2017 Toyota Avalon Overview
Pros & Cons
- Potent, proven V6 engine
- Balanced ride and handling
- Premium, high-tech cabin
- Plenty of standard advanced safety features
- Higher price for the class
- No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto options
Notable for 2017
- New standard advanced safety features
Toyota Avalon Rankings and Research
The 2017 Toyota Avalon ranking is based on its score within the Large Cars category. Currently the Toyota Avalon has a score of 9.0 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 32 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.
- #1 in Large Cars
2017 Toyota Avalon Pictures
2017 Toyota Avalon Review
It's not as popular as other Toyotas, but the 2017 Avalon delivers most of what people expect out of the large car market. This includes a spacious, upscale cabin, plenty of standard features, a smooth and quiet ride, and a strong and efficient engine. For these reasons, the Avalon ranks very highly among large cars.
Is the Toyota Avalon a Good Car?
The 2017 Avalon is a well-balanced and overall impressive car. Performance is good for a large car, due to its powerful standard engine and composed ride. Its interior is very upscale, with attractive amenities like standard leather seating and an elegant design. The Avalon is also a nice family car, with plenty of rear-seat and cargo space. Advanced safety features, which aim to prevent collisions and provide driver assistance, are newly standard, setting the Avalon apart from the competition in that regard. Top it all off with above-average reliability, and you have the recipe for a solid overall vehicle.
Should I Buy the Toyota Avalon?
Shoppers looking for a good car that is both affordable and reliable may shop in several car classes looking for the right vehicle. For that reason, the Avalon, a large car, might be cross-shopped with extremely popular midsize cars like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. That's not an entirely unreasonable plan of action; those cars are perfectly fine as family cars or dependable everyday drivers that can get you wherever you need to go. While the Avalon matches this criteria, it doesn’t offer too much more in the way of space than the Camry or Accord, and its base price is more than $10,000 higher than both of those cars. That money will mostly go toward getting you an upscale, comfortable version of a midsize sedan. Unless you really want the added luxury and a bit more space, the Camry or Accord are probably better fits for you.
Sure, the Toyota Avalon is a good car that ranks well, and you won't be making a bad choice if you buy it. But you can likely find something else that meets your needs for less money.
We Did the Research for You: 32 Pieces of Data Analyzed
To help you decide if the 2017 Toyota Avalon is right for you, we've analyzed 32 pieces of information from around the auto industry. This includes reviews and opinions from professional automotive journalists, as well as data like reliability ratings and crash test results. This allows you to focus on making a buying decision instead of spending hours researching. Toyota redesigned the Avalon for the 2013 model year, and it has seen few major changes since. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2013 through 2017 model years.
Why You Can Trust Us
U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars and providing consumer advice for nearly a decade, and our team of writers and researchers has 75 combined years of experience in the automotive industry. Our only goal is to help you make a smart buying decision. We are not affiliated with any car companies, and any ads on our pages are sold through an outside source. We also don't accept any incentives, expensive gifts, or trips from manufacturers.
How Much Does the Toyota Avalon Cost?
The 2017 Toyota Avalon starts at $33,300, which is on the higher end of the large car class. Some closely priced rivals include the Nissan Maxima, which is $32,610. Other vehicles you might be considering are midsize cars, which have much lower prices. Two of the highest-ranked midsize cars are the Honda Accord, which starts at $22,455, and the Toyota Camry, which starts at $23,070.
All Avalons come with a V6 engine, an automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. You won't have to worry about spending more money to upgrade the powertrain, but you also can't upgrade the suspension. Part of the Avalon's appeal is that it has multiple other trim levels that are relatively cheap to upgrade to. For the most part, that's the only way you can get optional features. Within about $4,500 of the base price, there are three other possible trims that cover most of the Avalon's available features. However, the Avalon Limited starts at more than $41,000, which is past the starting price of some luxury midsize cars.
Toyota Avalon Versus the Competition
Which Is Better: Toyota Avalon or Toyota Camry?
Toyota's midsize sedan is one of the best-selling cars in America, and millions of Camry owners can't be wrong. Like its larger stablemate, the Avalon, the Camry scores very well and places among the top cars in its class. The main questions you need to ask when deciding between the Camry and Avalon are how much car you really want or need, and how much you are willing to spend. The base Camry starts at around $23,000, while the Avalon is over $10,000 more. Sure, that includes features like a V6 engine, leather seats, and a bunch of advanced safety features, but you can price out a loaded Camry for about the same as a base Avalon. If you're on a budget, that means you can pick and choose what upgrades are important to you, either through additional trim levels or option packages. Though it sits in a larger class, the Avalon doesn’t offer much more in terms of space than the Camry. Both cars have a back seat large enough for even taller adults, and the Avalon's trunk is only 0.2 cubic feet larger. One of the main selling points for the Camry (and most Toyotas) is its reliability. The 2017 Camry gets among the highest predicted reliability ratings of any vehicle from J.D. Power and Associates: 4.5 out of five. The Avalon receives a score of 3.5, which is still above average, but not as eye-popping. For the majority of shoppers who walk into a Toyota dealership without a clear preference between the two cars, the Camry will likely be a better fit.
Which Is Better: Toyota Avalon or Honda Accord?
Like the Camry, the Honda Accord is a midsize car that boasts huge sales numbers and is an all-around good car. It's much more affordable than the Avalon, even as you move up the trim ladder. The highest trim retails for a little more than a standard Avalon, but you'll end up with more features. The Accord bests the Avalon in infotainment and technology, as long as you equip it properly. While the Avalon comes with a standard touch-screen display, that's as good as it gets. The standard Accord only has a non-touch display screen, but upgrading means adding a second screen (a touch screen) along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which aren't available at all in the Avalon. Rear-seat room is just as ample in the Accord as it is in the Avalon, and the Honda's trunk is only slightly smaller (16 cubic feet versus 15.8 cubic feet). The standard engine in the Accord is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that offers better gas mileage than the Avalon's standard V6. You'll get up to 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway in the Accord, compared to 21 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway in the Avalon. Overall, the Accord represents a better value than the Avalon.
Which Is Better: Toyota Avalon or Nissan Maxima?
The large car class is incredibly competitive, and the Nissan Maxima and Avalon rank very closely to each other. There are a few key differences, so we wouldn't blame you for choosing one over the other depending on your priorities. As a practical car, the Avalon wins hands down. It has a much larger trunk: 16 cubic feet compared to the Maxima's 14.3 cubic feet. In fact, the Maxima's trunk is even smaller than those of the midsize Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. The Avalon also offers a larger second row than the Maxima does – an important consideration if you often ferry around adults in the rear. However, the Maxima is a little more technologically advanced; it provides a digital display in the gauge cluster and standard Apple CarPlay, which you can't get at all in the Avalon. Safety is a toss-up: the Maxima gets perfect crash test scores from two independent organizations, and the Avalon misses that boat by a few strokes. However, the Avalon includes many driver assistance features as standard equipment, such as forward collision warning, automatic braking, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist. You'd have to spend over $37,000 for a similarly equipped Maxima, but the base Avalon is only about $33,000. Both cars come with standard V6 engines that produce a good amount of horsepower, and their handling and ride are comparable. If anything, the Avalon might have a slight edge, but it's too close to call.
How Many People Does the Avalon Seat?
The 2017 Avalon is a sedan that seats five people comfortably. Every Avalon comes with soft leather upholstery. Cushioning isn't just soft, it’s also supportive. With standard power-adjustable front seats, finding the best position won't be difficult, even for taller people. Even better, the XLE Premium trim can remember position settings for both the driver's seat and the exterior mirrors. During the colder winter months, you’ll be glad to have standard heated front seats and available heated rear seats. The Avalon's rear seats are especially accommodating, making this a great people mover even for individuals a little over 6 feet tall.
Though it's technically a large car, the Nissan Maxima has far from maximum space. Its second row isn't as roomy as the Avalon’s, especially for taller adults. Even the midsize Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have more space in the back seat than the Maxima, and both are perfectly capable of carrying adults for long journeys. If you were considering the large Avalon for its passenger space, just know that there are slightly smaller cars that can fit the bill, too.
Avalon and Car Seats
The Avalon has two complete sets of LATCH child-seat connectors in its second row. There is also a top tether anchor for the middle seat. The lower anchors are a little hard to reach, as they are set too close to the seat cushion.
Most types of child seats will fit with no problem, but some can be difficult to connect. To get some car seats in, you will have to slide the front passenger seat as far forward as it will go.
Avalon Interior Quality
In today's car world, you might expect the base model to look like a bargain version of the upper trims, but that isn't the case with the 2017 Toyota Avalon. There's a certain upscale sophistication inside the Avalon that makes it feel like a more expensive luxury car. Fine details abound, imparting a distinctly upscale cabin atmosphere in all trims, not just those at the top. Leather seating is standard, which is somewhat rare for the class, and the highest trim level features premium leather and woodgrain interior accent pieces. Sound insulation is effective, even at higher speeds.
Though leather seating is only optional, the rest of the Nissan Maxima's interior is top-notch. It also draws comparisons to luxury cars with its quality materials and elegant design.
Avalon Cargo Space
The Avalon's trunk is easy to work with, thanks to a wide opening and low, easy access. All models come with a power-operated trunk that opens when you stand next to the back of the car for a few seconds with the key fob in your pocket or bag. At 16 cubic feet, the Avalon's trunk size is about average for a large car.
Like its rear-seat passenger space, a small trunk belies the Nissan Maxima's large car designation. You'll get just 14.3 cubic feet of trunk space, but the opening is wide, which makes loading large items easy. The Avalon barely beats out other rivals in trunk space: the midsize Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have 15.8 cubic feet and 15.4 cubic feet, respectively.
Avalon Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation
Toyota's Entune infotainment system comes standard in the Avalon. It uses a 7-inch touch-screen display to showcase niceties like standard navigation. An eight-speaker audio system comes standard, but higher trims get a nine-speaker audio system or an 11-speaker JBL audio system. Using the infotainment system is a breeze, for the most part. The menu structure is logical, and the touch screen is quick to respond.
However, techies may bemoan the exclusion of the latest infotainment features, such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. These are programs that allow you to connect your smartphone to the car's interface and access familiar features like contacts, media, messaging, and apps. Everything is displayed on the car's infotainment screen in a similar layout as you would find on your phone.
Like the Avalon, the Toyota Camry doesn't have either of these features, and in fact only comes standard with a 6.1-inch touch screen. You can upgrade to the larger 7-inch screen, though.
The Honda Accord and Nissan Maxima both take technology to the next level with their infotainment setups. The Maxima has two screens: an 8-inch touch-screen display on the dashboard and a digital 7-inch display in the instrument cluster. Navigation and Apple CarPlay come standard, and the touch screen responds to smartphone gestures like swiping or pinching to zoom. There is also a knob controller for the system, which mimics infotainment setups from luxury brands like BMW and Audi.
In the standard Accord, you'll only get a single display for things like fuel economy and audio settings, and everything is controlled by physical buttons. Upgrading won't replace that display, but rather add an additional touch screen beneath it. This enhanced system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Avalon Engine: V6 Is a Golden Oldie
The 2017 Toyota Avalon comes with a time-tested 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 268 horsepower. That's plenty of power for everyday driving situations, including passing and merging on the highway. This engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Its large car class rival, the Nissan Maxima, is also only available with a 3.5-liter V6. This power plant puts out 300 horsepower, which is among the highest standard amounts in the class. It also results in swift acceleration, allowing the Maxima to move about effortlessly.
If you don't need that muscle under the hood, midsize cars like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord offer a little more versatility. Both come standard with a four-cylinder engine that makes around 180 horsepower (178 horsepower and 185 horsepower, respectively, to be specific), which is adequate for most daily driving scenarios. You can also upgrade to a much more powerful V6 engine in either car.
Avalon Gas Mileage: Good Fuel Economy, but in a Competitive Field
With the Avalon's V6 engine, you can expect to get 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which is above average compared with other nonhybrid large cars. The Nissan Maxima gets the exact same fuel economy estimates – and more horsepower. Perhaps owing to their smaller engines, the Avalon's midsize rivals return slightly better fuel economy averages: the Honda Accord gets 23 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway with a standard manual transmission and 26/34 mpg city/highway with an automatic. The Toyota Camry gets 24/33 mpg city/highway.
The Avalon is also available in a hybrid version, which is reviewed separately. It starts at $37,250, which is $4,000 more than the standard Avalon's base price. With current average fuel prices and yearly mileage, the amount you’ll save in fuel costs could make up the hybrid's price difference in about 6.5 to seven years. If saving money is a big incentive for considering a hybrid, and you plan to keep the Avalon for a long time, the Avalon hybrid may fit the bill.
Avalon Ride and Handling: Not a Floaty Boat Anymore
Driver and passenger alike will appreciate the Avalon's supple ride, which has become a hallmark of the nameplate. It maintains its composure around corners, provides communicative steering, and offers decent feedback from the road. Opting for the Touring trim gives the Avalon sharper handling, but it makes the ride stiffer, which some may not like. When you need to slow down quickly, you'll be happy to know the brakes in the Avalon work well, providing strong yet predictable stops.
The Avalon’s handling and driving dynamics are mostly comparable to rivals. Many midsize and large cars prioritize a balanced ride for comfortable daily driving. You'll still get confident steering and be able to handle corners with ease, but if you're looking for a truly engaging experience behind the wheel, you're in the wrong place. You'll get similar driving dynamics from the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Maxima.
Is the Toyota Avalon Reliable?
The 2017 Avalon receives a predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power and Associates. This means it is one of the most reliable cars on the road. Toyota as a brand is one of the more reliable companies, according to J.D. Power.
Toyota Avalon Warranty
The 2017 Toyota Avalon comes with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Since Toyota covers all its cars equally, the Camry gets the same warranty. Other primary rivals like the Honda Accord and Nissan Maxima also have equal warranty terms to the Avalon.
Avalon Crash Test Results
The 2017 Avalon gets a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with four out of five stars in the individual frontal crash and rollover tests. It earns a rating of Good (the highest score possible) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in all crash tests, as well as a 2017 Top Safety Pick designation.
Those are respectable safety scores, but the Avalon’s competition fares a little better with both organizations. The 2017 Nissan Maxima gets perfect scores in all NHTSA tests, as does the Honda Accord coupe. The four-door Accord earns four stars in the frontal crash test, while the Toyota Camry gets the same marks from the NHTSA as its larger sibling, the Avalon. All three of these vehicles receive the highest possible crash ratings from the IIHS, and they all earn 2017 Top Safety Pick+ designations.
Avalon Safety Features
There are plenty of standard driver assistance and safety features for the Avalon, many of which are newly standard for the 2017 model year. Forward collision warning with automatic braking uses sensors in the front of the car to continuously monitor the distance from the vehicle ahead of you. It notifies you if a crash is about to happen, and it applies the brakes to try to prevent it. Also standard is lane departure warning with lane keep assist, which alerts you if you drift out of your lane and even nudges you back into it. All Avalons also come with adaptive cruise control, which ensures that you don't go faster than the vehicle in front of you when your cruise control is set. Also, high-beam assist will switch to low beams when you forget to do it yourself, which oncoming drivers will appreciate. Optional safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
The Avalon is basically unrivaled when it comes to safety features. Other competitors like the Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Maxima only come standard with a rearview camera. They all offer most of the technologies that the Avalon does, but that requires you moving up the trim ladder and/or adding a package. For example, you’ll have to buy one of the Camry’s two highest trims and then purchase a package for a few thousand dollars to match the Avalon's standard safety features. The Accord is similar: safety features come with a $1,000 package on top of higher trims. Thanks to their low starting prices, either of these cars equipped with the safety features costs around $30,000, which is less than a standard Avalon. To get any driver assistance features in the Maxima, you’ll need to upgrade to at least a $37,000 trim level.
Which Toyota Avalon Model Is Right for Me?
The 2017 Avalon comes in five trim levels: XLE, XLE Plus, XLE Premium, Touring, and Limited. All models feature a 3.5-liter V6 engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. For this model year, the Toyota Safety Sense P suite of features is now standard in the Avalon. This includes automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.
Choosing the right Avalon for you is fairly simple considering you don’t have additional options for a powertrain or suspension. There are also three trim levels within about $4,500 of the base price that include roughly half of all the options you can get. If your budget allows, you might as well step up to the Avalon Touring ($37,650) for amenities like premium leather, a touring suspension, and most of the Avalon's available safety features. If money is tight, stick with the base Avalon. It comes very well-equipped, with everything from heated leather seats and an infotainment system to several safety features.
The base Avalon XLE starts at $33,300. Standard features include dual-zone climate control, a proximity key, remote start, and a rearview camera. Toyota's Entune infotainment system comes with an eight-speaker audio system, a 7-inch touch screen, navigation, satellite radio, a USB port, voice recognition, HD Radio, Bluetooth for both audio streaming and phone calls, and Siri Eyes Free. The XLE also includes leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a power-operated trunk. Standard safety features are forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, high-beam assist, and adaptive cruise control.
The Avalon XLE Plus ($35,000) adds a nine-speaker audio system, a moonroof, and a built-in garage door opener.
The next trim, XLE Premium ($36,450), gives the car wireless smartphone charging capability, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and memory positions for the driver's seat and sideview mirrors.
With the Avalon Touring ($37,650), you'll get LED headlights, woodgrain and premium leather interior trim, a trim-specific suspension for a smoother ride, and larger wheels.
Finally, the Limited ($41,050) adds HID headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, tri-zone automatic climate control, perforated leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, Toyota Safety Connect, and an 11-speaker JBL audio system.
The Final Call
The 2017 Toyota Avalon is another solid offering from a brand that aims to provide quality and dependability. It has the added bonus of an upscale appearance and good performance. For the money you'd spend, the Avalon is a good bet. If you want an even lower price, consider the midsize class for something that fits your needs at a smaller cost.
Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.
- "Once the mainstay of the American family, the full-size sedan is now relegated to a smaller market. These ranks seek out a soft, luxurious ride but have no need for the tall ride height or fuel-thirsty appetite of a large crossover SUV. For them, Toyota builds the 2017 Avalon sedan, a proven commodity with a stellar reputation for reliability, performance, safety and fuel efficiency." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Ride may be too firm for traditional Avalon shoppers; all-wheel drive isn't available." -- Edmunds
- "The full-size 2016 Toyota Avalon is a practical sedan that seems to offer just about everything a luxury-car shopper might want. There's a smooth, comfortable ride; there are high-end appointments and a long list of standard and optional amenities; and there's even a fuel-efficient hybrid model that boasts excellent fuel economy." -- Autotrader (2016)
Research Prices: 2017 Toyota Avalon
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