2010 Toyota Avalon: Smooth, Roomy, And Tranquil

May 16, 2010

When you get in Toyota's largest sedan, what stands out most is its smoothness and quiet ride. As I drove the Avalon it almost felt like I was floating on air, almost unaware of the dirt road leading up to my house. But it’s more than just a nice ride. It also delivers good acceleration and good mileage for a car this size. The six-speed automatic is quick shifting and decisive. It's pleasant to drive and it won't leave you disappointed if you need to get somewhere in a hurry.

The best thing about the 2010 Toyota Avalon is its interior. It's quiet, has quality materials, and is roomy. The interior is nicely finished and equipped with easy to use controls. The front seats are roomy and comfortable, and the back seat had enough room for my 6’ 4” son-in-law. It all makes Avalon easy to like and even easier to enjoy. It feels like a refuge from the noisy world.

The Avalon offers the latest safety technology, starting with front, side and head-protection airbags. It scores well in government and insurance-industry crash tests, and in addition to the now-standard VSC skid-management electronics, it comes with traction control and an ant-lock brake system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. These features make sure that stopping power is distributed evenly, regardless of road surface, and that the brakes apply with full force in a panic stop.

The Avalon Limited, which I tested, ($35,285) gets upgrades like a 360-watt JBL Synthesis audio system with 12 speakers and Bluetooth connectivity, a power rear sunshade, Toyota's Smart Key proximity key system, HID headlamps, a wood-and-leather-trimmed shift knob and steering wheel, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and driver and passenger seats are heated and cooled.

The Limited model’s mirrors also include some new features like LED turn signals that are visible to other drivers in the glass. I liked the bright LED lights under the mirrors because they flood the ground below the doors with light as you approach in darkness. The Limited model also comes with a rear glass sunshade, operated by the driver. The sunshade lowers automatically if it's up when the driver engages reverse, then lifts it again when you put it back in drive.

Part of the Avalon’s smoothness is its 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which might seem small for a larger car. However, the Avalon has plenty of power for whatever you will need. The dual overhead-cam V-6 generates 268 horsepower and 248 pound feet of torque, and it moves the Avalon down the road. Toyota uses variable valve timing and a dual-stage variable intake manifold to generate the power. It flows smoothly whether you're accelerating casually from a stop sign or flooring the gas pedal to merge into highway traffic. Fuel economy is impressive, with an EPA-estimated 19/28 mpg city/highway rating.

There's a lot to like about the 2010 Toyota Avalon. Driving enthusiasts will say it's too plain vanilla for their tastes but the Avalon is pleasant to drive and never leaves you tired after a long commute home from work, which can be long on hectic days. The Avalon delivers the latest safety technology, and driving it is a pleasant experience, and given its size and the space inside, it gets good fuel mileage. You don’t need to spend more money to get all of this.

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