Safety is a key product feature in family sedans and even more so, in cars that appeal to older drivers. The Toyota Avalon has them covered--mostly--with good crash-test scores where they exist, and some safety technology that's offered on some, but not all, of its competitors.
Every Avalon gets a standard rearview camera, for example, along with the usual side-curtain airbags and stability control. On Avalons without navigation systems, the camera displays on the rearview mirror; navigation-equipped cars share their LCD screens for the camera's output. The latter's a much nicer result, as the rearview mirror puts out a small, washed-out image.
When it comes to crash tests, the Avalon performs well, in at least one set of tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has granted the Avalon "good" scores for all its tests, which makes the sedan a Top Safety Pick.
The federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet crash-tested the current Avalon. The prior version was structurally related to today's car, and it earned five stars across the board, but the NHTSA changed its ratings system in the 2011 model year, so the scores aren't directly comparable.