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2012 Toyota Avalon Photo
8.0
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by Marty Padgett
Editorial Director, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$29,876
BASE MSRP
$33,195
Quick Take
A classy, comfortable near-luxury sedan, the 2012 Toyota Avalon has a more modern look but traditional big-car handling and smooth performance. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features
Mileage

Presentation within the cabin is clean and straightforward, if a bit plain.

Edmunds »

The Avalon was reshaped and restyled for 2011, but if your eye is untrained in the art of automaker refreshes, you probably won't be able to distinguish a 2010 model from a 2011.

Autoblog »

For being a redesigned car, it still looks too conservative and not all that different from the old car at first glance.

AutoWeek »

last year’s Elks Club interior has been remodeled along the lines of a Ruth’s Chris Steak House

New York Times »

new but familiar-looking LED taillights and a license plate holder that's been moved from the bumper to the restyled trunklid

Cars.com »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$33,195 $36,435
4-Door Sedan
Gas Mileage 19 mpg City/28 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas V6, 3.5L
EPA Class Large
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 5
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style 4dr Car
See Detailed Specs »
8.0 out of 10
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The Basics:

The Toyota Avalon doesn't get much attention from car enthusiasts or from first-time buyers, but it's the kind of car that Toyota does very well. It's a no-fuss, no-brainer driving experience with lots of room and near-luxury equipment, geared at a big group of drivers that care more about comfort than performance--especially older drivers.

A stretched Camry, when you get right down to it, the California-designed, Kentucky-built Avalon has some well-executed details in an overall look that's quite conservative. Longer than the Camry, with a slightly less assertive grille than its new-for-2012 cousin, the Avalon's broad shoulders and crisped-up sheetmetal are an improvement over the last-generation model. The big Toyota's generic taillamps are dressed up with a C-shaped frame of LED lights. The interior's themed around an elegant dual-cowl dash, with the second cowl arcs atop climate and radio controls. In all, and despite some teensy radio buttons and plainly artificial woodgrain, the Avalon looks a little more extravagant than its station in life.

The cushy Avalon performs well in a straight line, but cornering isn't really what it had in mind. A 3.5-liter V-6 produces 268 horsepower--and it's a little louder here than before. Power streams to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, and acceleration is brisk for such a big sedan. This Toyota has decent on-center steering feel, light to the touch, but attentive enough for the needs of drivers just interested in a safe trip. The suspension is tuned very softly, with lots of body roll and underdamped responses.

The cabin is very large, but to understand what the Avalon is all about, you'll need to leave the flat, wide front bucket seats and slip into the back seat, where the Avalon does a convincing impression of a town car. There's so much head and leg room, surrounded by upscale trimmings, that even with the front seats pushed to the back of their tracks, an adult can cross their leg over knee. The rear seats can recline a couple of inches for long-trip comfort, and there's a small window to access the vast trunk.

The Avalon's an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and along with the usual airbags (and a driver knee airbag) and stability control, it has an available rearview camera and standard Bluetooth. Other standard features include steering-wheel controls; XM; and a USB port. The ritzy Limited version gets ventilated front seats; a power passenger front seat; and keyless entry with pushbutton start.

 

Likes:

  • Cushy ride
  • Quick in a straight line
  • Confident, light steering
  • Very comfortable seats
  • Luxury equipment list

Dislikes:

  • Lots of body roll
  • Conservative looks
  • Some glitzy interior trim
  • Overlaps Lexus pricing
Next: Interior / Exterior »
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