Let’s get right to it: The 2019 Toyota Avalon is a great car to hit the road in.
I recently took a road trip by myself from New York City to Boston to visit my parents. They just happened to be in the northeast from their native Chicago for a few days, and I couldn’t miss out on the chance to see them for a day or two.
I was allowed the opportunity to make that happen thanks to the very chic and powerful Avalon. While I’ve driven Camrys (and own one), checked out the Prius, RAV4 and more, before my recent trip, I’d never even been in an Avalon. However, I was excited to give the Touring version of this sedan a spin when I first laid eyes on the car, its wind chill pearl color literally sparkling in the sun. In terms of style, it was unlike my own older Camry, a mid-size car, which is pretty classic and straightforward when it comes to looks. The Touring version of the Avalon is very sporty and full of character. It has a front grille, reminiscent of one you might find on a Lexus. The lines are sleek, the 19-inch wheels catch your eye, and the back certainly means business with the red LED lights and chrome tips on the dual exhausts.
What made it more impressive when I entered the vehicle and got on the road, was the fact that it’s spacious. While there is plenty of trunk space, it is an overall roomy car that you can throw your bags in and go if you’re feeling lazy. I was able to move my seat back far enough that my knee wasn’t impacted during the more than four hour drive (if my leg is bent too much with my foot on the pedals and for too long, it aches after a while).
The Avalon Touring also glides very well for a smooth drive, and I should know, because I was admittedly going pretty fast whenever I was able to avoid slowdowns on the interstate. Making things all the more comfortable for a solo long-distance drive, the car has a large center instrument panel that features, front and center, a 9-inch touch screen display. If you have a lot of things to charge, there is a wireless charging space with a non-slip surface for your phone, as well as a few USB charging ports in the arm rest for whatever else may need a boost.
If you get tired of being at a standstill in traffic with your foot on the brake, you can push the electronic parking brake hold button to get the car to be on standby. Whenever you’re ready to start moving again, you push the same button and get going.
I also had to put on my own concert in order to stay fully alert, so the JBL audio system was great, and the bass was already strong without me having to tweak it to my liking. The Standard Toyota Safety Sense feature also kept me aware of my surroundings, letting me know when there were cars approaching in my blindspot and people moving around close to the vehicle. The sunroof also helped me, obviously, let a little sunshine in when I could use it.
I also must mention that I didn’t have to take one single break during my drives because in ECO Mode, the car ended up being extremely fuel efficient. With that being said, no stops at the gas station were necessary until I was preparing to return the car.
The only things that didn’t make me the happiest were the fact that you need to have downloaded certain apps, and your phone must be compatible for those apps, to allow your smartphone’s screen to be put on the Avalon’s 9-inch display screen. If you don’t have this prepared before you get moving, as I witnessed, your phone’s map system could be interrupted quite often to encourage you to download such apps and more, including Entune, and when you’re trying to focus on where you’re going, that can be intrusive.
It was also tough trying to park in tight spaces when I would have to do so on the street. Granted, the rear-facing camera was a great help, as well as the front-facing camera that gave me a better idea of how close I was to cars before me. However, when I knew that I had a little bit more space to fit in spots, the pre-collision system could be intense. It would fight me, turning on brake assist a lot, and the loud alarm to warn me of what I already knew was a bit much.
Overall though, the Avalon has been upgraded big time, and it’s a formidable choice in the full-size sedan lane, which includes cars like the Chevy Impala, the Buick LaCrosse, and the Kia Cadenza. It drives well, looks good, and has some unique features, from connection abilities to your smartwatch to something as simple as the signals and the way they flash. It’s a sexy car.
While I used the 2019 Avalon Touring (which starts at $42,350 — the standard XLE starts at $35,650) to get from point A to point B, it’s certainly a car, whatever road you’re moving along, that stands out, and for good reason.