GATINEAU, Quebec – Toyota has given its flagship sedan a mild makeover for 2016 with a fresh face, new lights and some chrome at the other end, and an upgraded interior.
The Avalon hardly makes a mark on the Canadian automotive scene – fewer than 700 were purchased during the first 10 months of the year, compared to almost 14,000 Camrys during the same period – but it is a different story south of the border. Americans love big cars and where the Avalon rests near the bottom of the segment sales ladder in Canada, it is one of the top three in the U.S.
The Avalon was conceived and developed, and is built, in America for Americans. While it started out as a stretched Camry, it now shares its platform and drivetrain with the Lexus ES 350 and, as such, is well-loved by many mature consumers who appreciate the extra passenger space afforded by a wheelbase that is 45 mm longer than that of Camry; most of that shows up in rear seat legroom.
For 2016, Toyota has endowed the Avalon with a new and more aggressive lower grill, and a slim high one stretched between the new LED headlights. The side view shows new alloy wheels, while new tail lights and a chrome strip on the bumper differentiate the rear from the outgoing model.
The 2016 Avalon gets an upgraded instrument panel with a more upscale woodgrain trim and the position and angle of some controls altered for improved ergonomics.
Already one of the quietest cars on the road, the 2016 model gets additional cabin sound-proofing to assuage the sound-intrusion from the wind and the carry-over drivetrain – Toyota’s well-proven 268-horsepower, 3.5-litre V-6 that drives the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The suspension has been updated and a second, new “comfort” level setup, has been made available, which includes changes to the springs, shocks and anti-roll bars.
The 2016 Avalon is available in two trim levels – the $38,990 Touring and the $43,770 Limited. The standard equipment level includes a nine-speaker audio system, leather and navigation, with the Limited adding the new “comfort” suspension setting, an upgraded audio system, heated rear seats, powered rear window sunshade and a wireless charger for portable electronics.