Toyota’s Avalon premium midsize sedan fits in the small space between the company’s Camry sedan and its Lexus luxury division, possessing Lexus qualities with pricing more closely aligned with Camry.
Avalon is handsome, comfortable and spacious, and it has one of the most muted cabins in all of autodom.
For 2018 the Avalon is a carryover of the 2017 model. There are five trim levels: XLE, XLE Plus, XLE Premium, Touring, and Limited. All five have front-wheel drive and are equipped with a high-spirited 3.5-liter V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission.
Engine output is 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque, regular unleaded gasoline is recommended, and the EPA fuel economy rating is 21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, 24 mpg combined.
Avalon is also available with a hybrid powertrain whose fuel economy rating is 40 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, and 40 mpg combined.
My tester was the Touring model, which I picked up at the Park N Fly airport parking lot in Seatac upon returning from a holiday visit with family. As my airport shuttle approached the valet parking area, I scanned the cars in search of a bland sedan in Appliance White. When the aggressive-looking thing in Sizzling Crimson with dark 18-inch 20-spoke alloy wheels turned out to be my Avalon, my first thought was “That’s an Avalon?”
The Touring model is the Avalon for buyers who like their practicality served with a side of sportiness. With sport-tuned suspension and those great wheels, the Touring trim delivers a more dynamic and responsive driving experience. LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, and unique interior styling are other elements of the Avalon Touring.
To put some perspective on how roomy Avalon’s interior is, rear seat passengers have 39.2 inches of legroom, which is 4.2 inches more than Premium Class seats on Alaska Airlines, which are paradise compared to regular seats in the plane’s main cabin.
To put some perspective on how comfortable Avalon’s seats are, during the test week I also happened to drive a different luxury vehicle priced $20,000 more than the Avalon, and its driver’s seat felt like a Shaker chair in comparison.
Avalon’s trunk space is a generous 16 cubic feet with a wide opening and high floor that make loading and unloading less stressful mentally and physically.
Engine and transmission, handling and braking are all swell, but I’d have enjoyed the steering more if it were a bit tighter, especially since this is the sportier model.
Toyota loads the Avalon Touring with safety, convenience and infotainment features, but even the base model is nicely outfitted. The two priciest options on my tester were illuminated door sills ($379) and a glass breakage sensor ($299).
2018 TOYOTA AVALON TOURING
Base price, including destination charge: $38,795
Price as driven: $39,939
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.