By Cars.com EditorsAugust 4, 2010
About the video
Cars.com's Mike Hanley takes a look at the 2011 Toyota Avalon. It competes with the Ford Taurus and Hyundai Azera.
<v Narrator>Cars.com auto review. Hi. I'm Mike Hanley with Cars.com. This is the 2011 Toyota Avalon full-sized sedan. It gets a number of enhancements for the 2011 model year, but the focus is still the same: on comfort, quiet transportation.
The new Avalon still has the long and low profile look of its predecessor, but it gets some styling changes to its front and its rear, including new headlights and taillights. And these lights incorporate an interesting styling cue. Toyota calls them light pipes, and they're LED thin lights that help give the car a distinctive appearance. One of the things that's becoming harder and harder to find in the passenger car segment is a car that delivers a comfortable ride, but the Avalon is one such car. It really just floats along over bumps in the road, really working hard to not disturb passengers inside. So that's really a big plus of this car, if that's what you're looking for. It's powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that gets better fuel economy for 2011. It's rated at 20 miles per gallon in the city and 29 on the highway, which is pretty impressive for a car this big to get that kind of fuel economy. The biggest change for the 2011 Avalon is its all-new interior that really raises the bar for this car. It features premium materials that wouldn't be out of place in Toyota's luxury brand, Lexus. And it comes with an available navigation system that keeps the touchscreen interface that I like a lot. A lot of systems are going to more knob-based controls, but this one gives you easy access through its touchscreen. The car comes standard with leather seats, which don't have a lot of side bolsters, kind of keeping with the comfort theme, and a standard dual-zone automatic climate control system. The theme of comfort continues to the Avalon's backseat. It's just enormous back here. There's tons of room for adults to get comfortable, and it includes a split reclining back rest. So you can put it back, get even more comfy. It's really unparalleled among non-luxury cars. For a large car, the Avalon's trunk actually isn't that big. It measures 14.4 cubic feet, which is notably smaller than what the Ford Taurus and Chevy Impala offer. The trunk's not that tall, and that's partly because there's a full-sized spare tire with an alloy wheel underneath the cargo floor. Now, you remember those reclining seats? Well, that has consequences for cargo space too, because there is a center pass-through, but the seats don't fold down to extend the cargo area. If you're shopping entry-level luxury cars, you should probably include the Avalon in your list because it compares really well with some of them. Take the Lexus ES 350. For similar money, you can get an Avalon that has more interior space, better fuel economy, and just as much luxury. That's a pretty compelling case for this car. (upbeat music) <v Narrator>For more car-related news, go to Cars.com or our blog, KickingTires.net.