2013 to Present: Toyota Avalon
The Toyota Avalon is the Japanese automaker's biggest – and perhaps best – sedan. Toyota's top-end sedan is features a variety of niceties that separate it from its high-volume Camry sibling.
The current iteration of the Avalon debuted as a 2013 model, but the exterior design still holds up. It looks contemporary, and it's fair to say that the Avalon handles the way it looks: it's firm on the road and is tight enough in turns or emergency maneuvers to make the driver feel confident, but the ride is not so tight that a long cruise on a highway is a bumpy, jostling mess.
The Avalon comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 268 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. Toyota also offers the Avalon as a hybrid model.
On the inside, the Avalon gets the standard Toyota treatment: simplicity to the point of blandness. Over the years, the Japanese maker has done a nice job of finding ways to make its gauges and dashboards more appealing visually without cluttering it with unnecessary affectations.
The Avalon seats five and offers 16 cubic feet of trunk space. Standard features include a USB port, Bluetooth, a touch-screen audio system, proximity key with push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery and heated, power-adjustable front seats.
Available features include navigation, an upgraded audio system with smartphone app integration, a rearview camera, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats and tri-zone automatic climate control.
Earlier Avalon Models
The Avalon has been around since the mid-1990s. It was introduced to be the flagship for the Toyota line-up and consistently gets the maker's latest innovations first, and often as standard equipment, including a backup camera, vehicle stability control and its dual variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) engine. While earlier models were only slightly larger than the Toyota Camry, the automaker made the Avalon even bigger with the third-generation model (2005-12 Avalon), further differentiating it from its better-selling sibling.