Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
The 2015 Toyota Avalon offers big-car smoothness and comfort once commonly associated with full-size American cars. But with the Avalon, Toyota quality and reliability are front and center, as well as a sleek profile, lavish interior and a price tag that might have some Lexus owners considering a swap. The Avalon also offers the only hybrid model in its class.
You'll Like The 2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid If...
If you want big style, big comfort and big fuel economy without too big a price tag, Toyota’s 2015 Avalon sedan has it in spades. The hybrid model will appeal to more frugal customers, while the new Touring Sport Edition will appeal to more fashion-savvy eyes.
You May Not Like The 2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid If...
If you’re all about performance driving, the Avalon’s soft ride and wide front seats probably won’t pique your interest. A Ford Taurus SHO or Dodge Charger R/T makes a better pick, and both offer all-wheel drive. The Hyundai Genesis, Nissan Maxima and Chevrolet Impala also offer a sportier attitude.
For 2015, Toyota’s Avalon sedan gains a new Touring Sport Edition with Attitude Black paint and contrasting dark blue interior trim and stitching. All models get an updated Entune audio system, while all gasoline-powered models gain paddle shifters. The Touring trims get a new Blind Spot Monitor.
The 2015 Toyota Avalon sedan offers perhaps the finest cabin in its class, with first-rate materials, user-friendly controls and impressive fit and finish. The general design is the same regardless of trim level, which only sweetens the Avalon’s attractive $33K starting price. Toyota’s latest batch of infotainment options such as advanced voice recognition, mobile application integration and hard-drive-based navigation should appeal to tech-savvy buyers. And, unlike the Ford Taurus, the Avalon’s capacitive-touch switches for the audio and climate-control functions are responsive and straightforward. In terms of comfort the rear-seat passengers are treated to an abundance of legroom and headroom.
The Avalon’s masculine stance and sculpted bodywork were conceived by Toyota’s Southern California-based Calty Design studio. The forward-raked C-pillar and sweeping roofline impart an almost coupe-like silhouette. Although it seems counterintuitive, this aggressive design actually improves rear-seat headroom. The headlights incorporate a pair of stylish square-shaped projector lenses, which Toyota calls Quadrabeams. This contemporary look is finished off with a set of 17-inch or optional 18-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights and dual chrome-tipped exhaust outlets.
While Toyota’s 2015 full-size Avalon sedan is thrilling to drive, it’s not your typical thrill ride. The thrill comes from discovering a big, comfortable car that is still agile enough at high speed to instill confidence. The steering is firm, the brakes strong and the V6’s ability to accelerate is undeniable. The Avalon Hybrid feels equally strong and earns a 40-mpg combined fuel-economy rating. Features such as paddle shifters and a Sport mode that adds more heft to the steering feel seem like overkill in the Avalon. But, you’ll find them on competitors so Toyota wants to be sure every base is covered, whether you use them or not. Where the Avalon shines brightest is in its ability to coddle occupants and relax the driver. From the smooth ride to the whisper-quiet cabin to the user-friendly audio and infotainment controls, the 2015 Avalon should be the template for all big sedans.
In an effort to bolster its value quotient, the 2015 Toyota Avalon carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just over $33,000. The Avalon Hybrid starts right around $37,000, with range-topping Limited models opening closer to $42,500. The Chrysler 300, Nissan Maxima, Hyundai Azera and Buick LaCrosse all share a similar pricing range with the Avalon, give or take a few hundred dollars. Although it offers a shorter list of standard equipment, the Ford Taurus undercuts the Avalon’s base price by roughly $5,000. To ensure you get the best deal on your 2015 Toyota Avalon, take a look at KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page. When it comes to the other side of the pricing equation, the 2015 Avalon is expected to retain one of the highest resale values in the segment.
Toyota’s full-size Avalon sedan is offered in XLE, Premium, Touring, Touring Sport and Limited trims with hybrid variants available in all but XLE and Touring Sport. In base form, the Avalon includes heated outside mirrors, rearview camera, leather-trimmed seats, smart-key access and push-button start, dual-zone climate control and a 6.1-inch audio touch screen and eight speakers. Premium models add a moonroof, while Touring trims include creature comforts like navigation, driver’s-seat memory control and Toyota’s Entune infotainment system. Occupant protection consists of 10 airbags, a comprehensive suite of electronic stability aids, and front seats designed to help reduce the severity of whiplash-related injuries.
Since the majority of feature content is tied to trim level, the 2015 Toyota Avalon 4-door sedan offers only a few option packages. Available exclusively on Limited models, the Tech Package includes a pre-collision system that prepares the car for impact when it senses a crash about to happen, automatic high beams, Qi wireless charging pad and an adaptive cruise-control system that maintains a pre-selected distance behind the vehicle ahead. The Premium trims can upgrade to the navigation radio with Entune Apps suite.
CAPACITIVE-TOUCH SWITCHESEmploying the same technology as your smartphone, the 2015 Avalon sedan’s capacitive-touch switches require only minimal pressure from your fingertip to perform their function. Because the technology responds to minor fluctuations in electrical current when contacted, they are more efficient than mechanical switches and require less moving parts.REAR CROSS TRAFFIC WARNINGBacking up always runs the risk of encountering fast-moving cross traffic. If a vehicle is approaching from the side, Toyota’s Rear Cross Traffic Warning system eliminates worry by alerting the driver with a flashing light and an audible warning.
Under the Hood
The Avalon for 2015 gets its motivation from the tried-and-true 3.5-liter V6 or new Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder hybrid powerplant – the same system used in the latest Camry Hybrid. The conventional engine churns out a healthy 268 horsepower through a 6-speed automatic gearbox, while the hybrid system sends its 200 horsepower to the front wheels via a gearless continuously variable transmission. To the dismay of those living in the Snow Belt, the Toyota Avalon does not offer all-wheel drive.3.5-liter V6268 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 mpg2.5-liter inline-4 hybrid200 net hybrid system horsepowerEngine: 156 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpmBattery: 199 lb-ft of torque @ 0-1,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 40/39 mpg
While car companies seem to be tripping over themselves to introduce even more crossover SUVs, many in the car-buying public still prefer the comfort and quiet of a big, premium-level sedan. The 2015 Toyota Avalon sedan is just such a car and in many ways is the rightful heir to the big American luxury car once common in every driveway. But, unlike those unreliable dinosaurs of the past, the Avalon is solid, dependable and amazingly efficient. Its sleek styling and lavish interior make it attractive to many luxury buyers, while its reasonable pricing and low cost of ownership appeal to more frugal buyers. From its user-friendly onboard technology to the 40-mpg hybrid trim, the Avalon offers so much to so many for so little.