Toyota Avalon — Loaded with safety, warranty protection

By David Finkelstein

Toyota Motors unveiled its four door, five passenger Avalon flagship automobile as a unique midsize offering to consumers worldwide more than 20 years ago. For 2017, this premium nameplate with class-leading roominess and comfort is showcased with either a hybrid powertrain or a conventional yet powerful V-6 engine.

Its complimentary Toyota Care plan is also included defined as a no cost normal factory scheduled vehicle maintenance program for a period of two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. Toyota Care also covers 24/7 roadside assistance in that time period as well. Their new vehicle warranty is for 36-months, or 36,000 miles. It applies to all componentry other than normal wear items such as tires.

Additionally, it includes a 60-month and/or 60,000 mile powertrain safeguard. The body corrosion protection comes with no mileage limitation. Coverage for hybrid-related components include the nickel-metal-hydride battery pack and it's governing control module plus its electronic inverter is for eight years/100,000 miles.

Avalon is positioned in an exclusive automotive category within the mid size sedan arena. It competes with the likes of the Kia Cadenza, Chevrolet Impala, Hyundai Azera, Buick LaCrosse, Honda Accord and the Nissan Maxima.

Its overall dimensions further suggest that Avalon is Toyota's underlining premium benchmark for style, quietness and comfort.

For '17, engineers raised the bar with overall vehicle safety by adding their “now standard” Toyota Safety Sense system on all versions of Avalon. Previously, it was only offered as an option on their Limited grade. The system includes electronic dynamic radar guided cruise control, pre-collision warning with immediate pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with automatic override steering assist and spontaneous operating automatic on/off high beams.

By electing to include its enterprising and recognized Safety Sense System, it supports Toyota’s commitment to be some four years ahead of the mandated model-year 2022, when industry requirements command on-board safety enhancements. Numerous other Toyota and Lexus models will also be offering these feature as well. Also included are 10 standard airbags, vehicle stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution with braking assist and smart stop brake-override technology.

Avalon’s 3.5-liter, DOHC V6 with Dual VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) produces 268 horsepower. Its nicely matched with a computer controlled 6-speed automatic transmission. This engine displays impresses passing power, plus it has an EPA rating of 24 MPG combined, with city/highway driving.

Driver control input gives the driver the choice of Eco, Normal and Sport driving modes in order to help customize driving characteristics. In Eco Mode for instance, it prioritizes fuel efficiency by balancing driving performance, the air conditioners overall function and the engines fuel efficiency. In the Normal mode, you'll notice the optimal balance of everyday type driving and performance. If you select Sport, the car gets quicker throttle response and enhanced electric power steering feel and it further raises and tweaks transmission shift points.

If you're leaning toward the hybrid version, it features Toyota's renowned Hybrid Synergy Drive system of which combines the output from a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine and a high-torque electric motor. The resulting combined 200 horsepower seamlessly rockets Avalon with commanding and smooth acceleration. The hybrid system can switch between the gas engine and electric motor, or combine the output from both.

The engine channels it's output power to a continuously variable automatic transmission. While in EV Drive mode, it allows the Avalon Hybrid to drive solely on electric power for a short distance, at speeds under 20 mph without the gas engine ever coming into play.

The estimated fuel economy numbers for the hybrid system is rated at 40-mpg combined.

Steering, handling, and breaking is more than adequate for this size automobile as well. With the car's coupe-like profile and ample cabin room, the Avalon interior comes in a choice of three color themes which include; almond, light gray and black. Strategically placed sound-absorbing and sound-insulating materials help form a quiet environment.

High end welcomed amenities and design touches further set the stage in order to define Avalon's interior. The steering column also tilts and telescopes. Elegant smoke chrome trim surrounds the center panel, while glossy trim frames the shifter.

For 2017, Avalon is offered in five versions beginning with the XLE model, up to the high end “fully loaded” Limited. A number of audio choices are also available including their Entune Premium JBL Audio system with built-in satellite Navigation. It uses a 12-channel JBL Synthesis amplifier and 11 JBL speakers, including two subwoofers, and features GreenEdge technology that reduces power draw on the car’s electrical system.

Under the umbrella of pricing, the base Avalon starts out at $33,300. The top end Hybrid Limited has an MSRP of $42,600. The pricing structure doesn't reflect delivery charges of $865.