Car And Driver calls the 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid, “The best (and only) hybrid full-sized sedan.” Other large hybrid sedans still haven’t evolved from the fossil fuel stage. Toyota combines a DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 2.5-liter inline-4 gas motor with a permanent-magnet synchronous AC electric motor to achieve a combined power rating of 200 hp – allowing the car to travel at very short distances under 20 mph using only electric power. The nickel-metal-hydride battery pack resides behind the rear seats and is replenished by regenerative braking. The net result is 40mpg city/39 mph highway.
Edwards reviewers say: "Back in the early days of gasoline-electric hybrids, cars with these innovative powertrains wowed buyers with their ability to wring a phenomenal number of miles out of a single gallon of gas. But you also had to give up some luxury and refinement to get it. Fast forward to today, and you'll find that models such as the 2017 Toyota Avalon Hybrid sacrifice very little at the altar of great fuel economy. A large sedan that can post higher EPA fuel economy numbers (40 mpg combined) than the Toyota's own compact Corolla model still qualifies as pretty noteworthy. The fact that the Avalon Hybrid can do it with an abundance of style and comfort is nothing short of remarkable. The handsome Avalon Hybrid looks like a more expensive European model, inside and out. Comfort is assured by a spacious interior done up in upscale materials and featuring the latest must-have amenities, from adaptive cruise control to a touchscreen infotainment system. Of course good looks and nifty technology aren't everything. The Avalon Hybrid has sufficient power for everyday motoring and the same composed ride quality as its non-hybrid sibling. The fact that it will go nearly 700 miles between fill-ups assures that you'll spend more time driving and less time pumping."
The previously optional Toyota Safety Sense package has become standard equipment on the 2017 model. It includes forward collision warning, automatic pre-collision braking, and lane departure warning and intervention. Standard features include 17-inch wheels, heated side mirrors with turn-signal repeaters, a sunroof, heated front seats, leather upholstery, an 8-speaker Entune audio system, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, voice command, and Bluetooth. The interior is well-appointed, the instrumentation is easy to read and use, and the understated décor uses high quality materials. Cabin noise levels are “Lexus low.” Toyota’s description of the Avalon Hybrid’s interior is “hushed and plush.” Various elements of the Hybrid Synergy Drive—mpg, battery state, regeneration, etc. are tracked on a display in the space normally occupied by a tachometer. Base models start in the $36,500 range.
The 2017 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is offered in XLE Plus, XLE Premium and Limited trim levels. Entry-level XLE Plus comes with standard features including 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights (including high beams), adaptive cruise control, heated outside mirrors, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar support) and a four-way power front passenger seat, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, adaptive cruise control and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Electronic features include keyless ignition and entry, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera and Toyota's Entune Audio Plus setup that consists of a 7-inch touchscreen display, voice controls and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio input jack and a USB-media interface. Also standard: forward collision warning, automatic pre-collision braking, and lane departure warning and intervention as standard.
The XLE Premium adds foglights, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, driver-seat memory settings, Qi wireless smartphone charging and Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite, which includes a navigation system, smartphone app integration and nine speakers.
The Limited includes all the above plus xenon headlights, automatic wipers, auto-dimming outside mirrors, tri-zone automatic climate control, an upgraded gauge cluster, upgraded leather upholstery, a 10-way power driver seat, an eight-way power front passenger seat, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a rear power sunshade, ambient lighting and an 11-speaker JBL premium sound system.
Regarding government crash testing, the 2017 Avalon Hybrid received five out of five stars for overall crash protection, four stars for front-impact and five stars for side-impact protection.
Edwards reviewers on the interior: "The 2017 Toyota Avalon Hybrid has a stylish, sophisticated cabin that's enhanced by the use of first-rate materials. Front seats are comfortable and supportive and feature a wide range of adjustability. In back the seats are as spacious as you'd expect in a large sedan, and the Limited model's heated rear seats and power rear window sunshade only add to the comfort level. The interior also features a number of stowage spaces including a large center console compartment and smaller bins for wallets and other paraphernalia of daily living. A designated "e-bin" in the center console features a cable pass-through for charging cellphones via the adjacent 12-volt and USB outlets. This cubby is also home to the Qi wireless charging system that works with compatible cellphones. Out back, the Avalon Hybrid offers a trunk with a healthy 14 cubic feet of cargo capacity, just 2 cubic feet shy of the non-hybrid Avalon."
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