Toyota Avalon Review

It's been a long time since Toyota included an Avalon in the press fleet. Not that I (or many other automotive journalists, most likely) noticed or missed it.

The Avalon has been out there for so long that even with updates and upgrades, it's settled into its own image...that of the Japanese Buick. Toyota made its money and reputation off Baby Boomers, but the Avalon has always seemed like the one they built for our parents.

Well, it's a good thing one finally made it into the press fleet, because if that ever was true, it's not now. Or it's become so good that it's overcome the generational thing. I'm not sure. But the Avalon is a nice ride...larger and roomier than the Camry, but not feeling overstuffed.

You can get the base model for $27,945, but the press car was a Limited...bumping the starting sticker up to $35,285. As you can imagine, that pretty much makes every desirable option standard (6-speed automatic, 18 inch alloy wheels, moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, a 360-watt JBL Synthesis audio system, memory seats and a whole lot more).

The only options on this one were a nav system ($2,000...and you know we'd never do that with our own money...not with TomToms and Garmins for a tenth of the price and most new cell phones coming with GPS apps), 8-way power front seats with adjustable heat settings ($300...maybe if we lived in a cold climate), and floor and trunk mats for $399.

Add the delivery charge and the bottom line is $38,534. Even blowing off the nav and heated seats, you're still over 36. My guess is the smart way would be to take the base model at just under 28 and be really picky with the options. At 32, maybe even 33, this would be tempting.

Five-star crash ratings, four-star rollover and EPA estimated 19 city/28 highway.

Want to see more? Here's the official video Toyota produced for the Avalon in '09: