The 2014 Avalon comes in four models: XLE, XLE Premium, XLE Touring, and Limited. There are also three Hybrid models: XLE, XLE Touring, and Limited. The Limited is the premium model in both the regular and Hybrid line-up.
One of the main differences between the two lines is obviously the powertrain. All the regular models have the 3.5L V6 engine with 6-speed automatic transmission, delivering 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm while getting 21 city mpg and 31 highway mpg for a combined 25 mpg.
The hybrid has a 2.5L 4-cylinder hybrid engine, delivering power through an electronically controlled, continuously variable, transmission. The hybrid system powertrain delivers 44/39/40 city/highway/combined estimated mpg. You have to listen very closely because the motor starts so quietly.
The Avalon was quick onto the ramp, passing others with ease while moving into the passing lane without hesitation. Lookswise, the Avalon has a distinguished profile. It stands like an athlete, but weighs in like a lightweight. The Avalon has US engineering and is assembled in Kentucky.
Technology sets Avalon apart with its sleek intelligent controls that are simple to adjust. Entune App Suite gives you access to more information than ever before, and a standard backup camera will help guide you into and out of tights spots. There is a compatible smart phone and multimedia system that helps keep you entertained while giving you information so you can better focus on the driving.
Inside, Avalon is spacious with beautifully stitched leather that feels hand-crafted and luxurious with the smell of rich, high quality, cowhide. You would think you were sitting comfortably at home when in the Avalon. Car controls are close at hand as cabin quietness adds to your relaxed state, allowing you to focus on the drive and the world you are passing through.
The back seat area is a whole new world unto itself. So take your shoes off, wiggle your toes, there is an abundance of seat and floor room. The standard three-zone climate control and heated seats add to the comfort, giving a first class feeling.
The Avalon is a luxury sedan, but with the flavoring of a sports car. Avalon has fully independent suspension that adapts to the road to give you better control. The sport mode increases throttle response and quickens the electric power steering for even more immediacy in the control.
The Avalon Limited has six advanced safety features, and all are also found on the Hybrid Limited. Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert that can see the unseen, backup camera locates the unknown, and 10 standard airbags to protect the driver, front passenger, and backseat folks from frontal and side threats. Even driver and passenger knees are protected with knee airbags. The anti-theft system with engine immobilizer and Safety Connect are included in the Limited Safety Package.
Moulin Rouge Mica paint covered my Avalon while the inside was complemented with black leather trim—all resting on beautiful 18-inch alloy wheels.
The base price for the Avalon Limited is $39,850. Optional equipment with items like dynamic cruise control, automatic high beam, and pre collision system add another $1,750.
Toyota includes a no-cost maintenance plan providing two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. Your Toyota will be covered for all normal factory scheduled service as well as 24/7 roadside assistance.
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or firstname.lastname@example.org.