The all-new 2019 Toyota Avalon goes on sale later this year, but before that happens, we get one last crack at the current model in hybrid form. Since it was introduced in 1994, the Avalon has stood as a buffer between the Toyota Camry and Lexus ES with more size and content than the Toyota but a little less price and luxury than the Lexus.
As unique as the Avalon is positioned in the Toyota family, it is also hard to nail down any apples-to-apples competition for the 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid. The Avalon best competes with cars like the Buick LaCrosse, Kia Cadenza and Chevrolet Impala, but if you’re looking for a spacious and affordable hybrid luxury sedan, you’re probably going to have to cross shop hybrid versions of the Lincoln MKZ and Acura RLX. Making more of an argument for these latter upscale rivals, the 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid we spent a week with was decked out in the top-of-the-line Limited trim level.
2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Exterior
Introduced for the 2013 model year, the styling of the current 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid has aged remarkably well, which was aided by a mild facelift in 2016. The Avalon has always been a conservatively styled sedan, but the lines of this generation have a modern and stylish look especially when it comes to the long roofline and short decklid. Like other Toyota hybrids, the only visual cues distinguishing the 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid from its non-hybrid counterpart are the blue Toyota logos and subtle badging on the doors and decklid
The Limited trim levels adds HID headlights with LED daytime running lights, body-color door mirrors with puddle lights, 17-inch alloy wheels and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Finishing off the stylish look, this tester came in the comically named Ooh La La Rouge Mica paint hue.
2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Interior
The current Camry may have grown in size, but the 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid still holds a key advantage when it comes to overall comfort and passenger space. While the Avalon was 4.4 inches longer and rode on a two inch longer wheelbase than the previous Camry, these cars have almost identical wheelbase lengths now. Despite this, the Avalon’s rear accommodations offer more than an inch of extra legroom and more than two inches of shoulder room. Even the trunk is spacious with 14 cubic feet of cargo space available on the Hybrid (2 cubic feet less than the non-hybrid Avalon), which is comparable to the Buick LaCrosse.
When the 2019 Avalon debuts later this year, its size advantage will return once again with an even roomier cabin, but the 2018 model is still a great choice that can comfortably fit five adults. Opting for the Limited trim level brings an interior meant for a true luxury sedan. Standard features include navigation, three-zone automatic climate control, perforated leather seats, heated rear seats, power-adjustable leather-wrapped steering wheel and Toyota’s Entune Premium JBL Audio infotainment system with Integrated Navigation and App Suite.
2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Powertrain
The sole reason for buying the 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid, of course, is its hybrid powertrain. Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive pairs the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission with a high-torque electric motor and Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery. This powertrain delivers a combined output of 200 horsepower, and while that might not seem like enough power for a 3,638-pound luxury sedan, the Avalon Hybrid has no problem accelerating to speed.
More importantly, the 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid has EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 40 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway**, and these numbers are easily met or exceeded regardless of how the car is driven. Full EV power is limited to short distances at speeds of under 20 mph, and when the engine does kick on, it does so without any fuss.
On the road, the 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid exhibits a pillowy soft ride with confident handling and some of the best brakes you’ll experience on a comparable hybrid. On rival hybrids, you get squishy brakes, a touchy gas pedal and intruding engine noise, but you won’t find any of these annoyances on the Avalon. If you want a sportier hybrid, you should check out the Camry Hybrid XSE, but you’re not going to find a vehicle as efficient or luxurious without stepping up to a luxury-branded hybrid sedan.
2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Safety
The 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid comes with a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration thanks to a long list of standard safety features. This includes 10 airbags, Toyota’s STAR Safety System (Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-lock Brake System, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist and Smart Stop Technology) and Toyota Safety Sense-P, or TSS-P. This suite of advanced safety features includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Auto High Beams and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Overall
The 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is a modern interpretation of the classic American sedan with the size and ride to make any road trip smooth and easy. Toyota’s flagship sedan has no problem gobbling up miles of interstate or chauffeuring your friends and family around town. Regardless of where you drive it, the Avalon Hybrid will get you there in extreme comfort with impressive fuel economy!
As Toyota says, the Avalon is a premium sedan without a premium price with the well-equipped gas model starting off at $33,500*. At this price, the Avalon already rivals some entry-level luxury sedans, while stepping up to the Limited trim level ($42,800* for the Hybrid Limited) is even more enticing for luxury buyers. With limited add-ons like the illuminated door sills ($379) and paint protection film ($395), this 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited had an as-tested price of $44,697.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Toyota dealership and test drive the 2018 Toyota Avalon today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.