Competes with: Chevrolet Impala, Dodge Charger, Nissan Maxima
Looks like: The Avalon saw the Camry's new haircut and went to the same barber
Drivetrain: Gas versions get a 3.5-liter V-6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission; hybrids get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and dual electric motor hybrid system sending power through a continuously variable automatic transmission
Hits dealerships: Late spring 2018
For the 2018 model year, Toyota gave its Camry mid-size sedan an extensive redesign while its larger sibling, the Avalon, had to sit and wait. Well, the wait has ended for the Avalon, and the 2019 model — appearing at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit — arrives with the same treatment the Camry received.
Related: More 2018 Detroit Auto Show Coverage
That means a whole new look, a transition to the Toyota New Global Architecture platform and some new technology tricks up its sleeve that have me clapping. Let's get into the specifics of the cause for applause.
There will be no confusing the 2019 Avalon for any of the previous versions. The styling changes are comprehensive, and the 2019 edition is longer, lower and wider. The old Avalon also had an awkward split between its grille and lower air opening, which the new car fixes by simply joining the two together. Limited and XLE models feature a dark-gray grille with a chrome border (seen on the silver car in the gallery above) while the XSE and Touring have a piano-black mesh grille (seen on the blue car in the gallery above) that's more attention-grabbing.
The sides and rear of the car have been changed up, as well, adding angles and folds in the body work that make the Avalon look a lot more aggressive. I'm not sure how that jibes with the Avalon's most austere appearance and driving experience in previous models, but we can say at the very least that it's more interesting.
New LED headlights with adaptive-cornering LED lamps that activate when the car steers to provide better visibility in that direction are also standard on Limited and Touring models.
The center console ditches its tiered setup for a new vertically oriented panel that sits atop two supporting beams on either side of the shifter. The panel houses climate and multimedia controls, and it effectively splits the dashboard in two.
What's most exciting to us will be the updates to the multimedia system, which features a 9-inch touchscreen. Toyota has also added Apple CarPlay as standard on the Avalon, though Android users are still out of luck. Also new for 2019 is Amazon Alexa-enabled device connectivity, which allows the user to lock and unlock doors, remote start the engine or check fuel levels from any Alexa-enabled device. Charging options are numerous: There are five total USB ports, one for each passenger.
Other interior highlights include a wireless charging pad, available 10-inch head-up display, Wi-Fi hot spot capability and a new cognac-colored leather upholstery on Limited models.
Under the Hood
The 2019 Avalon will have two new powertrains, one a V-6 and the other a hybrid system for the Avalon Hybrid. Toyota has not yet published power figures for either powertrain, but we do know a few details: The 3.5-liter V-6 will be mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that includes paddle shifters and rev-matching on V-6-equipped XSE and Touring models.
The Avalon Hybrid will utilize a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine in combination with a dual electric motor hybrid system, mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission. The battery pack has been moved from the trunk to under the rear seat, which should open up some more cargo room.
Toyota has also introduced a new adaptive variable suspension for Touring models, which adjusts damping forces in real time to limit body roll while also absorbing road imperfections. All Avalons also get a new multilink rear suspension with thicker stabilizer bars and stiffer spring rates in an effort to increase the Avalon's handling prowess.
Toyota Safety Sense P will come standard on the Avalon. This safety system includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and automatic high beams. Also available are blind spot warnings, a surround-view camera system, parking sensors and a rear cross-traffic braking system.
The 2019 Avalon will arrive in dealerships in late spring.
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