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2021 Toyota Avalon Review

The 2021 Toyota Avalon’s high ranking in the large car class is largely due to its above-average predicted reliability rating, comfortable ride, and lengthy standard features list.

Pros & Cons

  • Impressive standard features list
  • Classy cabin
  • Comfortable ride
  • Powerful V6 engine
  • Above-average starting price

New for 2021

  • Android Auto and an extra USB port now standard
  • Available all-wheel drive paired with a four-cylinder engine
  • XSE Nightshade Edition trim

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Toyota Avalon's #2 ranking is based on its score within the Large Cars category. Currently the Toyota Avalon has a score of 8.2 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 19 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 7.5
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.6 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Toyota Avalon?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Toyota Avalon a Good Car?

The 2021 Avalon is a great large car. Look inside, and you'll find top-notch cabin materials and plenty of space for adults to sit comfortably. In addition, this large sedan comes with lots of standard safety tech and a user-friendly infotainment system. Its V6 engine has plenty of pep, and the Avalon also manages to return some of the best gas mileage figures in the segment. Additionally, this Toyota is one of the few vehicles in the class to offer all-wheel drive. However, AWD models are only available with a four-cylinder engine.

Toyota also makes the Toyota Avalon Hybrid, which we review separately.

Why You Can Trust Us: 15 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 15 Toyota Avalon reviews, as well as performance specs, interior dimensions, fuel economy ratings, and more, to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

This 2021 Avalon review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2019.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Toyota Avalon?

You should consider purchasing the Toyota Avalon if you're looking for a large everyday family sedan. The Avalon has a higher starting price than its competition, though, so we recommend looking at well-ranked vehicles like the Toyota Camry and Kia Cadenza before making your purchase decision.

Find a 2021 Toyota Avalon for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Toyota Avalon: What's the Difference?

For the 2021 model year, Toyota adds Android Auto and an additional USB port to the Avalon's standard features list and pairs newly available all-wheel drive with a new four-cylinder engine. Additionally, Toyota introduces the XSE Nightshade Edition trim with black exterior accents.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Avalon »

Here are the key changes for the Toyota Avalon over the last few years:

  • 2017: adds several standard active safety features such as adaptive cruise control
  • 2018: no notable changes
  • 2019: fully redesigned with more horsepower, improved fuel economy, a larger trunk, and many more standard and available infotainment and safety features
  • 2020: TRD trim debuted
  • 2021: gains standard Android Auto and available all-wheel drive paired with a four-cylinder engine; XSE Nightshade trim introduced

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Avalon, 2019 Avalon, and 2020 Avalon reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Toyota Avalon Cost?

The 2021 Toyota Avalon starts at $35,875, making it one of the most expensive vehicles in the large car class. The top-of-the-line TRD trim has a starting price of $42,875.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

Toyota Avalon Versus the Competition

Toyota Avalon vs. Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry is a midsize car with many of the same attributes as its larger sibling. Both the Camry and Avalon come standard with a generous number of advanced safety features, and both have above-average predicted reliability ratings and user-friendly infotainment systems. The Camry comes with a four-cylinder engine, and it's available with a V6, while the Avalon comes standard with either a V6 or a four-cylinder engine with all-wheel drive. Choosing between these two vehicles comes down to price and passenger space. Stick with the Avalon if you need the additional rear-seat head- and legroom it provides. If you can do without the extra passenger space, consider opting for the more affordable Camry.

Compare the Avalon and Camry »

Toyota Avalon vs. Kia Cadenza

The Kia Cadenza is highly ranked large car with similar attributes to the Avalon. Both have spacious, upscale interiors and decent-sized trunks. However, the Cadenza comes with a longer warranty, more standard safety features, and a bigger touch screen, while the Avalon delivers better fuel economy, quicker acceleration from a stop, and available all-wheel drive. Your choice will come down to personal preference.

Compare the Avalon and Cadenza »

Compare the Avalon, Camry, and Cadenza »

Avalon Interior: Near-Luxury Comfort

Avalon Cargo Space

The Avalon's 16.09 cubic feet of trunk space is average among large cars, and folding down the 60/40-split-folding rear seats makes it easier to haul long items.

How Many People Does the Avalon Seat?

There's seating for up to five people in the Avalon. The seats are wide and supple, and the front seats are well contoured. Head- and legroom are plentiful in both rows, even for taller folks.

Avalon and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats, as well as a tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The middle seat can also borrow lower anchors from the outer seats. This LATCH system is among the easiest to use.

Avalon Interior Quality

The Avalon boasts a premium interior with soft-touch surfaces throughout the cabin and genuine aluminum or wood trim present in all but the base model. Synthetic leather upholstery is standard, and the Limited trim comes with leather-trimmed front seats.

Avalon Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Avalon's standard infotainment interface is easy to use. The system comes with both a touch screen and physical controls, which make it a breeze for drivers to operate. Previously unavailable in the Avalon, Android Auto now comes standard.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 9-inch touch screen, eight speakers, Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, five USB ports, satellite radio, HD Radio, and a Wi-Fi hot spot
  • Available infotainment features: navigation, a wireless charging pad, and a 14-speaker JBL sound system
  • Additional standard features: proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Other available features: a moonroof, a head-up display, and ambient lighting

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Avalon Performance: Powerful

Avalon Engine

The Avalon comes standard with a 301-horsepower V6 engine and front-wheel drive. XLE and Limited models can be equipped with a 205-horsepower four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive at no charge. Models with the V6 engine are more potent and quicker to accelerate, but all-wheel-drive models offer better road grip. Every model comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission that pairs well with each engine and delivers smooth shifts.

Avalon Gas Mileage

The base 2021 Avalon XLE with front-wheel drive gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. With the four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive, the XLE gets 25/34 mpg city/highway. With front-wheel drive, the other trims gets 21-22 mpg in the city and 30-31 mpg on the highway.

Avalon Ride and Handling

The Avalon has composed handling, and it provides a smooth ride, even over bumpy roads. A performance-enhanced TRD model with a stiffer suspension and a lower ride height is available, but these models still lean more toward comfort than sportiness.

Read more about performance »

Avalon Reliability

Is the Toyota Avalon Reliable?

The 2021 Toyota Avalon has a good predicted reliability rating of four out of five.

Toyota Avalon Warranty

The Avalon comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Avalon Safety

Avalon Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Avalon an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not tested the 2021 Avalon, but it gave the nearly identical 2020 model the highest rating of Good in all six crash test categories.

Avalon Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • LED automatic high-beam headlights
  • Forward collision warning
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist

Available advanced safety features:

  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Head-up display
  • Rear cross traffic braking

Read more about safety »

Avalon Dimensions and Weight

The Avalon is about 16.3 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,570 to 3,715 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Toyota Avalon Built?

Toyota builds the 2021 Avalon in Kentucky.

Which Toyota Avalon Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Toyota Avalon comes in five trims: XLE, Limited, Touring, XSE Night Shade, and TRD. The base XLE trim is an excellent choice. It's equipped with a good number of safety, infotainment, and convenience features. Plus, it’s available in your choice of one of two variations: a 301-horsepower V6 engine and front-wheel drive or a 205-horsepower four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. The Limited trim is the only other trim available with AWD. All others come with the V6 engine and front-wheel drive. Every 2021 Avalon features an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Toyota also makes a hybrid version of the Avalon, which we review separately.

Toyota Avalon XLE

Starting at $35,875, the base XLE has a 9-inch touch screen, eight speakers, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, Bluetooth, five USB ports, satellite radio, HD Radio, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. The XLE also comes with proximity keyless entry, push-button start, synthetic leather and heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated power outside mirrors, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Standard active safety features include forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and LED automatic high-beam headlights.

Toyota Avalon Limited

The Limited trim (MSRP: $42,175) gains heated and ventilated leather-trimmed front seats, heated rear seats, a moonroof, a head-up display, ambient lighting, navigation, and a wireless charging pad.

Toyota Avalon Touring

The Touring trim starts at $42,575 and adds exterior black accents to the grille and rear spoiler. It also gains a sport exhaust and active noise control, and it comes with synthetic leather and suede front seats.

Toyota Avalon XSE Night Shade

Starting at $39,110, the XSE Nightshade comes with everything in the base XLE trim and adds synthetic leather and suede front seats, a moonroof, a wireless charging pad, and exterior black accents for the window trim, antenna, and door handles.

Toyota Avalon TRD

The top-of-the-line TRD trim (MSRP: $42,875) includes the Limited trim's features and adds TRD accents to the rear spoiler, badging, exhaust, and floor mats, as well as red accents to the seat belts, steering wheel, badging, floor mats, and headrests. It also comes with synthetic leather and suede upholstery.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

See 2021 Toyota Avalon specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Toyota Avalon stands out as one of the front-runners in the large car class. It boasts an airy and upscale interior, easy-to-use infotainment technology, and a wealth of standard safety features. This Toyota also offers quick acceleration, great fuel economy, and available all-wheel drive.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The Avalon has few rivals—the large sedan segment is collapsing as more new-car buyers opt for SUVs—but it's one of the best of its breed." -- Car and Driver
  • "The … Avalon is Toyota’s flagship sedan, the big brother to the Camry. This full-size sedan has comfortable ride manners, a roomy interior, [a] standard V6 engine, and a strong history of reliability." -- Kelley Blue Book (2020)
  • "While SUVs look to be the future, sedans still represent around 30% of all new car sales here in the U.S., and as such, Toyota isn't quite ready to give up on them just yet, and the Avalon is arguably the strongest competitor in this shrinking, but not yet insignificant segment." -- Autotrader (2020)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: October 8, 2020

Plummeting Sales: The Avalon was last fully redesigned in 2019, but shoppers haven’t caught on. The Avalon is selling in the lower half of the large car segment and dealerships have moved 42.2 percent fewer Avalon models so far this year compared to the same span in 2019. In fact, when compared with the class sales-leading Dodge Charger, the Avalon is being outsold by more than 4 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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