What is it? The Avalon is Toyota's flagship sedan, and has long been one of our top-rated large cars. Toyota calls the 2011 version a redesign, but aside from some new sheetmetal fore and aft, the overall dimensions and powertrain stay the same. The smooth 268-hp, 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed automatic transmission carry over from last year. The rear seat is one of this car's best features, as it affords lots of stretch-out room and seatbacks that recline.
Trim lines have been reduced to two: the base model will start at $32,245 and a Limited version will start at $35,485. For that you get leather upholstery, heated and cooled seats, a "smart key" that can stay in your pocket, rain-sensing wipers, and an eight-way power adjustment for the front passenger seat. New features include a touch-screen navigation system with real-time traffic information and Bluetooth music streaming. Toyota says the Avalon will qualify as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle and will get an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway.
What's new or notable? Addressing current safety concerns, Toyota says the new Avalon will have a redesigned accelerator pedal assembly and a brake override system.
When will it be available? Late April, 2010.
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