2017 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is still big and efficient

2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid (Aaron)

The Avalon Hybrid is a big sedan with a unique style inside and out. Standard features are so plentiful that many will assume the Avalon Hybrid to be a premium-level vehicle. It’s class-leading fuel economy and real-world achievement of those EPA estimates are its calling card, however.

The manufacturer says

Go the distance with the powerfully efficient Hybrid Synergy Drive system, which offers a combined EPA-estimated 40 mpg.

Specs:

  • Manufacturer: Toyota
  • Year, Model: 2017 Avalon Hybrid
  • Class, Type: Full-sized sedan
  • Propulsion system: Hybrid gas-electric
  • Base Price: $37,300
  • MSRP as tested: $43,639
  • Availability: Now

Overview

The 2017 Toyota Avalon Hybrid doesn’t change much from last year, with one important exception. The Safety Sense package that was an add-on in 2016 is now standard equipment for the Avalon Hybrid in 2017. This adds all of the automatic, advanced safety equipment such as forward collision warning and pre-braking and lane departure warning and intervention as standard equipment for the Avalon Hybrid.

The Avalon Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that pairs with an electric motor and trunk-mounted battery pack. Altogether, this system produces 200 horsepower in front-wheel drive through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This is the same Hybrid Synergy Drive that powers many of Toyota’s hybrid models, including the Camry. Because of the battery pack’s positioning, however, the Avalon Hybrid is a bit more balanced to drive and the hybrid setup means power is delivered smoothly throughout the band, thanks to the combination of electric drive and engine power.

Fuel economy in the 2017 Avalon Hybrid is rated at 40 mpg combined, with 40 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. Most drivers can expect to get this or very near to it in the real world, with some surpassing it. In our test this year, we were slightly under those numbers, but last year and the year before we both hit it and exceeded it. So it’s more a matter of driving conditions than it is the car itself.

As for safety, another primary concern of full-sized sedan buyers, the Avalon Hybrid gets top scores across the board. It carries a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Toyota Avalon Hybrid also enjoys a solid reputation for reliability and high resale values. Another important plus in this market.

Inside, the Avalon Hybrid is very well laid out. There is a lot of room for both the driver and front passenger as well as room for two full-sized adults (three in a pinch) in the back seat. With legroom. Lots of it. Trunk space is cavernous to go along with this, despite the battery pack. Few will find reason to complain about the Avalon Hybrid’s interior. No matter the trim level.

The road presence of the 2017 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is confident and quiet. It’s not fast on the uptake, but not a slacker either, falling somewhere in the middle. Visibility is very good and cornering and maneuvering are solid.

What we like

Excellent fuel economy without peer.

Quiet, roomy interior with a large trunk.

What we don't

Firmer ride than its standard gasoline counterpart.

No AWD offering.

Conclusions

The 2017 Avalon Hybrid is a beautiful sedan that both drives well and carries itself well as a big sedan with all of the roominess expected of a full-sized offering. This is an A+ pick in our book, offering everything anyone shopping for a large sedan could ask for.

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