2019 Toyota Avalon Preview
By Christian Wardlaw, January 15, 2018
- Full-sized family sedan
- Dramatic new design, inside and out
- Available with a V6 engine or a hybrid drivetrain
- XLE and Limited trims, and for sportier driving XSE and Touring trims
- Next-generation Entune 3.0 infotainment system, complete with Apple CarPlay
- Built in Kentucky; on sale in late spring of 2018
When Toyota redesigned the popular Camry for 2018, it was smaller than the previous car in several respects. Now, the strategy makes more sense, because the redesigned 2019 Toyota Avalon is larger than it used to be.
When it arrives in mid-2018, the new Avalon will go head-to-head with the Buick LaCrosse, Chrysler 300, and Kia Cadenza in what Toyota classifies the “mid-premium” segment.
Developed to a paradigm defined by “authenticity” and “exhilaration,” the new 2019 Avalon will be offered in XLE and Limited trim for an upscale look and feel, and XSE and Touring trim for a sporty appearance and driving character.
Longer, lower, wider, and featuring shorter overhangs, the 2019 Avalon receives a 2-inch wheelbase stretch along with wider front and rear tracks.
In spite of what Toyota calls “sculpted forms” and “complex surfaces,” the new Avalon is more aerodynamic thanks in part to front air curtains, underbody panels, and rear spoiler. These, in combination with other design elements, result in an aerodynamic coefficient of drag measuring 0.27 cd.
Aluminum wheels sized from 17 inches to 19 inches in diameter are standard, depending on the selected trim level, and LED taillights are standard. Touring and Limited trim add dynamic turn signals that flash sequentially, as well as LED “Vision Tech” headlights and adaptive LED cornering lamps.
The sporty Avalon XSE and Touring get a piano black mesh grille, black headlight bezels, black exterior mirror housings, and machined-finish wheels with gloss black accents. Around back, a black rear spoiler, black AVALON lettering on the trunk, and a unique lower diffuser panel between the quad exhaust outlet finishers help to distinguish these versions from the XLE and Limited.
Toyota has also announced new Opulent Amber and Harbor Gray paint colors, which will be offered on other 2019 Toyota models. New to Avalon are Wind Chill Pearl and Ruby Flare Pearl.
Always a spacious car, the new Avalon is claimed to offer class-leading room for its occupants. They will enjoy soft-touch materials, piano black trim, and satin chrome accents, and the Avalon is available with authentic Yamaha wood, aluminum detailing, a 2-tone leather wrap for steering wheel, and 3-D glow rings around the gauges.
Rear occupants benefit from air conditioning vents and USB charging ports, and heated rear seats are available. Up front, drivers face a 3-spoke steering wheel with new on-wheel cruise control as found in the Camry. Thin windshield pillars maximize forward visibility and espouse a feeling of spaciousness.
Avalon XLE trims have Softex leatherette upholstery in black, gray, or beige. The XSE and Touring feature perforated Ultrasuede upholstery in black or gray, while the Limited has quilt patterned, perforated leather in gray, beige, or a new hue called Cognac.
Under the Hood:
Toyota is promising that the new Avalon will deliver an “invigorating driver experience.” The car moves to Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, and in my experience every vehicle the company builds upon this component set has proven to be more satisfying to drive.
A new direct-injected, Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 is standard, paired with a new 8-speed automatic transmission. Paddle shifters are included for the XSE and Touring, along with a downshift rev matching function. Toyota did not offer power ratings for the V6, but as installed in the smaller Camry it develops more than 300 horsepower.
A new hybrid drivetrain is available for the Avalon, employing a direct injected 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, a continuously variable transmission, a 650-volt electric motor, and a nickel-metal hydride battery that resides under the back seat for improved packaging and lower center of gravity. Again, Toyota refrains from offering power figures, but in the Camry this setup churns out a combined 208 horsepower.
Toyota does claim that each is more powerful and more efficient than offerings in the outgoing Avalon, and each includes Eco, Normal, and Sport driving modes. Touring trim adds Sport+ and Custom modes.
Auto Glide Control (AGC) is added to the Avalon Hybrid, maximizing coasting efficiency to improve fuel economy. When the driver has selected the Eco driving mode, AGC effectively reduces engine braking and energy regeneration in favor of lower friction coasting, like the car is in Neutral gear.
Hybrids also get a new Sport driving mode and a Sequential Shiftmatic function for the transmission, which allows a driver to “shift” through six programmed CVT ratios using the paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
All Avalons benefit from a new multi-link rear suspension, as well as revised suspension tuning for an improved ride and handling character. A new, continuously variable adaptive damping suspension is standard for Touring trim.
Toyota manages what the driver and passengers hear with an Intake Sound Generator, an Engine Sound Enhancement system, and Active Noise Cancellation technology. Through these technologies, Toyota aims to deliver a “library-quiet” cabin unless the driver is heavy on the accelerator pedal. The sportier XSE and Touring trims get a more aggressive exhaust note.
Toyota will include its Toyota Safety Sense-P suite of driver assistance and collision avoidance technologies as standard equipment. They include full-speed adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, and automatic high-beam headlights. Additionally, the car is equipped with 10 air bags and a reversing camera.
Upgrades include a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert and something called Back Guide Monitor, which is likely a lane change assist system that warns the driver not to switch lanes if another vehicle is fast approaching the Avalon.
Rear cross-traffic braking is new, part of the Avalon’s available Intelligent Clearance Sonar system, which aims to prevent accidental scraping of the car’s flanks on obstacles. A panoramic-view camera system is also available.
Every 2019 Avalon is equipped with an Entune 3.0 infotainment system with a 9-inch capacitive touchscreen display that Toyota claims will offer better sensitivity, a faster refresh rate, and improved voice recognition.
It includes a Scout connected navigation app, but can be upgraded with an embedded Dynamic Navigation system. Additional standard features include App Suite Connect and Toyota Connected Services with a 3-year free trial of Safety Connect and Service Connect and a 6-month free trial of Remote Connect with Alexa and Smartwatch. Also, note that Apple CarPlay is offered for the first time in a Toyota, and a Wi-Fi hotspot is available at extra cost after owners burn through the free 2GB trial data plan.
Entune 3.0 sits on a slim center panel that rises dramatically from the center console to seemingly float in front of the dashboard’s surface. Toyota provides knobs for volume and tuning, while the automatic climate controls make due with buttons and rocker switches. An eBin below the center control panel includes a Qi wireless charger and a 12-volt power outlet, while three USB ports are housed inside the center console.
Touring and Limited trims have a standard 14-speaker JBL premium audio system with 1,400 watts of power, Clari-Fi digital music restoration technology, and Quantum Logic surround sound. A 10-inch heads-up display is also included for these two versions of the Avalon.