Aside from being a mythical island in the Arthurian Legend, Avalon is the name of Toyota’s top level offering. Last year they sent us a 2014 Avalon Limited for a week of sensible commuting and it changed our perceptions of the modern Japanese sedan. For 2015 they wanted us to experience the hybrid, so we received one in Sizzling Crimson fresh off the Georgetown, Kentucky assembly line.
The 3.5-liter V6 is not available, so the Hybrid is built with a 2.5-liter four cylinder coupled with their Hybrid Synergy Drive system. Horsepower is rated at 200, and torque at 156 lb-ft. A large majority of that torque is available instantly from the battery, so the Avalon is a completely capable daily driver. It may not be a plug-in hybrid, but 40 mpg city and 39 highway is nothing to laugh at.
On the inside, the infotainment screen is centrally located above the HVAC controls, and both panels are flanked by a faux brushed metal trim. The controls for all important systems are intuitive and easy to reach, and are mostly the same ones found in the Lexus ES. The only weak point is that the seats could use more cushion and bolstering.
The Avalon Hybrid starts at a base price of $41,700, but after several expensive extras, like $499 remote engine start, $225 floor mats and a $825 delivery fee, the final retail price is $45,578. If you need an efficient full-size sedan, the Avalon Hybrid is for you.