Test Drive Reviews 

2014 Toyota Avalon Limited Test Drive

Never one to come up in conversation, the Toyota Avalon is one of the most overlooked full-size sedans on the market. The Avalon has always been more of the “I’ll consider it sedan” than a “must buy”. I have a feeling though that this will soon change. Thanks to a redesign back in 2013, Toyota has transformed this car from a basic four-door sedan into a well-sculpted automobile that is deserving of accolades from both automotive journalists and the buying public.

2014 Toyota Avalon Limited Specifications

Style4-Door Sedan
Seating Capacity5-Passenger
Price as Tested$42,635
Engine3.5L V6 - 268-hp / 248 lb-ft of Torque
Transmission6-Speed Automatic - Front Wheel Drive
0 to 60 mph6.8-seconds
Curb Weight3,549 lbs.
Fuel Economy21 city / 31 hwy / 24 combined

2014 Toyota Avalon Limited Test Drive

Exterior:

Riding on the same chassis as the Lexus ES350 and sharing many of its underpinnings, this 2014 model is the Avalon fans want. New organic sheet metal, a large and low-set grill and coupe like appearance firmly cement the Avalon as a proper contender amongst its competitors. No longer will onlookers think of this is your Grandfathers grocery getter, but instead they’ll view it as an elegant machine that’s worthy of Toyota’s flagship status.

A mature looking automobile, it’s doubtful that anyone will mistake the Avalon for a sports sedan. That doesn’t mean however that it’s void of sporty subtleties. A lower front fascia with integrated fog lamps, LED daytime running lights, stylish 18-inch alloy wheels and new, widely spaced LED rear taillights all work in conjunction to boost the Avalon’s image. Understated looks help bring the Avalon into a world of refinement and class. Two attributes that I very much like in a car.

Interior:

2014 Toyota Avalon Limited Test DriveThe interior of the 2014 Toyota Avalon is the nicest I’ve seen for a car in this segment. A blend of flowing surfaces and quality materials, the cabin coddles you in luxury and offers up almost every option you could want. At first glance it seems a bit over styled, but after spending some time there you realize that designers not only optimized space, but also spent time on making sure the cabins overall functionality was intuitive and livable.

The dash is clear with no obstructions, the steering wheel is nicely padded, and the center console, while sculpted, features a kick-ass JBL media system, navigation with a 7-inch touch screen AND a wireless Qi charger for your phone – the first I’ve seen in a production automobile.

Double-stitched leather seating provides both heat and cooling up front (heat only for rear passengers), while legroom and interior space is ample for all occupants. Cargo space is a non-issue as well with 15.2 cu ft available in the trunk. This is an interior that I’d have no problem driving coast-to-coast in, as it really is that nice.

Performance:

Stomp the throttle of the 2014 Toyota Avalon and you’ll shoot to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds. Mash the brake pedal and you’ll haul to a stop from 60 in 122-feet. Good numbers for a full-size sedan weighing in at over 3,500 lbs. The 3.5L V6 makes a respectable 268-hp and 248 lb-ft of torque that’s transferred to the front wheels via a smooth shifting 6-speed automatic transmission. For extra fun Toyota has also included steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. Sure they’re somewhat gimmicky, but in the right setting they’re sure to put a smile on your face.

Once under way you can choose between Eco, Normal, or Sport mode (who would’ve thought an Avalon would have Sport mode). As you’d expect, Eco mode produces quicker shifts to optimize fuel economy, where Sport mode stiffens up your steering and produces more pronounced shifting at higher rpms.

Handling characteristics are predictable and inspire confidence, however a sports sedan this is not. The Avalon is better suited to cruising hundreds of miles at a clip while it’s driver is treated to ventilated seats, extremely low interior noise and a great media system. Keep in mind that you’ll also be doing this while getting over 30-mpg hwy.

2014 Toyota Avalon Limited Test Drive

Overall:

Compared to others in its class the 2014 Toyota Avalon is a step above. It offers and interior that can’t be matched, best in class styling and a projected resale value that’s first rate. This is no longer a car that’s relegated to those getting on in years, but rather a first rate, well equipped sedan that other manufactures should take serious notice of.

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