Offering Lexus-like comfort and amenities and more room than the midsize Camry, the 2011 Toyota Avalon is the Japanese automaker’s take on the traditional full-size family sedan. The Avalon is 8 inches longer than the Camry, with plenty of spread-out room for five passengers in the luxuriously appointed cabin. Performance from the 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 is more than ample. Meanwhile, the Avalon’s soft suspension soaks up bumps, and its low-effort but precise steering makes for a relaxed ride. Standard safety equipment includes dual front airbags, front-seat side airbags, overhead airbags, a driver’s-knee airbag, anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, and a brake-override system.
New for 2011 is a bolder, wider chrome grille, LED taillights and added bright accent trim on the exterior. Inside, bright OptiTron gauges, revised leather trim, a reclining rear seat, Bluetooth, a backup camera and new active head restraints are featured.
The Avalon is a good choice for families looking for traditional Toyota value and reliability but in a larger size, with more interior room and upscale fit and finish. See the 2011 Toyota Avalon models for sale near you
What We Like
Good ride quality; spacious interior; comfortable seats; good fuel economy; powerful V6; upscale interior trim
What We Don’t
Below-average luggage space; uninspired styling; clumsy tilt-telescopic steering-wheel controls; no trunk pass-through
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The 2011 Avalon is equipped with a 3.5-liter double-overhead-camshaft 24-valve V6 that generates 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. It burns regular unleaded gas and returns 20 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway with the standard 6-speed automatic transmission. The Avalon is equipped with front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is not available.
Standard Features & Options
The 2011 Avalon comes in base Avalon and Limited trims.
The base Avalon features a Lexus-like level of equipment. Standard items include leather seating, power front seats, driver’s-seat adjustable lumbar support, dual-zone automatic air conditioning with an interior air filter, a 9-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with SiriusXM radio, steering-wheel audio controls, iPod/USB jacks, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and streaming, wood-grain interior trim, a digital quartz clock, an overhead console, remote keyless entry, a tilt-telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power tilt/slide moonroof with a sliding sunshade, a leather-wrapped shifter, cruise control, automatic headlamps, a backup camera, a garage-door opener, front and rear reading lamps, a trip computer, a compass, an outside-temperature display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a trunk cargo net, a full-size spare tire, 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, a split folding and reclining rear seat, front and rear center armrests, intermittent wipers, dual exhaust, power windows, power door locks and power heated side mirrors.
The Limited trim adds perforated-leather seat trim, heated and ventilated front seats, driver’s-seat memory, passenger-seat adjustable lumbar, Toyota’s Smart Key system with push-button starting, a leather- and wood-trimmed steering wheel, a JBL 12-speaker premium audio system with a 6-disc CD changer, rain-sensing wipers, high-intensity discharge headlamps, a rear window blind and auto-dimming door mirrors.
Key Avalon options include a touchscreen navigation system with voice control, 18-in alloy wheels and a rear parking-assist system.
A new Avalon offers great value for your dollar, and as with all Toyotas, it has a great reliability reputation from both word of mouth and the various quality-rating organizations. Clean, low-mileage models retain their resale value well and command higher used-car prices. Moderating that somewhat is the fact that the Avalon tends to have older buyers and therefore is a less popular choice with younger drivers looking for the latest styling cues and sporty driving attributes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recall for the 2011 Toyota Avalon:
The trunk-mounted audio subwoofer speaker may short out and damage the audio amplifier circuit, which in turn may cause the subwoofer to overheat and increase the risk of a fire.
Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, they’ll fix the car at no cost to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
NHTSA did not rate the 2011 Avalon for frontal or side impacts but did give it a 4-star rating for rollover resistance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2011 Avalon a Top Safety Pick. It gave the Avalon Good ratings for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts, roof strength, and head-restraint and seat-crash performance.
Toyota covered the 2011 Avalon with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.
Toyota certified pre-owned (CPO) cars can’t have more than 85,000 miles on the odometer and must be 6 years old or less. Every CPO Avalon undergoes a 160-point inspection and gets a Carfax report. The Toyota CPO warranty covers the whole car bumper to bumper for 1 year or 12,000 miles, extends the original powertrain warranty to 7 years/100,000 miles and includes 1 year of roadside assistance.
Other Cars to Consider
2011 Buick LaCrosse — About the same size as the Avalon, Buick’s midsize LaCrosse sedan is stylish inside and out, but it doesn’t quite offer the same level of fit and finish or standard amenities as the Toyota. Front-seat area storage is limited, and trunk space is below par, but the LaCrosse is very quiet and smooth-riding. Powertrain choices include an uninspired 182-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder or a zippier 280-hp 3.6-liter V6, both teamed with a 6-speed automatic and the latter available with front- or all-wheel drive.
2011 Hyundai Azera — Slightly smaller than the Avalon but offering a considerably larger 17.0 cu ft. of trunk space, the well-equipped Azera aims to offer Avalon levels of fit and finish at a lower price. The engine lineup includes a 260-hp 3.3-liter V6 and a 283-hp 3.8-liter, both teamed with a 6-speed automatic. All Azeras come with front-wheel drive only.
When it comes to picking which 2011 Avalon you should buy, there are no bad choices — just different colors. With a solid reputation for durability and reliability, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with any Avalon. It’s not the most stylish choice, and it’s definitely not the sport sedan you’d select for a quick blast down a twisty back road, but with minimal service and upkeep, it’s probably going to hold together and cost you very little years down the road.
Do yourself a favor, and check out a CPO Avalon that’s been thoroughly inspected from road to roof. Failing that, look for a lower-mileage model that’s received obvious care. Regardless of your choice, make sure the Avalon you’re looking at has had any applicable safety recalls performed.