Competes with: Ford Taurus, Kia Cadenza, Hyundai Azera, Chevrolet Impala Looks like: Toyota turned the grille from a look to a frown
Drivetrain: 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 or 156-hp, 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder hybrid, six-speed automated transmission or two-speed CVT (hybrid), front-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Fall 2015
Toyota Avalon 2016
Toyota wowed crowds when it revealed the past form of its Avalon large sedan at the New York International Auto Show in 2012, turning the big sedan from something frumpy and boring into a classy, emotionally styled cruiser. It's time for an update, so Toyota is trotting out of the refreshed 2016 Avalon during the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, giving the automobile a really, very mild makeover inside and out — good thing the existing model already looks appealing.
Changes are limited to new front- and rear-end styling with a wider and lower front grille, new turn signals and redesigned LED taillights. The changes join updated 17- and wheels that are 18-inch according to which of five V-6 or three Hybrid trims you go searching for. The appearance is the exact same for the XLE, XLE Plus, XLE Premium and Limited trims, only changing whenever you pick the Touring trim, whenever that front grille and bumper are changed by a sportier variation. Additionally a new chrome rear bumper accent that most models now wear.
Inside, all 2016 Avalons now get grey accent stitching with the light gray interior, even though the XLE and XLE Plus trims get new woodgrain dashboard trim, the 7-inch Entune Audio Plus multimedia screen and a tire-specific tire-pressure monitoring system. The XLE Premium grade now adds Entune Premium sound with navigation and Toyota's software suite, as well as Qi wireless charging as standard. Upgrading to the top-of-the-line Limited brings plenty of optional safety equipment, including automated high-beam headlights, radar-based dynamic cruise control, a collision caution system and lane departure alert.
Under the Hood
The powertrains are unchanged through the previous Avalon, with the same 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 as standard, powering the front tires through a six-speed transmission that is automatic. For the fuel-economy minded, the Hybrid variation uses Toyota's Synergy Drive, pairing a 156-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder motor with a drive system that is electric. It employs a continuously that is two-speed transmission as opposed to the six-speed automatic, but still powers just the front wheels. Truly the only mechanical differences for the 2016 model are the change to two available suspension tunes — all models use a new tuned suspension aimed at a far more comfortable ride, nevertheless the Touring trim is sold with a more aggressive suspension upgrade meant to offer a sportier experience that is driving.
The refreshed Avalon should hit dealerships sometime this autumn.