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The editors of TheCarConnection.com have driven the 2010 Toyota Avalon and bring you their own driving impressions and comprehensive take on the roomy sedan in this Bottom Line, along with selected highlights from other top-tier reviews in an adjacent Full Review.
The Avalon is Toyota’s full-size sedan; although it offers a lot of available luxury and even some higher-tech features like laser cruise control, the 2010 Toyota Avalon places the priority on comfort and roominess.
The Toyota Avalon is conservative looking on the outside, and to put it kindly, it’s not going to raise your pulse at first sight. The silhouette was updated a bit two years ago, with revamped bumpers, headlamps, and grille, along with new tinting for the tail lamps, but that didn’t make it any less conservative. Inside, the Avalon plays it safe but appears and feels more contemporary; however, the materials aren’t especially inviting, despite the recent addition of new wood and chrome trims.
Keeping in mind that the 2010 Avalon clearly favors comfort above handling, this large car isn’t at all disappointing to drive. Provided the roads are relatively straight, the front-wheel-drive Avalon has the goods, with the 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission providing strong yet smooth and quiet performance either from stoplights or for highway passing, with the transmission shifting almost undetectably. Handling surely isn’t a strong point, but the Avalon is nothing like the comfort-oriented barges of yore—the suspension soaks up nearly every kind of bump, yet the body stays in check if you pitch the Avalon into a sharper corner, showing plenty of poise. At 19 mpg city, 28 highway, the Avalon’s fuel economy is quite good for a vehicle with this much space on offer.
Interior space, along with comfort, is a tremendous strength for the 2010 Toyota Avalon. It’s one of the roomiest sedans, with soft, highly adjustable front- and backseats that are contoured adequately for large adults. And with more width and legroom than most larger sedans, it can truly accommodate three adults in back. The trunk is not only huge but deep and easy to load into—capable of holding several large suitcases.
With a full range of top safety features and excellent crash-test ratings, the 2010 Toyota Avalon is one of the best big-sedan choices for the safety conscious. Electronic stability control is standard, as are anti-lock brakes, front side airbags, side curtain bags, and a driver's knee bag. The Avalon gets five-star ratings from the federal government in frontal and side impact tests, plus top "good" results from the insurance-affiliated IIHS in frontal and side impact tests. The only blemish: It was rated "poor" in the IIHS rear impact test.
Three trim levels of the 2010 Toyota Avalon are offered: XL, XLS, and Limited. While the XL keeps the price low, the Limited makes the Avalon feel like a true luxury car, with heated and ventilated front seats, wood grain trim, a Smart Key system, a power rear sunshade, aluminum scuff plates, and a high-end JBL sound system with an iPod interface and an integrated Bluetooth hands-free interface. Top options include a DVD-based navigation system and Dynamic Laser Cruise Control.