This is not your Grandma’s Avalon. And she’ll be jealous.
The day I test drove the 2019 Toyota Avalon around San Diego I popped into a Lexus dealership for a quick look to answer a curiosity of mine (another story for another day). When I came out there were two sales guys hovering around the Avalon, peering into the window and discussing its appearance.
I tossed them the key and invited them to sit inside, turn it on and look around. They did.
“We’re going to have trouble competing against this,” one admitted, only a little excited for Toyota’s newest renovated model. He was quite impressed and he hadn’t even driven it.
What you see at first glance is impressive. What you get to know after a while is even more impressive: For $42,000 you basically get every luxury Toyota could think to toss into the brand’s largest and most luxe sedan.
Who This Car is For
- Singles, couples or families
- Buyers who want a tech-filled top of the line sedan
- Buyers who love to be the first with a hot new car
- Buyers who love the value and reliability of Toyota
- Drivers who value a hybrid sedan
- Drivers who want a 300 horsepower sedan—and that is a LOT of HP for a value sedan!
- Luxury buyers who prefer to be ‘under the radar’ and not sport a luxury badge on a car
What This Car Costs
- XLE base model: $35,500
- XSE model: $38,000
- Limited model: $41,800
- Touring model: $42,200
- Add a hybrid to any but the Touring model: Add $1,000
10 Reasons the 2019 Toyota Avalon Will Turn Heads
After spending the day tooling around the hills and valleys of San Diego, here are the 10 head-turners in the 2019 Avalon:
- The modern, sculpted look of the Avalon. You can see the Toyota’s new design DNA—which reminds me of its luxury sibling Lexus—in the diamond-cut grille, the wide set headlights and the elegant swoop of the silhouette from the front fender to rear spoiler.
- Take your pick of MPG: A powerful 300 horse power gas engine (with paddle shifters!) or a nicely powered but much more conscientious hybrid model. The hybrid adds about $1,000 to the price of the car. And, both the gas and hybrid models get better gas mileage than previous models. The hybrid gets 4MPG better and the gas engine gets 1 more MPG. And considering these cars are more powerful and bigger than the last generation, that’s a nice accomplishment.
- A USB for every passenger. YES!!! Everyone gets their own USB port. No more begging, bickering or one-upping each other on how almost dead my phone is so I can plug in and then, oh yeah, now you get to listen to my Spotify. Sorry not sorry.
- More active safety and driver assistance features than you can shake a stick at. Almost too many to count. But we’ll try. First, there’s Toyota Safety Sense standard on all models. This includes a pre-collision system, lane departure alert with steering assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams (leave them on high and they adjust when another car, a pedestrian or a highly reflective surface is detected). Then, you can add blind spot monitors with rear cross traffic alert and braking (yes, the car will brake if it detects something in its path!) and a surround view camera.
- Apple Car Play. Yes, worth its own place on this list; just plug in your phone and it is mirrored on the touch screen. Tap and swipe to use YOUR maps, YOUR playlist, listen to YOUR messages.
- Head up display. Once the provenance of high end luxury cars, Toyota thinks you should have speed, navigation and more projected on the windshield in front of you (and really, you should).
- That luscious back seat. Look at all this leg room! This will be the next area of distinction for Uber and Lyft: lots of leg room, heated seats and USB ports. My prediction is that rear seat features will be a strong selling point for used cars for this reason.
- Tons of new connectivity: Connect to your smart watch, to Alexa— for the home or in the car— and to Toyota’s Entune for turn by turn navigation. Oh, and there’s WiFi, too. So you can basically never leave your car.
- Wireless charging. Don’t feel like pulling out the cord to charge your phone (and, USB ports are in the arm rest)? Just pop your wireless-compatible phone onto the Qi charge pad and it charges away. I also loved that the Qi charge pad is tucked under the leather-covered retractable shelf in the cubby under the center console. So when you’re not using it, the space is just another luxe, leather surface.
- The 2019 Avalon delivers a lot more luxe for about the same price as the last model. From premium leather upholstery to many clever details to almost every consideration thought of, Toyota really packed a lot of excitement into the Avalon. And considering a top price of about $42K that’s pretty amazing.
The boys at the Lexus dealership had it right. This car is a contender for buyers looking for a luxury sedan and with the value it presents, might be the best one on the road.
Need More Reasons? Check Out Our Facebook Live Video for an Upclose Look
What We Listened to in the 2019 Toyota Avalon
With a nod to the classics this luxe sedan embodies, we also popped in a few new tunes, too. this is what rocked our drive.
Disclosure: I was Toyota’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.