Differences in Toyota Avalon Modelsby Michael G. Sanchez
The Toyota Avalon is a fitting large sedan for the driver who appreciates understatement and subtlety. It delivers much of the comfort, room and high-end features of a dedicated luxury car -- such as a Lexus or Acura -- but without the status-symbol badge. If you're the sort of person who wants an upscale ride but could do without the showier trappings common to the segment, the Avalon might just be a great fit.
Toyota's flagship full-size sedan was all-new for the 2013 model year. It remained essentially unchanged for 2014.
The 2014 Avalon was 195.3 inches long, 72.2 inches wide and 57.5 inches high, and had a 111-inch wheelbase. The front seats provided 37.6 inches of headroom, 58.2 inches of shoulder room, 55.1 inches of hip room and 42.1 inches of legroom. Rear-seat passengers got 37.9 inches of headroom, 57.0 inches of shoulder room, 54.6 inches of hip room and 39.2 inches of legroom. The Avalon's trunk had space for 16.0 cubic feet of cargo.
Drivetrain & Chassis
The big Toyota was available with a choice of two drivetrains: standard and hybrid. The standard car was powered by a 3.5-liter, dual-overhead-cam V-6. The engine produced 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 248 foot-pounds of torque at 4,700 rpm. Power was sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode. Thy hybrid version employed a 2.4-liter, gasoline-powered inline-four paired with a battery-driven electric motor. Together, the two power sources generated a maximum of 200 horsepower. The hybrid Avalon shipped exclusively with a continuously variable transmission. The Avalon rode on a MacPherson strut suspension front and rear. All models came standard with four-wheel ABS, traction control and stability control.
The XLE was the Avalon's base trim level. It came equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, keyless ignition and entry, full power accessories, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated mirrors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an eight-way power driver seat with power lumbar support, a four-way power front passenger seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, a rear-view camera, a 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment display and an eight-speaker stereo system with CD player, auxiliary audio jack and USB-iPod interface.
The XLE Premium trim added an advanced keyless entry feature with rear door and trunk controls, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a remote garage door opener and a sunroof.
Upgrading to XLE Touring brought 18-inch wheels, foglights, paddle shifters, a GPS navigation system, Toyota's Entune smartphone app integration system and a nine-speaker stereo with satellite and HD radio.
The top-of-the-line Limited trim featured xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming side mirrors, rear cross-traffic alerts, a blind-spot monitor, upgraded leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, ambient cabin lighting, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, a rear power sunshade, an upgraded, hard-drive-based GPS navigation system, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment display and an 11-speaker JBL premium sound system. The optional Technology Package added automatic high-beam headlight control, adaptive cruise control and a pre-collision system.
Hybrid Trim Levels
The hybrid Avalon was available in XLE Premium, XLE Touring and Limited trim. Save for drivetrain-specific features, the hybrid version of each trim level offered the same lineup of equipment as its standard, non-hybrid counterpart.
The Avalon turned in respectable fuel economy numbers for a full-size sedan. The standard, gas-powered model was EPA-rated at 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The fuel-sipping hybrid received a 40-39 rating. The 2014 Avalon's starting price ran from $31,590 to $41,400, depending on trim level.