If you're not sure what we're talking about, it's the built-in universal garage-door opener system that's been quite widely available in luxury cars and some well-optioned family vehicles.
In the 2011 Avalon, Homelink takes advantage of the LCD display that's built into the rearview mirror and displays a menu and instructions if the feature hasn't been used (it times out if the driver hasn't pressed anything else in 15 seconds). In prior (and most current) applications, the programming process requires some page-turning—or, in this day of disappearing owner's manuals, finding a larger laptop that will let you view the DVD (or in the case of the 2011 Hyundai Equus, pulling out your custom iPad).
Offered in vehicles since 1995, the system has allowed you to—with the push of a button, usually up near the rear-view mirror, signaled by a house icon—securely and remotely open garage doors, security gates, or special lighting.
According to supplier Johnson Controls, the Homelink is compatible with more than 99 percent of all new garage-door systems, and a Quicktrain feature introduced in 2007 speeds up the programming process.
In a First Drive of the 2011 Toyota Avalon last month, editorial director Marty Padgett pointed out that, although the big sedan drives reasonably well, you have to sprawl out in the back seat to fully appreciate it—and the Avalon remains one of the better choices for four comfort-minded adults.
And click here for a list of all the vehicles, new and used, that include Homelink.