Stick Shift: 2015 Toyota Avalon

Image provided by Toyota.

Image provided by Toyota.

By: Brandon Randall

Before Toyota’s big redesign in 2013, the Avalon was a vehicle that conjured up images of soft-seats, spacious interiors and pillowy suspension. Comfortable, but sorta boring. Unremarkable, like grandma’s old Buick, except less American. Not the case anymore. We’ve had a number of years since the Avalon’s directional rebirth, and the car continues strong in its transformation from early model Lincoln to late model Lexus.

Not just another smooth ride, the Avalon has gone all-out with gadgets to appeal to a younger, tech-focused market. More than just back-up cameras, a push button start and paddle shifters, the Avalon offers a fast and intuitive interface, adaptive cruise control and wireless charging pads. This car has certainly broken the previous perception of a more mature-ride, without compromising the quality and reliability that has always been front and center.

The sleek new lines of the Avalon’s redesigned exterior continue in 2015. A sweeping roofline and flared rear fenders combine with large 18″ wheels to give the Avalon a sporty edge unknown in generations past.

Inside the spacious interior, superb materials abound. Wood grain, leather and polished metal are tastefully incorporated into nearly every nook and cranny of this Toyotas refined cabin. Front leather seats are heated and ventilated. Contoured and comfortable for adults. In the back the heated rear seats, abundance of leg room and retractable rear sunshade provide a soothing place to be chauffeured around town in. Trunk space is another strong feature of the Avalon, boasting an impressive 16 cubic feet of storage space with a wide opening and low floors to fit plenty of grocery bags and soccer equipment.

In addition to a comfortable ride and spacious interior, another long held strength of the Toyota Avalon has always been its focus on safety. The 2015 model is no exception. Across the board the Avalon has near-perfect crash test ratings. The list of safety features is long, with blind spot and cross traffic monitors, smart stop technology and enough airbags in the cabin to even keep your knees and rear-thoracic region protected.

Powering our redefined Avalon is the familiar 3.5L V-6, making 266 hp and a combined 24 mpg. This capable engine is paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift mode. The chassis is dialed in, providing the driver with an enhanced sensory connection to the road and overall improved driving experience. This new level of control is something the Avalon owner never had in the past. It feels like a smaller car than it is,with less body roll and a more agile vivacity. The active chassis comes in three driving modes, normal, Eco and sport.

The Toyota Avalon is not the car it was a few years ago. Not even close. All the familiar comfort, space and quality remain, but the tech and performance have been tremendously improved, resulting in a car that deserves a good long consideration for its exceptional value. So much so that Lexus and other luxury brand owners might even consider making a badge swap.

Price as tested: $41,895.00

Image provided by Toyota.

Image provided by Toyota.

 

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