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.
"The current Avalon is among the quickest big sedans in this price range, thanks to a very potent 3.5-liter V6," attests Edmunds. Motor Trend finds it carries the "Avalon to the 60 mark in a purposeful 6.2 seconds," and that's with the older five-speed automatic transmission, which has been replaced with a six-speed in more recent years.
At 19 mpg city, 28 highway, the Avalon’s fuel economy is quite good for a vehicle with this much space on offer.
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 confidence. "Poised enough for a big family sedan," ConsumerGuide says, but they add, "Some testers want more steering feel and weight." They also note "body lean is pronounced as cornering speeds increase." Car and Driver is more positive; the reviewer comments that "the Avalon's independent suspension provides a tauter, sportier ride-and-handling compromise than its forebear" and notes its "velvety ride quality." Edmunds sums that the Toyota Avalon is "at its best on the open highway."
Edmunds also likes the "tidy turning circle" that "makes the Avalon feel unexpectedly nimble on tight city streets." ConsumerGuide remarks that the "strong brakes are easy to modulate, but simulated panic stops induced marked nosedive."