Ever since its redesign in 2013, the current Toyota Avalon Hybrid has been one of my favorite cars. I request a tester every year, and it’s never failed to disappoint. When a slightly tweaked, “sportier” version of one of my favorite near-luxury sedans debuted last year at the 2016 Auto Show, then, you can bet that I was eager to get my hands on one.
2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid | What’s Changed?
In addition to a number of minor tweaks to the car’s styling, Toyota’s engineers gave the 2016 Toyota Avalon a “retuned suspension for enhanced comfort”. Indeed, the large sedan felt much less “floaty” and boat-like than its MY2015 and MY2014 cousins- but I’m not 100% convinced that was the right way to go considering the amount of gray hair I typically see behind the wheels of these things. That said, I loved the new suspension tuning- even if I could barely distinguish a 2016 Avalon from a 2015 unless they were parked next to each other.
So, those of you wondering if I still believe that the Toyota Avalon Hybrid represents the high water mark of “A-B transportation”, let me answer that: it does. At less than $37,000 for the XLE version, there simply isn’t a nicer, better car out there for less money.
You can check out the official Toyota press release that came out at the car’s launch, below, which highlights most of the changes. If you’re driving around in a 2013-15 version, though, you’ll be hard-pressed to justify picking up a newer one … unless your lease is up. In that case, just keep on paying the Avalon dealer. The lane-departure works well, and you won’t be totally lost learning a new radio.
2016 Toyota Avalon – Chicago Auto Show – Unveiled as all-new in 2012, the fourth-generation Avalon was the first vehicle to meet Toyota President Akio Toyoda’s challenge to create cars that spark people’s emotions. Toyota mixed its legendary Quality, Durability and Reliability (QDR) with a strong dose of emotion through fresh new styling, improved performance, and high-tech features. They proved to be winning ingredients as Avalon quickly grabbed the attention of mid-size premium car buyers in segment leading numbers.
Five distinct grades on the V6 models will give customers a wide array of choice (XLE, XLE Plus, XLE Premium, Limited and Touring). Hybrid customers can choose from three separate grades, adding luxury features and technology options as they move up the chain from XLE Plus to XLE Premium and Limited.
Two unique suspension systems were developed for the 2016 Avalon to better align with diverse customer preferences. One retuned suspension prioritizes a comfortable ride for the XLE through Limited grades. The other, provides a more dynamic and responsive driving experience for the Touring grade. Both of these suspension tunings are new and represent significant improvements over the current production Avalon.
The refreshed 2016 Avalon adds more refinement with an array of styling, performance and technology enhancements.
New features on all Avalon grades will include:
- Wider lower front grille with narrow upper grille design
- Newly-designed turn signals (replacing fog lights)
- Refined LED taillights
- Chrome rear bumper accent
- New gray accent stitching with light gray interior
Additional new standard features on the XLE and XLE Plus grades include:
- Redesigned 17-inch alloy wheels
- 7-inch Entune Audio Plus screen
- Premium woodgrain dash ornamentation
- Tire-specific Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Technology upgrades are added to the Avalon XLE Premium grade as it receives Entune™ Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite and the Qi Wireless Charging as standard equipment.
The performance-tuned Avalon Touring grade adds to its sporty styling with new standard features that include:
- Redesigned 18-inch dark gray painted alloy wheels
- New sporty front fascia
- New LED headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
- Unique “Touring” badge
The top-of-the-line Avalon Limited rounds out the updates with the addition of new 18-inch alloy Super Chrome wheels on gas models, and new 17-inch alloy Super Chrome wheels on the Limited hybrid (also optional on gas Limited). The Limited adds optional advanced safety features including automatic high beam headlights, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Pre-Collision System, and Lane Departure Alert.
Image source: Toyota, via NYD.