2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid – Review and Road Test

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The Avalon is a much larger vehicle than the typical hybrid but the Japanese automaker’s Hybrid Synergy Drive is used on 14 different U.S. models, eight from Toyota and six from Lexus, totaling 40 worldwide. The Avalon can travel very short distances at speeds of 20 mph (32 km/h) or under solely on electric power. The nickel-metal-hydride battery pack slightly reduces trunk space, from 16 cubic feet (61 liters) to 14 (53).

As a result, you’ll probably pull out of your parking spot rather silently on electric power, but it’s a short-lived experience.

Especially when in electric-only mode, the cabin is library quiet. Toyota likes to say “hushed and plush,” and that’s an accurate characterization. Interior appointments are tasteful, the seats give the car a living room-on-wheels feeling while providing excellent support on longer drives, and rear passengers are equally well cared for.

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While handling is entirely predictable, it’s clear from the outset that this is no sports sedan. There’s little in terms of driver engagement, and even less feedback through the steering wheel. It enters and exits corners assuredly albeit at its own pace but makes it clear you should not attempt to push it. It is, however, a competent boulevard cruiser that just happens to trounce almost every other car of its bulk on fuel economy.

In our week with the Avalon, we saw an average of 33.6 mpg (7 l/100 km) with about 70% city driving. While this is short of the EPA rating, it’s still an amazing feat for a vehicle of this size.

Click here to continue to Page 3Specifications and Pricing

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