Suppose you want a large sedan, but you don't want the mediocre fuel economy that comes with it. Until recently, you would have been out of luck, but now you can drive a 2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid. Toyota's full-size sedan has been equipped with the company's vaunted 4-cylinder hybrid technology, and the result is a spacious, luxurious 4-door that gets an astounding 40 miles per gallon in mixed driving. Here are five reasons why you need an Avalon Hybrid in your life.
Incredible Fuel Economy
The headline news here is measured in mpg. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Avalon Hybrid returns 40 mpg in city driving and 39 mpg on the highway, so unlike most cars, it's actually better in congested traffic. Just how frugal is the Avalon Hybrid? The relatively tiny Corolla economy sedan is 20 percent less fuel efficient, yielding 32 mpg overall. Bottom line, we've never seen a large sedan sip fuel like this Toyota. It's one of a kind.
Of course, you can also choose the regular Avalon with its 268-hp V6, which is still rated at a respectable 21 mpg city/31 mpg hwy, but we were pleasantly surprised by the Avalon Hybrid's battery-assisted acceleration; we think you will be, too.
Toyota is quietly marketing the Avalon to livery companies as a Lincoln Town Car replacement, so you know it has a lot of space. The front seats provide ample room in all directions, while rear passengers are practically in another zip code back there. Moreover, just because the Avalon Hybrid holds a battery pack doesn't mean it can't hold a bunch of suitcases. Despite the batteries under the cargo floor, the trunk still measures a full 14 cu ft., which is pretty close to the regular Avalon's 16 cu ft.
Loaded With Luxuries
Some hybrids come with just the basics in terms of creature comforts, but the Avalon Hybrid isn't one of them. Standard features include xenon headlights with LEDs, tri-zone automatic climate control with rear controls, perforated leather, and a 7-inch touchscreen with a hard-drive-based navigation system. Of course, Toyota's luxury division, Lexus, will gladly sell you an ES hybrid for thousands more, but the smart money is on the cheaper, roomier Avalon and its impressive equipment roster.
Fun to Drive
Nope, not a misprint. This large-and-in-charge hybrid sedan somehow manages to feel playful from behind the wheel. Toyota made nimbleness a priority with the latest Avalon generation, and that's clear every time you take a corner. The Avalon Hybrid keeps body roll pretty well in check, and the steering is surprisingly responsive. Avalons used to be barges with wheels, but now they're well-rounded athletes.
Still an Easy Rider
The Avalon may be sportier than ever, but Toyota hasn't lost sight of the car's fundamental mission. Longtime Avalon fans expect a quiet, smooth ride, and that's exactly what the Avalon Hybrid delivers. On rough urban pavement, the Avalon shrugs off hard impacts. When you get it out on the highway, it glides down the road like the premium car it is. If you want a hybrid that doesn't act like one on the open road, the Avalon Hybrid is at your service.
If you like the idea of subcompact fuel economy and near-luxury accoutrements in the same spacious package, the 2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid stands alone.