6.27.2015

I'd Still Buy The 2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid

2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid front 3/4 view
The 2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid.
Thirteen months ago, I reviewed...okay...raved about...the 2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid. That was after a 470-mile plus journey from Folsom (suburban Sacramento) to Ukiah, up to Mendocino and down Highway 1 to California 116, inland to Santa Rosa and then home all in a four-day weekend.

As luck would have it, Navigator and I had another road trip scheduled for the weekend the 2015 Avalon Hybrid would be with us, though this one was considerably shorter.




Folsom to Carson City and back (source: Google Maps)
To lifelong westerners like ourselves (Navigator's a California girl who's traveled the world but never lived anywhere but the Golden State...I was born here, but moved to Nevada and Arizona before coming home), anything under 120 miles or so is "just down the street", so there was no drama involved about the quick hop through the El Dorado National Forest and the south shore of Lake Tahoe to Nevada's capital, Carson City, for her uncle's 70th birthday party.  And for the Avalon Hybrid, which has a theoretical range of 650 miles, a 224 mile roundtrip was no challenge at all.

The wild card in this particular drive is the change in terrain and conditions.  Every 30 miles or so, you're in a different environment on the same highway (U.S. 50), moving from suburban streets and freeways in Folsom to two-lane winding forest highway not far east of Placerville, after which the gentle foothills become significant leaps in elevation as you approach Echo Summit (elevation 7,382 feet), followed by a rapid 1,150 foot descent into the Lake Tahoe basin.  Then, it's the small but densely populated towns along Tahoe before the final jog to the east, the climb to the top of 7,150 foot Spooner Summit and the ear-popping 2,500 foot descent into Carson City, which happens in just 12 miles.

That's a lot for one car to excel at.  The Avalon Hybrid did. While getting 36.2 miles per gallon.  The EPA estimate is 40 city/39 highway, but few cars will get the estimated mileage with the demands of hill climbs like these.

Rear 3/4 view of 2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid
2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid.
Navigator's family is made up of car and motorcycle people. Serious car and motorcycle people.  As in several race drivers and lovers of fast cars, both stock (there's a Corvette Z06 in one of their garages) and custom (a story to be told later, but he built it himself and wins awards with it).  So, given the vogue among many automotive journalists to write Toyotas off as bland, imagine my surprise at the number of admiring looks and comments the Avalon, in the same shade of red as in the illustrations above, got during our 18 hours on the other side of the Sierra.

Interior view of 2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid
2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid interior. 
And the interior?  Oh man, the interior.  The photo doesn't do it justice.

Our tester was the Limited model. Base price $41,700 (click here for what comes standard) .  Optional equipment on ours?  The technology package (dynamic radar cruise control, automatic high beams, pre-collision system and Qi wireless charging for cell phones (except iPhones like mine) for $1,950...a remote engine starter for $499...carpeted floor mats and a trunk mat for $225 and illuminated door sills for $379.

With $825 delivery processing and handling fee, the bottom line comes to $45,578.  And if I had it, I'd do it in a heartbeat.  The 2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid maintains its place comfortably inside the top half of the TireKicker's Best Cars list on the right hand side of this page.

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