Satisfaction: The 2015 Toyota Avalon Limited

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Toyota Avalon Limited
The 2015 Toyota Avalon Limited.
In its third year of this generation, the 2015 Toyota Avalon continues to impress.  Last year, I wrote that the Avalon is the modern-day equivalent to the late-1960s Ford LTD or Chevrolet Caprice. Those cars were nine-tenths of what you got when you bought a Lincoln Continental or a Cadillac Sedan or Coupe deVille, but at six-tenths of the price.

Magazine ad for 1967 Chevrolet Caprice
1967 Chevrolet Caprice magazine ad.

Rear 3/4 view of 2015 Toyota Avalon Limited
2015 Toyota Avalon Limited.
A top-of-the-line Avalon Limited like our test vehicle would have been everything a Lexus buyer could ask for, save V8 power, just a few years ago.  And the Avalon's choice of a 3.5-liter V6 makes fill-ups much easier to take, with an EPA fuel economy estimate of 21 city/31 highway.  If that's not enough, there's the 40 mpg city/39 highway Avalon Hybrid, which our Publsher and Executive Editor says he'd buy in a heartbeat, based on a lengthy roadtrip last spring.

Interior view of 2015 Toyota Avalon
2015 Toyota Avalon Limited interior.
The Avalon Limited comes with so much standard equipment (click here) for its base price of $39.980 that there's little more you could ask for. Our test vehicle came with only two option packages, the Technology Package (Dynamic radar cruise control, automatic high beams, pre-collision system and Qi wireless charging---which works with Galaxy and Lumia phones, but not with iPhones, unless you perform some not-recommended-by-Apple modifications) for $1,950 and a 17-inch alloy wheel and tire package for $860.  With $825 delivery processing and handling fee, the as-tested price came to $41,895.

Is it a replacement for a Lexus?  Well, the ES350 is based on the Avalon platform, so they're very comparable, with only a small price increase for the Lexus. The GS350 has a 1.2-inch longer wheelbase (the space between the front and rear wheels), but is shorter overall, and is more powerful, but the one TireKicker drove most recently was $15,000 more as-tested.  And the big Lexus, the LS460, is five inches longer, all of that in the wheelbase, is an inch and a half wider, has 100 more horsepower, but the examples both Michael and I drove last year cost almost exactly double the price of an Avalon Limited.

Yes, there's the status of the Lexus brand, and it is well-earned.  But much of that comes from being a luxury marque with the reliability of Toyota.  For all but status-seekers, the Avalon Limited delivers most of Lexus' luxury and all of Toyota's reliability for a fraction of the price.