 2021 is equipped as standard with a 3.5-liter V6, an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. This engine produces 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. The fuel economy for the XLE fairing is 26 mpg, while the XSE Nightshade, Limited, TRD and Touring fairings together achieve 25 mpg.
The Avalon hybrid powertrain consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and two electric motors. The combined system output is 215 horsepower, but feels a bit stronger than the numbers suggest. Fuel economy is sensational for a full-size sedan (or any other sedan) as the XLE fairing together hits 44 mpg - the XSE and Limited are both rated for 43 mpg together.
If you choose all-wheel drive, you also get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, but without the electrical parts. It makes 205 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque, which isn't much for a full-size sedan. It gets an eight-speed automatic like the V6 model. Unsurprisingly, the fuel economy figures are between the V6 and the Hybrid at 28 mpg in combo driving.
2021 Toyota Avalon
How does the Avalon drive?
Each of the four equipment variants has a different set-up of the MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension. Handling precision has improved on the XLE and Limited compared to previous Avalons, but comfort remains a priority and the chassis setup makes for a smoother ride. It's still sleek as ever, but now the body movements are well kept in check. The most comfortable variants are the XLE and the Limited, while the XSE has stiffer springs and pendulum rods that make it look a bit sportier. However, all versions are reasonably responsive and responsive while providing a smooth and comfortable ride. The TRD variant feels like a sports car compared to the comfortable standard models, although the driving behavior suffers quite a lot from the fact that it is surprisingly easy to handle.
Similar to the hybrid, the four-cylinder in the all-wheel drive model feels completely sufficient for the large sedan. It also feels pretty nifty thanks to the higher level of soundproofing than the Camry the engine came from. The all-wheel drive does not significantly change the driving characteristics of the front-wheel drive models, but it should support traction in bad weather.
Which Toyota Avalon Reviews can I read?
2021 Toyota Avalon AWD First Drive | Hey why not
Our impressions of the new all-wheel drive Avalon, which also gets a non-hybrid four-cylinder.
2021 Toyota Avalon
2019 Toyota Avalon First Drive Review: A New Hope
Read all about our first impressions of the completely redesigned Toyota Avalon here
2019 Toyota Avalon
2020 Toyota Avalon TRD First Ride Review | Grandpa has a hot date
Don't ask why. Toyota made a TRD version of the Avalon and we drove it like a sports car.
2020 Toyota Avalon TRD
2019 Toyota Avalon vs. Full-Size Sedans: How They Compare on Paper
There aren't many full-size sedans left, but here you can see how the Avalon compares to its contemporaries.
2019 Toyota Avalon and other large sedans
How much will the 2021 Toyota Avalon cost and what features are available?
Prices for the 2021 Toyota Avalon start at $ 37,080, including the target fee of $ 955. The base price goes up to $ 44,355 for a Hybrid Limited so it never hits stratospheric levels.
The basic Avalon is equipped as standard with LED headlights and taillights, heated mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, proximity access and push-button start, leather steering wheel, automatically dimming rear-view mirror, four USB charging ports and two-zone automatic air conditioning and 9-inch touchscreen. It also gets synthetic leather seats with heated front units. The driver's seat can be adjusted in eight directions and the front passenger seat can be manually adjusted in eight directions.
For a full breakdown of the features, specs, and local pricing for each 2020 Avalon trim level, please visit this page here on the Autoblog.
XLE: $ 37,080
XSE Nightshade: $ 40,315
TRD: $ 44,080
Limited: $ 43,380
Touring: $ 43,780
Hybrid XLE: $ 38,055
Hybrid XSE: $ 40,555
Hybrid Limited: $ 44,355
2021 Toyota Avalon
What are the Avalon's safety ratings and driver assistance features?
All Avalons are equipped with Toyota's safety and driver assistance systems as standard. This includes a forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, a lane departure warning, a lane departure warning, a warning of blind spots, a warning of cross traffic at the rear, an adaptive cruise control and an automatic high beam. The Limited can be equipped with emergency braking for cross traffic at the rear.
The Toyota Avalon was awarded the Top Safety Pick + by the Road Safety Insurance Institute last year, but no longer receives the rating. This is not because the 2021 is less secure, but because the IIHS has tightened its requirements for the award. The "bad" rating of the standard LED reflector lights therefore rules out their being recommended by both Top Safety Pick. However, the other reviews for the Avalon are excellent. The optional LED projector headlights received the highest rating of “good” from the IIHS. All versions of the car commendably crashed and scored the highest possible score for accident safety. In addition, the standard accident prevention system received top marks from vehicle to vehicle, as did access to the LATCH child seat anchors. The Avalon also received a five-star rating in government NHTSA tests and performed well in all crash tests. Some of the specific tests (front driver, passenger side and rollover tests) gave four star ratings, but every other crash scenario scored a perfect five stars.
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