The 2021 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is a hybrid full-size sedan. This car has virtually no direct competitors. Large sedans have been declining in popularity and some have been discontinued for the 2021 model year including the Kia Cadenza and the Chevrolet Impala. The few remaining full-size, non-luxury sedans in this class like the Nissan Maxima and Chrysler 300 do not have hybrid options. That leaves the Avalon Hybrid as a unique choice in big hybrid sedans.
Let’s take a closer look at the 2021 Toyota Avalon Hybrid and see if it’s the right sedan for you.
What’s New for 2021?
For 2021, a new lithium-ion battery pack replaces the nickel-metal hydride battery of earlier models. Also, Android Auto now comes standard on every Avalon Hybrid. See the 2021 Toyota Avalon Hybrid models for sale near you
What We Like
- Roomy, premium interior
- Big trunk
- Smooth, comfortable ride
- Efficient for its size
What We Don’t
- Most hybrid sedans are more efficient
- Pricing can reach luxury sedan territory
- Leather seats only come in the top trim
$37,100 to $43,400
The 2021 Toyota Avalon Hybrid achieves a fuel economy rating from the EPA of 43 city/44 highway/44 combined mpg in the base XLE trim. For the two higher trims, there’s a slight reduction in fuel economy down to 43 city/43 highway/43 combined mpg. These fuel economy numbers are great for a sedan this size, but smaller midsize hybrid sedans like the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Honda Accord Hybrid are more efficient.
Power comes from a 2.5-liter inline-4-cylinder engine mated to a pair of electric motors. The total output is 215 horsepower. Power is sent to the front wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
Standard Features & Options
The 2021 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is available in three distinct trims; XLE, XSE, and Limited.
The XLE ($37,100) trim is very well appointed for a base model. Standard features include LED exterior lighting, 17-inch alloy wheels, a 7.0-inch multi-information display, a four-mode switch (EV, Eco, Normal, Sport) dual-zone automatic climate control, SofTex faux leather seats, heated, power-adjustable front seats, 60/40 split folding back seats, auto-dimming mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a Smart Key system with push-button start, a 9.0-inch infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa, Wi-Fi hotspot capability, two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, and 8-speaker audio.
Standard safety tech on every 2021 Avalon Hybrid includes The Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) safety tech suite. This package gives you automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane-departure alert with steering assist, and automatic high-beams. Other standard safety tech includes blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
Upgrade to the XSE ($39,600) and you’ll enter a surprisingly sporty experience for a hybrid Toyota sedan. Features include a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, gloss-black accents, a rear spoiler, real aluminum interior trim, paddle shifters, aluminum pedal covers, suede front seat inserts, a power sunroof, a universal garage-door opener, and wireless charging.
Finally, the Limited ($43,400) model is a luxury sedan wearing Toyota badges. This top trim includes 18-inch chrome alloy wheels, navigation, JBL 14-speaker premium audio, adaptive cornering lights, premium leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, genuine wood interior trim, a color head-up display, ambient interior lighting, and a frameless rearview mirror.
A couple of available option packages for the XLE trim include a Moonroof and Wireless Charging Package ($1,000) and a Premium JBL Audio Package ($1,720) which also adds navigation. The Premium JBL Audio Package can also be added to the XSE trim for the same price.
Available for the Limited model is the Advanced Safety Package ($1,150) which adds a bird’s eye view camera with perimeter scan, front and rear parking sensors, and rear cross-traffic braking. You can step it up even further with the Advance Safety Package with options ($2,050) and add 19-inch chrome wheels and chrome exterior door handles on top of the extra safety tech.
The 2021 Toyota Avalon Hybrid gets the top “Good” rating in every crashworthiness category from the IIHS. It has also earned a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.
Every 2021 Toyota Avalon Hybrid comes standard with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane-departure alert with steering assist, automatic high-beams, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Additional available safety features include adaptive cornering lights, a bird’s eye view camera with perimeter scan, front and rear parking sensors, and rear cross-traffic braking.
Behind the Wheel
Driving the 2021 Toyota Avalon Hybrid truly gives you the serene experience of a luxury sedan. The battery-assisted powertrain delivers smooth acceleration, but it doesn’t have quite as much muscle as the V6 in the non-hybrid Avalon (reviewed separately). For drivers who prioritize comfort and efficiency over performance, this won’t be a problem.
The interior is spacious and thoughtfully designed. The back seats are very adult-friendly and you’re unlikely to hear any complaints from any of your passengers. We wish leather seats were available at a more affordable price point; you can only get them in the top Limited trim. However, the standard SofTex seats are plenty comfortable.
Driving the mid-range XSE model is a little sportier thanks to the re-tuned suspension and paddle shifters, but we’d stop short of calling it a true sport sedan. What you’re paying for is mostly the cool appearance package and a few added features like wireless charging, suede seat inserts, and a sunroof.
Overall, the Avalon Hybrid is not the most thrilling sedan, but it delivers on its promises as a premium hybrid that’s efficient, roomy, and comfortable.
Other Cars to Consider
2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid — Another option in hybrid sedans in Toyota’s own lineup is the Camry Hybrid. The Camry Hybrid is a little smaller and not as upscale as the Avalon, but it’s also more affordable and can achieve over 50 mpg.
2021 Tesla Model 3 — The more affordable variants of the Tesla Model 3 are in the same pricing territory as the Avalon Hybrid. The Model 3 is an all-electric sedan with exciting performance and advanced tech features and it has a range of up to 353 miles.
2021 Toyota Venza — The Toyota Venza is an all-new midsize two-row hybrid crossover with a fuel economy rating of 39 combined mpg. That’s pretty close to the efficiency of the Avalon Hybrid while adding SUV versatility, standard all-wheel-drive, and a lower starting price.
Used Lexus ES Hybrid — The Lexus ES Hybrid is a luxury sedan with a high-end interior that’s mechanically similar to the Avalon Hybrid. The current-generation ES Hybrid came out in 2019 and can already be had at a similar price point as a new Avalon Hybrid.
Used Lexus GS Hybrid — On the sporty side of hybrids is the Lexus GS Hybrid, which was discontinued after the 2018 model year. It offers more lively performance than the average hybrid plus an elegant, high-tech interior, but it’s not as roomy as the Avalon Hybrid.
Used Tesla Model S — The Tesla Model S became the gold standard of electric luxury sedans as soon as it debuted. It combines a stylish aesthetic with a premium interior and thrilling performance while achieving a maximum range of over 300 miles.
The 2021 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is a great hybrid sedan. It’s a unique option with virtually no direct competitors. It’s bigger and more luxurious than the Toyota Camry Hybrid or Honda Accord Hybrid, but more affordable than a similar hybrid sedan from a luxury brand like the Lexus ES Hybrid. The niche that this car fills is pretty narrow, but for the shopper who wants a premium hybrid without a premium price tag, the Avalon Hybrid is a sweet spot.
The top Limited trim is fantastic, but it’s priced higher than the base model of the Lexus ES Hybrid. The two sub-$40k trims offer better value while still being comfortable and high-tech. Find a 2021 Toyota Avalon Hybrid for sale