Competes with: Ford Taurus, Kia Cadenza, Hyundai Azera, Chevrolet Impala Seems like: Toyota turned the grille from a smile to a frown
2016 Toyota Avalon
Drivetrain: 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 or 156-hp, 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder hybrid, six-speed automatic transmission or two-speed CVT (hybrid), front-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Fall 2015
Toyota wowed crowds whenever it revealed the very last form of its Avalon large sedan at the New York International Auto Show in 2012, turning the top sedan from one thing frumpy and boring into a classy, emotionally styled cruiser. It's the perfect time for an update, so Toyota is trotting out of the refreshed 2016 Avalon at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, giving the car a very, very mild makeover inside and out — good thing the present model currently looks appealing.
Changes are restricted to new front- and rear-end styling with a wider and lower front side grille, new change signals and redesigned LED taillights. The changes join updated 17- and wheels that are 18-inch dependent on which of five V-6 or three Hybrid trims you go searching for. The look is the same for the XLE, XLE Plus, XLE Premium and Limited trims, only changing whenever you choose the Touring trim, whenever that front bumper and grille are replaced by a sportier version. There's also a chrome that is new bumper accent that all models now wear.
Inside, all 2016 Avalons now get gray accent stitching with the light gray interior, as the XLE and XLE Plus trims get new woodgrain dashboard trim, the 7-inch Entune Audio Plus multimedia screen and a tire-specific monitoring system that is tire-pressure. The XLE Premium grade now adds Entune Premium audio with navigation and Toyota's app suite, also Qi wireless charging as standard. Upgrading to the top-of-the-line Limited brings a great deal of optional safety equipment, including automated high-beam headlights, radar-based cruise that is dynamic, a collision caution system and lane departure alert.
Under the Hood
The powertrains are unchanged from the previous Avalon, with the exact same 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 as standard, powering the front wheels through a six-speed automated transmission. For the fuel-economy minded, the Hybrid variation makes use of Toyota's Synergy Drive, pairing a 156-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric drive system. It employs a two-speed continuously variable transmission rather than the six-speed automatic, but still capabilities only the front wheels. The actual only real mechanical differences for the 2016 model are the switch to two available suspension tunes — all models use a new tuned suspension aimed at a more comfortable ride, but the Touring trim comes with a more aggressive suspension upgrade designed to provide a sportier experience that is driving.
The refreshed Avalon should strike dealerships sometime this autumn.