Thanks to a longer-wheelbase platform shared with the Lexus ES350, the new-generation 2014 Toyota Avalon offers more room than the midsize Camry. The Avalon is the Japanese automaker’s take on the traditional full-size family sedan, some 6 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. The Avalon’s soft suspension soaks up harsh impacts. Standard safety equipment includes 10 airbags — dual front airbags, front-seat side airbags, overhead airbags, knee airbags — plus anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, and a brake-override system. Also available is a front-impact-mitigating pre-collision system, dynamic cruise control, and blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems. New for 2014 is a standard backup camera.
Now with contemporary styling to match its luxurious content, the Avalon remains a good choice for families looking for traditional Toyota value and reliability in a larger size, with more interior room and an upscale fit and finish. See the 2014 Toyota Avalon models for sale near you
What We Like
Good ride quality; spacious interior; comfortable seats; handy eBin electronic device holder; good fuel economy; powerful V6; upscale interior trim
What We Don’t
Reclining rear seat discontinued; touchy, nonlinear brakes on hybrid model; no heated steering wheel
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The 2014 Avalon is powered by 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 is EPA-rated at 21 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with the standard 6-speed automatic transmission.
The 2014 Avalon Hybrid blends the output of a 2.5-liter gas engine and high-torque electric motor for 200 system horsepower. It works in conjunction with an electronic continuously variable transmission. Energy is stored in a large nickel-metal hydride battery. EPA estimates are 40 mpg city/39 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The 2014 Avalon comes in XLE, XLE Premium, XLE Touring and Limited trims.
The XLE features standard items such as leather seating, heated power front seats, driver’s-seat adjustable lumbar support, dual-zone automatic air conditioning with an interior air filter, an 8-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, steering-wheel audio controls, iPod/USB jacks, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and streaming, a backup camera, wood-grain interior trim, remote Smart Key with push-button start, a tilt-telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, automatic headlamps, a trip computer, 17-in alloy wheels, a folding rear seat with trunk pass-through, front and rear center armrests, intermittent wipers, dual exhaust, power windows, power door locks and power heated side mirrors.
The XLE Premium trim adds a power tilt/slide moonroof, a power trunk opener, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a compass and a garage-door opener.
The XLE Touring brings blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems, fog lamps, 18-in alloys, paddle shifters, driver’s seat memory, a 9-speaker audio system with SiriusXM and HD Radio, plus Entune access to smartphone apps for Pandora, iHeart Radio, Bing, MovieTickets.com and real-time weather, sports, stocks and fuel-price updates.
The Limited trim adds perforated-leather seat trim, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a JBL 11-speaker premium audio system with a 7-in touchscreen and navigation, 3-zone automatic air conditioning, rain-sensing wipers, high-intensity discharge headlamps and LED running lamps. Limited options include dynamic cruise control, a pre-collision system, a power rear window shade and automatic high-beam control.
The stylish and roomy 2014 Avalon offers great value for your dollar, and as with all Toyotas, it has an impressive 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.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2014 Toyota Avalon:
On models with the optional pre-collision system, the system may apply the brakes without warning if it mistakes a metal highway plate or steel bridge joint for an object or other vehicle on the road. This increases the risk of a crash.
The left front lower suspension arm may separate from the ball joint, creating a crash risk.
A potential fuel-line leak in the engine compartment presents a fire risk in the presence of an ignition source.
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, will fix the car at no cost to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
NHTSA rated the 2014 Avalon at five stars overall, with four stars for frontal impact performance and rollover resistance and five stars for side impact performance.
The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2014 Avalon Good ratings for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts, roof strength, head-restraint and seat-crash performance.
Toyota covered the 2014 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
2014 Buick LaCrosse — About the same size as the Avalon, Buick’s midsize LaCrosse sedan is refreshed inside and out for 2014, offering a standard 8-in IntelliLink infotainment system. 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 eAssist 182-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder hybrid rated at 25 mpg city/36 mpg hwy or a zippier 304-hp 3.6-liter V6, both teamed with a 6-speed automatic and the latter available with front- or all-wheel drive.
2014 Hyundai Azera — Built on a stretched Sonata platform, the 2014 Azera remains slightly smaller than the Avalon but offers a considerably larger 16.3 cu ft. of trunk space. Its mission remains to offer Avalon levels of fit and finish at a lower price. The Azera’s powertrain lineup includes a direct-injected 293-hp 3.3-liter V6, a 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
Cross a Toyota Camry with a Lexus ES350 and you’d get an Avalon. Now with attractive, sporty styling, the roomy, luxurious, full-size Avalon offers most of the ES350’s comfort and content at a Toyota price. The Avalon has a solid reputation for durability and reliability. It’s 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.
We’d take a V6-powered Avalon over the hybrid because the V6 has the power to complement the Avalon’s luxury. Check out a CPO Avalon or look for a lower-mileage example that’s received obvious care. Regardless of your choice, make sure the Avalon you’re looking at has had any applicable safety recalls performed.