MSRP: From $34,385
Horsepower: 268 hp
MPG: Up to 21 mpg city/30 highway
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Dimensions: 195” L x 72” W x 58” H
Curb Weight: 3,461 lbs
The 2018 Toyota Avalon is a safe pick. Not only is the full-size sedan a top performer when it comes to safety data, it’s also a purely logical pick: not a lot of style, all substance.
This year, Toyota replaced the “2017” stickers with “2018” stickers. In other words, both models are exactly the same. A new Avalon is on its way for 2019.
We give the Avalon a 7.2 out of 10 on our overall scale. It scores big in safety and comfort, by our books. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Last year, Toyota made standard on the Avalon a raft of safety features that included forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and lane-departure warnings. That should be peace of mind for shoppers looking to frequently fill the Avalon’s roomy confines with multiple passengers.
Toyota makes available two powertrains that stretch time between fuel-pump visits, and one that can make the big cruiser among the most fuel-efficient on the road today.
The base engine is a strong and smooth 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 mated to a 6-speed automatic. The combination nets a 24-mpg combined rating from the EPA, which is on par with its competition.
The optional engine is an inline-4 paired with a battery that makes only 200 hp, but the number to know is 40 mpg combined. In several drives of the Avalon Hybrid, we’ve noted reasonable acceleration and impressive fuel economy.
The Avalon’s ace among full-sizers such as the Chevy Impala, Ford Taurus, and Hyundai Azera is its standard safety features, which partly helps justify its price compared to its rivals. Automakers—if they even offer the same features—typically reserve active safety equipment for top models; Toyota makes them standard on all models of the Avalon, including the base Avalon XLE, which starts at $34,385.
We can’t think of a new car that typifies the land yachts of yesteryear, but the Avalon comes close. It’s big, spacious, comfortable, and quiet, but retains a modicum of control that those 1970s battleships never had.