The criteria for a solid full-size sedan these days are pretty straightforward: a roomy cabin, a long list of creature comforts and a quiet, controlled ride. Those expectations are apparently tattooed on the arms of every 2016 Toyota Avalon engineer, because the latest version fulfills those needs and then some.
The vast, airy cabin affords more than enough room for passengers front and rear. There’s also Lexus-like wood and soft-touch plastic trim, while the supremely comfortable seats are perfect for long-distance cruising. Noise from the road, wind and tires is practically nonexistent. Luxurious features, including ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, tri-zone automatic climate control and a power rear sunshade are all available.
Understating styling is a hallmark of the Avalon, but under that skin is a sophisticated sedan with a luxurious interior.
Even though the Avalon offers a comprehensive set of features along with satisfying performance, there are a few competitors worth considering. Although it’s a bit smaller on the inside, the 2016 Nissan Maxima is fun to drive and the cabin design is more modern. The 2016 Kia Cadenza offers goodies not available in the Avalon, including a panoramic sunroof and adaptive headlights. The 2016 Chrysler 300 offers all-wheel drive for cold-weather traction or an optional 363-horsepower V8 for more spirited performance. Other standouts in the category include the 2016 Chevrolet Impala and 2016 Hyundai Azera.
There are five trim levels for the 2016 Toyota Avalon: XLE, XLE Plus, XLE Premium, Touring and Limited. The Avalon Hybrid is covered in a separate review.
The base XLE comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED taillights, heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with wheel-mounted paddle shifters, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar support) and a four-way power front passenger seat. Electronics features include keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen with Toyota’s Entune interface with voice controls (including Siri Eyes-Free for iPhone users) and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.
Like most sedans in its segment, the Avalon offers exceptional rear seat comfort and a sizable trunk.
Upgrading to the XLE Plus adds additional functionality to the keyless entry system,a sunroof and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The XLE Premium steps it up another notch with driver memory settings, Qi wireless charging, navigation, a nine-speaker audio system, smartphone app integration, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic detection.
The Touring comes with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, a sport-tuned suspension and unique interior trim.
With the top-of-the-line Avalon Limited you get equipment from the Touring trim (minus the interior accents) in addition to xenon headlights, auto-dimming side mirrors with puddle lamps, automatic wipers, ambient cabin lighting, tri-zone automatic climate control, upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat, eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated rear seats, a rear power sunshade, Safety Connect and an 11-speaker JBL premium sound system.
The Limited also offers a Toyota Safety Sense package, which includes adaptive cruise control, a lane departure warning system, lane-keeping assist, frontal collision warning, automatic pre-collision braking and automatic high-beam headlight control.