Toyota is no stranger to high efficiency vehicles, having successfully blazed new trails for nearly two decades with its mega-mpg in all its various forms. Rather than resting on its laurels, the automaker has continued to move the efficiency numbers of its models upward as well to appeal to a broader market.
The fifth generation Avalon Hybrid is one such example. Readily identified by its massive grille and large air intakes, the 2019 Avalon Hybrid rides on the latest Toyota New Global Architecture platform shared with the smaller Toyota Camry. Its wheelbase is nearly two inches longer and overall length three inches greater than the previous Avalon model. Avalon Hybrids come in base XLE, sporty XSE, and loaded Limited trims. The XSE has features like steering wheel paddle shifters, sunroof, black honeycomb mesh inserts in the grille. and sport-tuned suspension. The latter includes tweaks to the springs, anti-roll bars, and shocks to enhance performance.
Power is delivered by the automaker’s Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II) that integrates an updated 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine, a pair of electric motors, and a 1.6 kWh nickel-metal-hydride battery pack. One motor assists the engine when maximum power is needed while both feed electrical energy back to the battery during coasting. The Dynamic Force engine is more fuel efficient, runs cleaner, and is more powerful than previous versions. The battery pack now resides beneath the rear seat rather than in the trunk like the previous version, lowering the car’s center of gravity while providing additional trunk room.
The Avalon Hybrid’s continuously variable transmission has six simulated gears that can be shifted by the gearshift, or via steering wheel paddles in the XSE. EPA rates the Avila Hybrid at 43 city and 43 highway mpg, quite impressive for the largest sedan in the Toyota lineup. The combination of the gasoline engine and twin motors produces 215 horsepower, 15 more than the previous version. The Avalon Hybrid has Sport, Normal, and Eco modes, the latter adding power from the hybrid system for improved acceleration.
Smart and connected technologies are a matter of course for the 2019 Avalon. The model comes standard with Toyota’s Entune 3.0 infotainment system using Apple CarPlay displayed on a standard 9.0-inch center screen. It can integrate devices with Alexa-enabled voice connectivity and offers a Wi-Fi hotspot. The instrument panel features a 7.0-inch driver’s display showing vehicle information, navigation instructions, safety information, and alerts.
The Avalon’s standard Toyota Safety Sense P includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and Automatic High Beams. Additional standard safety systems include a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Back Guide Monitor. Also available are a Panoramic View Monitor with Alert and Intelligent Clearance Sonar, which now includes a Rear Cross Traffic Braking system.
All 2019 Avalons have Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes enhanced vehicle stability control, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, anti-lock braking, backup camera, and smart stop technology. A surround-view camera system, front and rear parking sensors, and automatic reverse braking are optional.
The price of entry for the Avalon Hybrid is $36,550, just $1,000 above the price of the standard, conventionally-powered Avalon model.