A few years ago, I went to the introduction of the last generation Avalon in Phoenix, and the presenter admitted it was often called a Japanese Buick. And he took that as a compliment.
As well he should considering the latest quality surveys on Buick, but it also tells you exactly what to expect from the Avalon. It is a pleasant, smooth, solid, way to get from point A to point B without thinking about it very much. It is a silky sedan for folks who are more interested in the destination than the trip.
And for that duty, the Avalon is very well armed. Based essentially on the Camry, you’d never really know it. The styling isn’t daring, and it isn’t homely. It is sleek and inoffensive.
Inside, you will find a layout that you’d be hard pressed to match in any luxury car, much less the so-called near-luxury segment the Avalon occupies. Comfy leather and semi-authentic fake wood, which looks less fake than most, adorn the interior. That grove of plastic trees that grows near Tokyo has a much better crop this year.
Powering the Avalon is the same 3.5-liter, 268-horsepower V6 it’s had for awhile now. 0-60 comes up in about 6 and a half seconds, which isn’t bad. In the city, you’re going to see around 20 miles to the gallon of precious middle East go-juice. On the highway, nearly 30.
Our super Camry…uh…sorry, our Avalon Limited Edition came in at just under $38,000 clams, but the base model with a few less bells and whistles starts at $33,000.
Now that Buick is becoming a bit more aggressive in both styling and road manners, the Avalon might find even more than the 40,000 customers they expect this year. If you yearn for the softer Buicks of yore, with Toyota workmanship and a touch of Lexus around the edges, this Avalon has your name on it.
In the old days, Jaguar had a slogan…Grace, Space and Pace. That perfectly describes the Toyota Avalon.