Reviewed: 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited

 Roomy, comfortable sedans are hard to come by in 2016. More people are opting for nimble, sporty sedans or crossovers, leaving the quintessential family cruiser of a past era to be forgotten.

After spending a week with a 2016 Toyota Avalon hybrid, we really can’t understand why.

A car does not get any more comfortable than this. We’re talking ride quality, suspension tuning, seat engineering and noise isolation.

Slip into the Avalon hybrid at any point in the day, and suddenly, the world around you pauses, as you relax in the serene and sumptuous cabin.

We didn’t fall asleep though, thanks to the punchy response of the electric motor tied to the 2.5L gas engine, which produces a system net of 200-horsepower through a CVT.

That may not sound like a lot for a large family sedan with a battery back wedged between the back seat and trunk, but trust us, it’s much more than adequate.

The same goes for fuel economy; being this features the same hybrid powertrain as the Camry hybrid, the Avalon hybrid is rated 40 mpg in the city, 39mpg on the highway and 40 mpg combined. We averaged 39.2 in our mixed driving with a tendency to enjoy the electric torque.

As we stated in our intro, the seats are heavenly and roomy all around. Legroom in the rear is impressive and easily allows a third in the center thanks to a flat rear floor.

The JBL Entune system worked beautifully, playing rich jazz or any variety of music we asked for (via voice commands). The large 7-inch touchscreen displays the standard camera when in reverse.

Blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert is standard on our hybrid limited model, but available elsewhere and highly recommended.

Visibility is generous; the pillars are small and the windshield curvature provides a commanding view of the road.

At night, the HID Quadrabeam headlights provide incredible illumination. LED daytime running lights give the Avalon a signature look. Inside, white LED accent lighting across the dash, in the cupholders and in the door handles adds warmth and functionality.

The driver’s seat has a power-adjustable thigh extension, providing added support for those of us with longer legs.

17-inch Michelin tires added to the comfortable, quiet ride.

Heated rear seats were a surprise and complemented by a passenger, although faster and hotter heaters would’ve been appreciated.

The power rear sunshade is another thoughtful touch that keeps the cabin cool on sunny days; that it automatically retracts when the Avalon is geared into reverse is even more impressive.

The system that comprises of Toyota Safety Sense-P, which includes pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, radar cruise and auto high beams, was on our tester. We highly recommend it, as it will filter into all Toyota models in the coming years.

Overall, the Avalon is just as if not more luxurious than a car costing twice as much. It doesn’t have the cachet of a status vehicle, but who needs cachet when you have one of the roomiest, safest, most reliable and comfortable vehicles on the road.

Make: Toyota
Model: Avalon Hybrid
Trim Level: Limited
Engine: 2.5L 4-Cylinder Hybrid Synergy Drive
Transmission: CVT
Observed Fuel Economy: 39.2 MPG (mixed driving)
Available Packages: Toyota Safety Sense-P
Base Price: $36,650
As-Tested Price: $43,285

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