2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid

Performance


#1 out of 9 in Large Cars

$36,550 MSRP
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2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.9

The 2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid gets the staggering fuel economy ratings you want from a hybrid, and it delivers the cushioned ride you desire from a large sedan. It might surprise you with its handling, however, as this Toyota remains composed on winding roads. The hybrid powertrain leaves a little room for improvement, though. It's adequately powered in most situations, but it occasionally feels a tad weak.

  • "On the road, the Hybrid doesn't feel significantly slower than the V6, with the electric motor making up for some of the four-cylinder's power deficiencies. And there's decent passing power to keep yourself out of trouble on the freeway. Given its excellent fuel economy and low price premium of $1,000 over a comparable V6 model, we think it's the powertrain to get for the majority of buyers." -- Edmunds
  • "I found the driving experience to be a strength in the previous version as it trended toward comfort and that remains true in the new Avalon. Things are sharper; it's more stable on turn-in, the ride is a hair more refined and the cabin feels more isolated. The added power is nice as well; it helps the Avalon feel luxurious since you get easy power in both the gas and hybrid versions." -- Cars.com
  • "Keeping in mind that the previous-generation Toyota Avalon was no slouch, it follows that the ride comfort and braking performance on this latest version -- while perfectly effective -- won't shock you. Steering feel and response, however, are exceptional, and this, combined with a new multilink rear suspension and stiffer suspension components, make driving the Avalon on 'interesting' roads much more satisfying." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The Avalon Hybrid features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors that combine to produce 215 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission, which is a type of automatic, comes standard. The Avalon Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 43 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway. Those are outstanding ratings for a large car, and they're the best ratings in the class by a long shot.

This hybrid isn't as powerful as the gas-only Avalon, which has 301 horsepower, and you can tell the difference between the two when you drive them. The Avalon Hybrid has ample power for most situations, and acceleration is generally passable. But sometimes – like when climbing hills – the Avalon Hybrid feels a tad underpowered.

  • The hybrid doesn't have as much top-end speed as the V-6, but I found it to be pleasant and smooth enough (minus that weird whooshy noise at takeoff that I don't know if I'll ever get used to)." -- Cars.com
  • For meandering drives like the routes we were offered, the hybrid performs as expected. The cabin was quiet and the technologies non-intrusive. The CVT is unnoticeable in its shifts—a good thing for CVTs—and the handling was pleasant and uneventful. Basically, this car represents everything the average Avalon owner would want. But it is a hybrid with an inline-four so when it came to anomalous steep ascents on the relatively flat, smooth roads of our loop, the engine let out a quarrelsome whine. 'But think of the fuel economy!,' it seemed to argue. Yeah, well, this hill isn't disappearing fast enough either." -- New York Daily News
  • Sure, the system's combined output of 215 hp is obviously less than the V6, but its acceleration is sufficient and an added motor for 2019 (which basically frees the drive motor from other duties) adds a bit more electric juice into the equation when starting off. This eases the load on the 2.5-liter, 176-hp four-cylinder and prevents some of the uncouth mooing and vibrations of other Toyota hybrids." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

The Avalon Hybrid soaks up road imperfections with ease, delivering the supple ride most large-car buyers want. It can also hold its own on a winding road, though it isn't the most athletic car in the class. Front-wheel drive comes standard in this Toyota. Drivers can also choose between four driving modes (EV, Eco, Normal, and Sport) that alter driving dynamics.

  • "The ride is the distinguishing characteristic. With the Limited, it doesn't take long for the smoothness to impress, especially in contrast with the previous generation." -- Consumer Reports
  • XLE and Limited models do great job of soaking up bumps with a ride that compliments (sic) the Avalon's more quiet cabin. XSE models are more engaging with firmer springs, dampers and suspension bushing that allow just a bit more road feel and slightly more responsive handling." -- CNET
  • "There's also the coolness of cruising through your neighborhood in pure EV mode. The brakes almost feel like normal, non-hybrid car brakes, too, which means coming to a smooth stop isn't the challenge it normally presents in a hybrid." -- Motor Trend
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