2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.1

To experience the 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid's best performance traits, take it for a cruise on the open road. There, it delivers a smooth, quiet ride, along with class-leading fuel economy. Power is decent (but not zesty), and the transmission drones under acceleration.

  • "The 2018 Toyota Avalon sedan gets its motivation from … [an] Atkinson-cycle 2.5-liter 4-cylinder hybrid powerplant … The whole system is self-contained, self-managed and seamless. If not for the hybrid badges and slightly slower acceleration than the V6 model, many drivers might not even know it uses both a gasoline engine and an electric motor to move." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The gasoline-electric powertrain delivers modest performance, mainly because its 200 hp is on the low side for a car the Avalon Hybrid's size. It is, however, notable for its quiet operation. Downsides are minor and include an occasional droning noise from the engine caused by the continuously variable automatic transmission and an (sic) nonlinear brake pedal feel that takes some time to acclimate to." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "This is the sort of inoffensive, unobtrusive ride that is the hallmark of a modern Toyota sedan. Enthusiasts won't get excited about it, but it's exactly what I'd be looking for in a large premium sedan were I in the market for one." -- CNET (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The Avalon Hybrid has a 200-horsepower rating and comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a continuously variable automatic transmission. It doesn't deliver the same level of eagerness as the V6-powered Avalon, but this hybrid still accelerates at a decent rate. As it works to get up to speed, the powertrain tends to drone. Still, these shortcomings are worth it if a high fuel economy rating is a top priority. The Avalon Hybrid's EPA-estimated 40 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway is best in the large car class.

  • Unlike the buttery 6-speed automatic of the standard model, the hybrid Avalon has a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that can drone but helps this full-size Toyota sedan achieve fuel economy equated with an economy car." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "In Edmunds testing, an Avalon Hybrid accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds. This is about a second slower than the regular, V6-powered Avalon or most other conventional large sedans, but it's respectably quick for a hybrid sedan." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "Indeed, we have few gripes about the Avalon's driving experience except to say that its acceleration is middling compared to the gas-powered model, but that's a small trade-off considering the Avalon Hybrid's impressive fuel economy figures." -- Autotrader (2016)

Handling and Braking

The front-wheel-drive Avalon Hybrid makes for a relaxing sedan. It's most at home cruising down the highway, but its light steering means it's also easy to navigate through a parking lot. The suspension absorbs most blemishes in the road and limits body roll, though some will prefer an even softer ride.

  • The latest Avalon sedan hasn't strayed far from the formula that has worked so well for over two decades: Provide driver and passengers a comfortable, quiet, plush experience. While most at home on the highway, the Avalon is easy to handle in the city and confined settings; it feels smaller than its size suggests." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • On the road, the 2017 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is an easy car to like, with its confidence-inspiring handling and smooth ride quality. On this last point, however, it bears mentioning that this current version does have a firmer ride than previous generations, so owners of older models will want to note the difference when taking a test drive." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "Although previous Avalon models have felt floaty and disengaged behind the wheel, that's no longer true with the latest version. Instead, the 2016 Avalon offers surprisingly sharp handling and good steering feel, even in the hybrid model, which usually gets the short end of the driving-experience stick." -- Autotrader (2016)

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