The Avalon is a near-luxury sedan without the price tag of a similar car from a luxury brand.
The Camry is more value-priced than the Avalon and has fewer standard features.
Crossovers might be all the rage in today’s auto market, but there’s still plenty of room for sedans. Two strong options in the sedan market are the 2018 Toyota Camry and the 2018 Toyota Avalon. You might just see them as two Toyota sedans, but you might be surprised by how different they are. Let’s take a look at what’s different and what’s similar between the Camry and the Avalon.
One of the first things you might notice setting apart the Camry and the Avalon is the exterior styling. The Camry is all-new for 2018 with a fresh face, making it arguably the nicest looking Camry that Toyota has ever made. The Avalon, on the other hand, is in the final model year of its current generation before being replaced by an all-new 2019 model. That means this iteration of the Avalon has been around for a while and looks pretty familiar by now.
Another thing you might notice is the size difference. The Camry is a midsize sedan while the Avalon is in the full-size segment. Even though they’re in different classes, the Avalon is only a few inches longer and one inch taller than the Camry.
The Toyota Avalon fills a curious space between an economy car and a luxury car. It’s decidedly more luxurious than the Camry, but it doesn’t quite reach the opulence of a similarly sized sedan from a luxury brand like a Lexus ES. For example, every 2018 Avalon has leather seats, but to get leather seats in a Camry, you need to get up into the higher trims.
The new Camry’s interior is as bold and modern as its exterior. It has nicely designed lines tying the interior together with an infotainment screen that’s nicely integrated into the center stack. The Camry can also be optioned with interesting interior colors like red, which is pretty rare for a midsize sedan.
Another noticeable difference between the Camry and the Avalon is back seat space. Front seat headroom and legroom are about the same between the two, but back seat passengers are treated to a little more legroom in the back of the Avalon. In the Avalon Limited, back seat passengers also get heated seats and their own climate control, giving it almost a limo-like feel.
The Toyota Avalon has two different powertrain options and the Camry has three. The Avalon has a rather ho-hum base engine of a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers aren’t bad, but they also aren’t great for this class. It returns respectable fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon in city driving and 30 mpg on the highway. The other option is a hybrid 2.5-liter inline four that’s much better on gas at 40 mpg city/39 mpg hwy. The hybrid only makes 200 hp, however, making it a little underpowered for a car this big. If you’re not in a hurry and you want to save on gas, a hybrid Avalon is a good option for a big, efficient sedan.
The Camry’s base engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that produces 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. It’s great on gas with fuel economy numbers going as high as 29 mpg city/41 mpg hwy. Also available under the hood of the Camry is a muscular 3.5-liter V6 that cranks out 301 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. It’s more efficient than you might expect at 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy. You can also get a hybrid Camry that only makes 176 hp, but has awesome fuel economy numbers of 51 mpg city/53 mpg hwy, making it about as efficient as a Prius.
Generally, the engines in the Camry are more competitive with other cars in its respective class than the Avalon’s engines. Both are very efficient in the hybrid guise, and they both benefit from only modest price increases for the hybrid models over their conventional counterparts.
Features and Technology
The Avalon is generally better equipped than the Camry, but there are a few impressive standard features in both cars. Most notably, every trim of both cars comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense-P (TSS-P) safety tech suite. TSS-P includes lane-departure alert, dynamic radar cruise control, automatic high beams and a pre-collision system. These are really nice features to have to make you and everyone you share the road with safer.
When you get higher up in the trims of the Avalon, it reaches levels of luxury you can’t find in a Camry with features like a power rear sunshade and premium perforated leather seats that are nicer than the ones that are available in the Camry. That said, the Camry can still get pretty nice at a more reasonable price point.
The Camry has an affordable starting MSRP of $23,645, while the Avalon starts at $33,500. With a price difference of almost $10,000 just at the base trims, that’s a pretty big leap to go from a Camry to an Avalon. If you want a hybrid, you’ll find a similar pricing gap. The most affordable hybrid Camry you can get starts at $27,950, and the hybrid Avalon starts at $37,500.
The price of the Avalon might sound steep, but it’s pretty affordable compared to similarly equipped cars from luxury brands. The Camry is very competitively priced with other midsize sedans.
The Toyota Camry’s big refresh for 2018 will make it more attractive to most buyers than the Avalon, especially when you factor in the price. However, the Avalon still presents a good value in full-size sedans with a lot of room and a well-appointed interior. If you’re looking for sensible, affordable family transportation, then you’ll find a lot to love in the Camry. If you have some extra room in your budget and want a luxury sedan without paying for a luxury brand, the Avalon is a great option for a big, comfortable sedan.