It might sound underwhelming when I say that my test of the 2017 Toyota Avalon Hybrid was solid, but let me assure you that this really is high praise. In this age of new products, new platforms, and new models, the Avalon Hybrid is a wonderful reminder of the bliss that can be found in a good ol’ large sedan.

Okay, “good ol’” is selling the Avalon Hybrid a bit short. The Avalon looks sinewy and athletic. Gone are the rectangular profiles of yesteryear. It has a higher beltline and lower roofline that makes it look a bit more aggressive. The trunk lid tapers off and looks sleek. My test Avalon showed up in a dark metallic blue that highlighted the lines beautifully.

Room Enough for Families and Gear

The interior of the Toyota Avalon Hybrid looked sporty. The center stack had a swooshy shape to it. The leather-trimmed seats looked bolstered and sharp, rather than squishy and posh. That said, they were very comfortable and certainly felt posh and not rigid like some “performance” seats. The front seats were heated, and in a boon for rear passengers, the two rear outboard seats were heated too. There was so much room in the back, my teens felt like there was plenty of room, and the car was so quiet they felt like they were being chauffeured. Which I guess they were, now that I think about it.

I have to be honest. I was worried about the trunk. Hybrids usually have small cargo areas because that’s where they keep the batteries. I was pleasantly surprised that a giant hockey bag fit, no problem. However, the stick had to come inside the passenger compartment because there was no pass-through. Also, big grocery trips were no sweat. So in a nutshell, no super long stuff allowed; bulky rectangular stuff is A-OK.

Toyota Avalon trunk
Greener Grocery Getter

Power and Pandora

The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with the electric motor gave the Toyota Avalon ample power. I had no problems merging into highway traffic or making quick accelerations. I averaged just over 37 miles per gallon and loved that I didn’t visit the gas station until the end of my test.

Toyota Avalon Hybrid
Toyota Avalon Hybrid system in action

The Entune App Suite enables you to use several services you are probably already familiar with, like Pandora and Open Table. The app suite is accessible right from the Avalon’s multimedia system. Unlike Apple CarPlay, it adds an extra step to what should be a seamless process. Entune also uses your data plan, so if you don’t have an unlimited data setup, beware.

The Avalon was a great ride. Easy to be in, easy to park, good power, decent mileage. Just like a good ol’ sedan should be.—SL

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