Avalon Hybrid Sedan 2015: Excellent styling; great fuel economy
By Kathy Chin Leong
I have been driving this car all over town for nearly a week, and yet, the gas tank needle is still on full. How can this be? When you are driving an Avalon Hybrid four-door, this is how we roll. I barely used one eighth of a tank after five days. Miraculous.
On this 2015 model priced at $41,000, the average fuel economy is about 40 miles per gallon. Over the course of a year you spend aobut $1,300. It features a 17-gallon capacity and uses unleaded regular gas. And it is a large, luxury sedan with high end styling that makes it comfortable in every way possible. I am driving a sleek burgundy red vehicle dubbed in Toyota terms "Ooh La La Rouge Mica" with sun roof, a powerful hybrid 2.5 liter, 16V, 4-cylinder engine, and 7-inch touch screen monitor for GPS navigation and music/audio controls.
The seats are powered, of course, with automatic lumbar, forward backward adjustments, and has up to 10 adjustments for the driver and 8 for the spoiled passenger. A dual sets of air climate controls allow for specific temperature settings driver and passenger, and that also goes for the seat warmers can go hot or cold. (Rear seats can also get heated, too, but not ventilated.) I find these have become typical for luxury cars. Expect to pay a starting base price of $41,700 for this model.
Compared to the Lexus, the handling is a bit sloshy, and it rides boatlike (kind of bouyant) for a very long car, but you do feel secure. I liken it to driving my mother's Cadillac, but the Avalon is quite a bit shorter. It is quiet since it is a hybrid. Still, when I stop at a stop sign and don't hear even an engine whisper, that feels weird. As far a power is concerned, it has terrific pickup and can get up to speed desired speeds quickly.
The dash is elegant with leather trim, and the automatic shift gear is a leather knob so you get that sports car feeling. Clever is the appliance garage in front of the shift control with plug outlets for your electronics hidden under the radio console.
There is a GPS system that features voice recognition. However, we had to repeat things a couple of times in order to get that correct, so it was more of a cute option than an essential one. I could have typed it in faster. Also, when you are speaking into the microphone, no one else should be talking in the car. Imagine a car full of kids all jabbering at once, and you can see how a voice recognition system may not always be practical.
The audio is powered by JBL Audio and has 11 JBL speakers so you can get a full sound system at the press of a button.
A great feature called the dynamic radar cruise control is a fine safety feature on cruise control. Once you get close to another driver in front, the cruise control slows down to adjust the speed accordingly and makes sure you are not too close. It can also accelerate if you are going way too slow. Like other luxury cars, this one has BSM, blind spot monitoring on the side mirrors. When another object gets too close, the mirror has a flickering alert light. Safety features such as a tire pressure warning system is great for those of us who forget to check tire pressure.
On the steering wheel are a multitude of buttons. It is your ultimate command center if you will. Buttons control the Bluetooth phone, your horn, the volume of your radio, radio channels, and probably even more.
Bottom Line: A comfortable big car ride with roomy interior provides a fun jaunt for both driver and all passengers. With added fuel savings, you get the best of both worlds.
Toyota 2015 Avalon Hybrid 4-Door Limited