Toyota hopes to change some minds about the target demographic of the new Toyota Avalon. Now in its fifth generation، the 2019 model is built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) with a fresh، less tepid face and a 3.5-liter V6 packing 301 hp and 267 lb-ft. There’s even a sport mode. Clearly، the Japanese brand wants younger shoppers to look twice. Before you laugh yourself to tears، on a recent drive Toyota proved that less oxymoronic than it sounds...but maybe still not the best idea، according to the Auto Week.
Utilizing adaptive shocks، called Adaptive Variable Suspension، the Avalon driver can now select the “Sport” drive mode، which firms up the shocks، reduces steering assist and speeds up the throttle. The Avalon Touring even offers sport plus which، in addition to the aforementioned adjustments، changes the characteristics of the exhaust note with what it calls Engine Sound Enhancement. And، true to form، you hear more growl from the V6. But، enhanced or no، the transversely mounted engine is، first and foremost، a smooth and quiet powerplant designed to cruise serenely.
It’s also reasonably economical. Toyota took a couple hybrid tricks and incorporated them into every Avalon. With a high compression ratio of 11.8:1، you’d actually expect 3.5-liters worth of displacement to peak well above 300 horsepower، but this one runs on the Atkinson cycle، a more efficient but less powerful way to propel a car. The benefit comes with highway fuel economy in the 30s (32 mpg for the XLE trim، 31 for the others). Toyota binning the six-speed automatic for an eight-speed only helps، as does the front-wheel-drive drivetrain. All-wheel-drive isn’t available on the Avalon، but when pressed، Toyota strongly hinted something is coming soon.