TodayApril 15, 2022

2019 Toyota Avalon first drive new car review

An Avalon for all generations

Jill had a third generation Toyota Avalon. Jill drove that car to its death she loved it so much. She said it was as nice a ride as a Lexus, but less expensive. Jill is one of the reasons the Toyota Avalon is known as the poor man’s Lexus. Jill has more than enough money to buy a Lexus, but being the consummate consumer she is, she decided on the Avalon.

How does Toyota get those same people to buy an Avalon when sales of sedans are going down? Jill was an anomaly, only 30-something years old when she bought the car that is typically purchased by people in their sixties. It’s going to be a struggle, but if you like high tech and luxury at a reasonable price, this is the car for you.

Toyota’s strategy has been to introduce a hybrid powertrain along with a gasoline version. For the 2019 Avalon Toyota brought out the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform with a V-6 engine with double overhead cams, 24-valves and dual fuel injection mated to an eight-speed transmission, which produces 301 horsepower and 267 foot-pounds of torque.

The Avalon with the V6 accelerates smoothly, but during my test drive of both machines, I found the Toyota Hybrid System (THS II) powertrain to be my choice. The Avalon hybrid pulled through the low-end torque up to the speed limit in seconds. If you are a hypermiler or just a geek, get the hybrid, and you receive the same central 7-inch screen, but to its left is a Hybrid System Indicator showing the vehicle’s regeneration status in real time in CHG (charge), ECO (economy), or PWR (power).

There is only $1,000 difference between the gas version and hybrid.

2019 Toyota Avalon gasoline

2019 Toyota Avalon gasoline

Pricing and fuel economy for the 2019 Toyota Avalon gasoline

Touring $42,200 XSE V6, Limited V6, Touring V6 22/31/25 mpg
Limited $41,800
XSE $38,000
XLE $35,500 XLE V6 22/32/26 mpg $2,100

Pricing for the 2019 Toyota Avalon hybrid

Touring not available
Limited $42,800 XSE hybrid version, Limited hybrid version 43/43/43 mpg
XSE $39,000
XLE $36,500 XLE hybrid version 43/44/44 mpg $1,193

If a person drives 15,000 miles a year, using the combined mileage figure for gasoline (26) and the hybrid version (44) you will almost have paid for the hybrid price difference in a year.

Toyota refreshed the 2019 Avalon interior and exterior of the 5-door sedan. Car companies are creating sounds and quieting noises through technology. Through the JBL multimedia system’s in-cabin speakers Avalon’s engine sound is enhanced. Found on the Sport+ is a new exhaust system with sport modified baffles, an Intake Sound Generator (ISG), Active Noise Control (ANC), and Engine Sound Enhancement (ESE).

ISG amplifies the engine’s air inhalation while ANC and ESE cancel unwanted exterior noise. Exceptional engine notes at start-up are also enhanced; a hearty “flare” of sound occurs right before idle upon start-up. At wide-open-throttle acceleration, more engine grunt is heard throughout the rev range.

JBL does more

JBL does more

JBL does more; it creates a sound above the Avalon class level, one that is usually heard in a higher-priced premium large sedan segment. Inside the 2019 Avalon is a 14-speaker with a Class-D HID12 amplifier that pumps 1200-watt, precisely-tuned 7.1-channel surround sound that leverages the benefits of a robust TNGA structure and utilizes the top in hardware, structural engineering, and software technology. Look for the four 1-inch freestanding JB Horn Tweeters that control the direction of sound waves. JBL’s software, Clari-Fi, can rebuild audio signals that can be lost during digital compression. Also standard on the 2019 Toyota Avalon is the Entune 3.0 with Wi-Fi Connect, Toyota Remote Connect with Smartwatch and Amazon Alexa Connectivity, and Apple CarPlay Compatibility.

The exterior styling of the 2019 Avalon continues its solid lines and adds a new contemporary cutting edge in its fascia, just as Lexus has changed its grille. The interior of the Avalon shines in the warmth of wood and soft-touch materials in warm colors. The steering wheel, instrument panel, and center console keep the intuitive and easy to reach buttons.

Toyota refreshed the 2019 Avalon interior and exterior of the 5-door sedan

Toyota refreshed the 2019 Avalon interior and exterior of the 5-door sedan

In keeping with the competition, Toyota has implemented what they are calling the Toyota Safety Sense system. You have been warned, and witnessed, that these safety systems are not meant for you to let go of the wheel, they are not autonomous driving. TSS includes forward collision warning and protection, a dynamic cruise control, automatic high beams as well as blind spot detections and a system to alert a driver of oncoming traffic when they are backing out of a parking space.

Competitors such as the Lexus ES Series, Buick Lacrosse, Nissan Maxima and the Chrysler 300 are in the same boat as the Avalon and all cars as we see a switch to SUVs and CUVs. Toyota has continued to upgrade their sedans and is preparing many of them for a variant of electrification in keeping with the global economy of customers they serve. Toyota will have entry-level vehicles ready for their customers and sedans to purchase when that entry-level consumer is looking for another Toyota. The Avalon has long been known as the poor Man’s Lexus, but it is a significant step in the loyalty ladder and an easy ride.

2019 Toyota Avalon

2019 Toyota Avalon

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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