2018 Toyota Avalon

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$33,500–$41,300 MSRP range
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2018 Toyota Avalon. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Supportive front seats
  • Power
  • Low wind noise at highway speeds
  • Ride quality
  • Roomy backseat

The Bad

  • Backseat doesn't fold down
  • Touch-sensitive controls
  • Control layout
  • Interior materials and design
  • Trunk space
  • Price
2018 Toyota Avalon exterior side view

Notable Features of the 2018 Toyota Avalon

  • Standard active safety features
  • Five-seat full-size sedan
  • V-6 engine standard
  • Hybrid version available
  • Front-wheel drive

2018 Toyota Avalon Road Test

Jennifer Geiger
Versus The Competition:

The Avalon scores big with its standard safety features, but it falls short of many large-car competitors due to its high price, small trunk and maddening multimedia system.

Toyota last updated its largest sedan for 2016, then added more standard safety features in 2017. For 2018, the Avalon carries over unchanged, but it's being redesigned as an all-new 2019 model. That one will go on sale within a few months with a bold new look, a more modern multimedia system and a fresh cabin design. Trim levels on the 2018 model are: Toyota Avalon XLE, Toyota Avalon XLE Plus, Toyota XLE Premium, Toyota Avalon Touring and the Toyota Avalon Limited. For this year, the 2017 XLE Touring is simply the Avalon Touring.  

A step up in size from the midsize Camry, the Avalon competes against other big sedans like the Ford Taurus, Volkswagen Passat and Chevrolet Impala. See them compared.

Smooth Cruiser

Large cars aren't exciting or agile, and while the Toyota Avalon is predictably neither, it is composed in road manners and confident in power. The standard 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission are a solid match, providing smooth, no-drama acceleration in the city and on the highway; it even felt quick at times. An Avalon hybrid model, which pairs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor for a total of 156 hp, is also available.

The Avalon is EPA-rated at 21/30/24 mpg city/highway/combined, ahead of base V-6 versions of the Taurus (18/27/21), Impala (19/28/22) and Passat (19/28/22). An Eco mode benefits fuel economy and dulls accelerator responsiveness, but not annoyingly so. Sport mode peps it up, though not eno...

Toyota last updated its largest sedan for 2016, then added more standard safety features in 2017. For 2018, the Avalon carries over unchanged, but it's being redesigned as an all-new 2019 model. That one will go on sale within a few months with a bold new look, a more modern multimedia system and a fresh cabin design. Trim levels on the 2018 model are: Toyota Avalon XLE, Toyota Avalon XLE Plus, Toyota XLE Premium, Toyota Avalon Touring and the Toyota Avalon Limited. For this year, the 2017 XLE Touring is simply the Avalon Touring.  

A step up in size from the midsize Camry, the Avalon competes against other big sedans like the Ford Taurus, Volkswagen Passat and Chevrolet Impala. See them compared.

Smooth Cruiser

Large cars aren't exciting or agile, and while the Toyota Avalon is predictably neither, it is composed in road manners and confident in power. The standard 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission are a solid match, providing smooth, no-drama acceleration in the city and on the highway; it even felt quick at times. An Avalon hybrid model, which pairs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor for a total of 156 hp, is also available.

The Avalon is EPA-rated at 21/30/24 mpg city/highway/combined, ahead of base V-6 versions of the Taurus (18/27/21), Impala (19/28/22) and Passat (19/28/22). An Eco mode benefits fuel economy and dulls accelerator responsiveness, but not annoyingly so. Sport mode peps it up, though not enough to move the fun needle.

As a smallish person, driving a big vehicle can feel like a chore, but the Avalon is more maneuverable than its long length suggests. Overall, its road manners are suited for the long haul thanks to comfortably weighted, natural-feeling steering and decent bump absorption; its engine and road noise are also suitably hushed.

Room for Improvement

The cabin both delights and annoys. The leather upholstery and other surfaces with contrast stitching got me — everything looks and feels high-quality. The seats themselves are supportive and comfortable, and there's ample padding in many places, like the center armrest.

The rest of it needs work. The woodgrain trim looks as phony as it is, and some areas lack sufficient padding, like the door armrests. I'm not too keen on the cabin's layered design, either; it's busy, with too many shapes, patterns and materials competing for eyeballs. The 2019 model looks to have a less cluttered, more streamlined interior design.

The lack of continuity carries over to the multimedia system, too. The control panel looks like the inside of my head after grad school orientation; all the working pieces are there, but they need to be better corralled and displayed to make cohesive sense. The controls are oddly mismatched and a lot to take in, both visually and tangibly. It's a strange concoction of physical buttons, touch-sensitive panels and a standard 7-inch touchscreen.

For 2019, Toyota went back to the high-tech drawing board with the multimedia system. Overall, it has a cleaner, more minimalistic design with a larger touchscreen that appears to float in front of the dashboard. Bonus: The 9-inch screen is flanked by mechanical buttons and rotary knobs.

In the 2018 model, once you figure out what type of doohickey controls which function, using the multimedia system for audio and navigation is easy thanks to a no-nonsense menu structure and responsive touchscreen. Changing the audio presets and inputting navigation destinations, for example, took just seconds.

The 2018 system still annoys in a few ways, however. First, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are unavailable. Toyota has been among the few automotive holdouts when it comes to these smartphone connectivity systems. Thankfully, this is another problem partially remedied going forward, as CarPlay is standard on the 2019 Toyota Avalon — though Android users like myself will still be out of luck. Also new for 2019 is Amazon Alexa-enabled device connectivity, which allows users to lock and unlock doors, remote start the engine or check fuel levels from any Alexa-enabled device.

Second, the dual-zone climate controls below the 2018's multimedia screen are a failure, especially if you're wearing gloves. The touch-sensitive panels that control fan speed and temperature settings are not very responsive, often requiring two or three touches to activate, and they don't work at all with gloves on. It's clear why the 2019 reverts to conventional push buttons.

Below the climate controls is a small storage space covered by a sliding tray that doubles as a wireless charging pad; it's standard on mid-level and top trims. To activate it, press the wireless charger switch and place your compatible mobile device on the tray. An amber light means charging is in progress; a green one means charging is complete. It's a neat feature, but my smartphone wasn't compatible. One editor who tried it with two compatible phones said larger modern phones are too big to settle into the tray and activate charging.

Big Backseat, Small Trunk

Rear-seat headroom and legroom are competitive, and two adults fit easily and comfortably on the wide, bolstered backseat. There's seating for three passengers back there, but the middle spot is narrow. In our Car Seat Check, two child-safety seats also fit in back, and three seats might fit if yours are narrower than ours. (The Taurus fits three car seats more comfortably thanks to its flatter, less bolstered backseat cushions.)

Rear passengers can also be treated to a bevy of creature comforts, such as heated leather seats, climate controls of their own and a power rear window sunshade, all of which are standard on the top Limited trim.

I fit a full grocery run for my family of five with room to spare in the trunk, but competitors do offer more space. The Toyota  Avalon's trunk has 16.0 cubic feet of volume, less than the Impala (18.8) and the Taurus (20.1); the Passat comes in with a similar 15.9 cubic feet of space. What's disappointing is that the Avalon's seats don't fold for more storage space, unlike all three competitors' rear seats.

The Toyota Avalon does better in terms of small-items storage, however. The center console storage box is deep and has a flexible divider to organize the space. Hidden under the wireless charging tray is a wide storage cubby with an auxiliary audio input, USB port and 12-volt outlet.

Safety

The 2018 Toyota Avalon earned top crash-test scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a five-star overall crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  

The Toyota Avalon's safety features impress. The Toyota Safety Sense P suite of safety systems is standard on all trim levels. It includes forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and prevention, automatic high-beam headlights and adaptive cruise control. A blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert system are standard on all but the lowest two trims.

Value

The front-wheel-drive Toyota Avalon offers an appealing list of standard features, like the aforementioned safety features, leather upholstery and heated front seats, but its price still seems high. It starts at $34,395, well above a base Impala ($28,770) or Passat ($23,845) — both of which come standard with four-cylinder engines — and even above a Taurus ($28,470), which comes with a V-6; all prices include destination. In uplevel Limited trim, the Avalon is even more expensive than the base version of its luxury sedan counterpart, the Lexus ES 350.

When you add it all up, it's tough to make a case for the 2018 Toyota Avalon, but next year's model looks promising — and next year is almost here.

Cars.com's Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.


Latest 2018 Avalon Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(5.0)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Quiet, smooth ride

by AnneS from Baton Rouge on June 8, 2018

Quiet, comfortable ride. Great gas mileage; tons of safety and smart car features. Definitely a keeper! Will be a great car for my stepdaughter when she starts driving next year. Read full review

(5.0)

very comfortable and quiet

by Lee from Niles, MI on June 5, 2018

Like it very much. Great comfort and performance. Good gas mileage for the size car. Many convenient and useful features. Excellent service from dealership. Unique color. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2018 Toyota Avalon currently has 0 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2018 Toyota Avalon XLE

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
acceptable

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Headlights

Overall Rating
acceptable

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
acceptable
Structure and Safety Cage
good
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    24 months / unlimited distance

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Toyota

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance, trip-interruption services, Carfax vehicle history report, travel protection and toll-free assistance line

  • Limited Warranty

    1 year / 12,000 miles

    Comprehensive: 12 months/12,000 miles from date of purchase. Powertrain: 7 years/100,000 miles from original in-service date ($50 deductible) Note: In AL, FL, GA, NC and SC, 7-year/100,000 mile limited warranty coverage begins Jan. 1 of the vehicle's model year and zero (0) odometer miles and expires at the earlier of seven years or 100,000 odometer miles. Hybrid: 8-year/100,000 mile warranty on Factory HV Battery for Toyota Hybrid Vehicles.
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 85,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 160 point inspection and reconditioning.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Avalon received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Latch or Latch system

B

Infant seat

B

Booster

(second row)

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker