Red 2019 Toyota Avalon driving on a country road by wheat fields

The 2019 Toyota Avalon makes moves to appeal to a broader base

The Toyota Avalon has been an attractive full-size sedan option since its first release as a 1995 MY car way back before the XL grille was invented. It's popular, but not exactly widespread. It's affordable, but not cheap. It's responsive and has good acceleration, but it's not really a sports car. It comes with a lot of features, but until recently, it's left some things on the table.

The Avalon is the largest four-door car in the Toyota lineup, sitting above the midsize Camry and the compact Corolla. It underwent a major redesign for the 2019 model-year, and Toyota has seriously upgraded its big family sedan, setting its sights on top competitors like the Nissan Maxima, the Chevrolet Impala, the Buick LaCrosse, and even the Lexus EX--its parent-company counterpart.


New updates for the 5th generation Avalon

This is the first real design for the Avalon since 2013. The new fifth-gen Toyota Avalon has been re-engineered to ride on the brand's new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform--a global vehicle design system that promises better handling, better center of gravity, better interior quiet with reduced NVH (Noise/Vibration/Harshness), and improved efficiency. The new model is lower, wider, and longer than the 2018 model, with a longer wheelbase and a redesigned roofline that slopes gently back toward the rear. The "sportback" look is very in right now, and it seems like Toyota is cashing in in a subtler way.

This is one of the most all-new Toyota cars in years, because it's not just updated on the outside. The platform is different, the look is different, the interior is different. But, at the same time, everything feels familiar. Toyota knows its market, it knows its base, and it knows what the people want. These updates and upgrades don't come at the expense of a great build, quality materials, or legendary Toyota reliability and durability.

Trim levels include the XLE, XSE, Touring, Limited, Hybrid XLE, Hybrid XSE, and Hybrid Limited. The all-new 2019 Toyota Avalon will start around $35,000, and is for sale now across the country.

Exterior styling to improve aerodynamics--and to add some eye candy

Aerodynamics don't always translate directly to fresh style. After all, the Nissan LEAF is aerodynamic, and look how that turned out. But, when it came to re-shaping the Avalon, Toyota did a great job of balancing the sculpting of a sleek body for optimal air flow--with the creation of a stunning design that can be attractive just standing still. Tangential vents located on the far sides of the front bumper help to streamline the air as you drive--while available options like a rear diffuser, rear spoiler, and underbody panels can all play a part in dropping the total drag coefficient of the new 2019 Avalon to a mere 0.27.


Exterior design options include a blacked-out grille and black-bordered headlights on the sportier trims; silver-trimmed headlights and a smoky-grey and chrome-accented grille on luxury-leaning trims; and quad exhaust tips at the back with cool, hip sequential turn signals that some people might actually use to indicate when they're going to change lanes, or turn.

Exterior colors include Wind Chill Pearl, Harbor Gray Metallic, Opulent Amber, Celestial Silver Metallic, Midnight Black Metallic, Ruby Flare Pearl, Brownstone, and Parisian Night Pearl.

Toyota finally gives in--and adds Apple CarPlay

Yes, this actually might be the most exciting addition to the Toyota Avalon--because the 2019 model represents the very first Toyota to finally give in to peer pressure, and add Apple CarPlay on top of its standard Entune multimedia options and infotainment system capabilities. Android Auto is still missing from the tech lineup, but it's likely to be slipped in as a feature in the coming years.


You can now, finally, blissfully, enjoy seamless integration for your Apple smartphone (sorry, Android and Google fans) via a sharp new 9.0-inch touchscreen that's prominently built at the top of dashboard, standing up above the flat surface of the dash, but flowing easily down into touchable controls for your seat heating, climate control, and other comfort functions.

Apple CarPlay--for diehard Toyota-only drivers who may not know what it does--is a built-in feature in the new 2019 Toyota Avalon that can essentially display the same media, features, call info, phonebook contacts, and more that you'd find on your phone's face, right on your infotainment system display. All you'll have to do is plug your iPhone (phones only--tablets won't work) in using a USB cable, and you're good to go.

Why and how did Toyota hold off this long on adding a feature that's been a main selling point on so many of its competitors, and that's starting to become as normalized as air conditioning, a rearview camera, and cruise control? Nobody really knows--we'll just quietly appreciate this move.

More tech than ever: is this the smartest Toyota Avalon yet?

It's not just Apple CarPlay that makes the Avalon a truly tech-savvy new sedan option. If you don't have an iPhone (yes, there are some holdouts still), you can still benefit from some media functionality through the Avalon's Entune 3.0 system, which comes with an App Suite, available navigation, and even available onboard WiFi for up to five devices.


The sedan boasts standard fast-charging USB ports in the front and back to keep fussy passengers happy and devices juiced up. If you're up front, you can set up your smartphone with Qi-compatible tech and charge wirelessly by placing your phone under the center stack. It might not seem like a must-have feature, until you realize that you could charge your phone without ever actually having to remember to charge your phone.

In the same vein of "Wait, what?" the 2019 Toyota Avalon--a car that might seem like it's geared toward an older buying market--also brings newly updated Toyota Remote Connect, an app that can connect you to your Avalon. You can unlock doors, remote-lock the car, find your car, or even start the engine, through the magic of Apple or Android smartwatches.

Hefty power plants to offer practicality or performance

2019 Toyota Avalon gas-only models come standard with a powerful 3.5-liter V6 DOHC engine, that's good for 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque--a 33 HP boost from last year's model, and an increase of 19 LB-FT of torque. This impressive standard option pairs to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy estimates for the 2019 Avalon are around 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, with 26 mpg combined.

Hybrid trim levels don't try to motor up a V6, opting instead for a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine setup with two electric motors and a continuously variable automatic transmission. The combined system is good for a decent 215 horsepower combined. Instead of putting the big battery below the trunk, Toyota has hidden it underneath the passenger seat, so this hybrid won't suffer from decreased cargo space like many of them do. Fuel economy estimates for the 2019 Avalon Hybrid are around 43 mpg city and 44 mpg highway, with 44 mpg combined.

Star safety features come standard

The 2019 Avalon is following in the footsteps of its fellow Toyota vehicles--and an increasing number of competitors across the industry--by offering a stunning number of safety, security, and driver-assistance features as standard equipment. The Star Safety System offers Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-Lock Braking, Electronic Brake-Force Distribution, Brake Assist, and Smart Stop Technology, but these are pretty typical options for the price range.

The addition of a Standard Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) system, though, is a bit of a bigger perk, and adds:

•    Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection
•   LaneDeparture Alert with Steering Assist
•    Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
•    Automatic High Beams

On top of standard features, there's also a number of available safety and driver-assistance features for the 2019 Avalon, as well, including LED Adaptive Cornering Lights, Bird's Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan, Intelligent Clearance Sonar System, Rear Cross-Traffic Braking, and a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.

That's a lot of stuff, but it shows that Toyota is really playing to its strengths, and appealing to its predominantly family-oriented base, by bulking up on safety.

A luxury car with resale value? Yes, it does exist

One of the big downsides to buying a premium car is, typically, depreciation. Walk out of the showroom with a BMW, a Mercedes-Benz, or an Acura and you've already lost a few thousand dollars. But a slow depreciation, incredible resale value, and strong durability are all major factors for why people buy Toyota, and the 2019 Avalon isn't likely to be an exception to the rule.

Add to that, standard ToyotaCare: the brand's program that includes two years or 25,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance with the lease or purchase of a new car, that covers basic services and gives you some peace of mind with 24-hour roadside assistance.

It looks, drives, and acts like a luxury car. It'll actually be worth something in five years. It will likely need only basic maintenance to last up into the six figures on the odometer. And, it has Apple CarPlay. You'd have to really bury your head in the sand to not see the appeal of the all-new Avalon.

Compare the Toyota Avalon vs the Competition