2011 Toyota Avalon Performance

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Performance
While the 2011 Toyota Avalon looks like a cushy luxury cruiser, it can perform—at least on the straight. The 3.5-liter V-6 puts out 268 horsepower with a little more pronounced sound than an Avalon ever has, and feeds it out to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. It's a familiar recipe, found across the Toyota lineup from the Venza crossover to the Sienna minivan and in the Camrys as well. Here, the transmission's a little more jerky than in previous iterations; there's a manual-shift mode, but this isn't the sort of car where you're going to use it much.

The Avalon's the rare Toyota with decent on-center steering feel. It's light from that point to any point on the arc, but that's precisely what attentive but unengaged drivers need. The cushy suspension, though, is at odds with any need to quickly change direction, and there's lots of body motion.

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