The Toyota Avalon, now in its third generation, established a new model for full-size sedans when the first-generation model was first introduced in 1995. Avalon provides an exceptionally roomy and comfortable cabin – including 40.9 inches of rear legroom – but with far better driving dynamics than customers had experienced with “traditional” full-size models.
The 2010 Avalon is offered in three grades, the standard XL, the extremely well-equipped XLS and the top-of-the-line Limited, which is comparable to near-luxury models for comfort and amenities.
Performance and Efficiency
All Avalon models are powered by a 3.5-liter, 24-valve V6 engine that produces 268 horsepower and 248 lb.-ft. of peak torque. Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (Dual VVT-i) and a dual-stage variable intake manifold ensure outstanding performance at all engine speeds.
The standard six-speed automatic Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) provides a sequential manual shift feature for a more involved driving experience when desired. The Avalon achieves an admirable estimated EPA fuel economy rating of 19 MPG city/28 MPG highway. The 2010 Avalon is certified as an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV).
Handling and Ride
Responsive handling makes Avalon engaging to drive, while ride quality remains a benchmark of smoothness. The XL model features 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, with 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels standard on the other grades. All Avalon models are equipped with a standard full-size spare tire.
For 2010, Avalon adds to its comprehensive list of safety features by expanding its auto up/down power windows with jam protection to all four windows as standard equipment. It was previously equipped only on the driver and front passenger windows.
The Avalon’s supplemental restraint system (SRS) includes standard front seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear side-curtain airbags that are designed to provide protection in certain types of severe side impacts. The Avalon also features a driver's knee airbag and front seat active headrests as standard equipment.
The standard anti-lock brake system (ABS) integrates Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). Standard Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) is designed to detect and help correct loss of lateral traction during cornering. VSC integrates traction control (TRAC) to help limit front wheel spin on slippery road surfaces. Brake Assist (BA) is designed to determine if the driver is attempting emergency braking, but has not stepped firmly enough on the pedal to activate the ABS. Maximum braking pressure is applied until the driver releases pedal pressure.
Comfort and Convenience
Avalon's elegant exterior is complemented by its refined interior, with outstanding fit-and-finish apparent throughout the cabin. The XL grade is extremely well-equipped and includes a standard premium AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer and nine speakers; dual-zone automatic climate control with air filtration; remote keyless entry; power door locks with an anti-lockout feature; eight-way adjustable power driver’s seat; and a center console storage area with sliding armrest. For 2010, Avalon the standard automatic up/down power window feature with jam protection and retained power for the driver and front passenger windows has been extended to the rear passenger windows. Music-playing versatility is assured by a standard auxiliary audio jack for iPod® or MP3/WMA music player connectivity to the audio system. All models come equipped with satellite radio capability.
Additional XL standard features include a tilt and telescopic steering column; steering wheel mounted audio and climate controls; multi-function information display with audio, climate control, temperature and trip computer; cruise control; engine immobilizer security system; and a maintenance indicator light. Rear passengers benefit from a flat rear floor that enhances comfort for the middle passenger, and the rear seats recline up to 10 degrees.
Building on the XL grade, the XLS adds a power moonroof; four-way adjustable power passenger seat; dual heated power outside mirrors with a driver’s side auto-dimming feature; auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass; aluminum door scuff plates; and an anti-theft system.
The top-of-the-line Limited offers luxury-grade comfort. The steering wheel is wrapped in leather, while the perforated leather-trimmed driver and front passenger seats are heated and ventilated. The front of the driver’s seat cushion length is power-adjustable, offering improved thigh support. The Limited also features a JBL Synthesis audio system with a six-disc CD changer and 12 speakers, and Bluetooth® wireless connectivity. This system is an available option for the XLS.
Additional amenities in the Limited include a one-touch auto-reverse power rear sunshade, memory driver's seat, rain-sensing wipers, HID headlamps and the Smart Key System. The standard rear sunshade retracts when the driver shifts from Drive into Reverse, then re-extends when the driver shifts back into Drive.
With Smart Key, the driver carries a light, compact key fob that signals a sensor in the car when it is near, turning on the puddle lamps and interior dome lamp, then unlocking the doors when the handle is touched. Once inside, the driver starts the car with a pushbutton. The driver can open the trunk by touching the handle when the key fob is carried near the rear bumper.
Options available on XL include a power moonroof and an anti-theft system. The XLS and Limited offer an optional eight-way leather power driver and passenger seat, while driver’s seat and outside mirror memory are optional on the XLS.
A navigation system is available for the XLS and Limited models. The navigation controls have surface-emitting illumination and hide away above the gated shifter. Maps, climate and select audio controls are shown on the seven-inch LCD color display located beneath the center air vents.
The Limited offers the Dynamic Laser Cruise Control system that is designed to maintain a pre-set distance from a vehicle traveling ahead. The system can reduce the Avalon's speed if the preceding vehicle slows down or another vehicle pulls in between. A Remote Engine Starter is available on all Avalon grades equipped with the factory alarm system as a port- or dealer-installed option. After the driver has started the engine by depressing a button on the key fob, the climate control system will use the most recent settings to help ensure cabin comfort quickly.
The third-generation Avalon was primarily designed at Calty Design Research in Newport Beach, Calif., developed by U.S.-based Toyota Technical Centers and assembled at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, Ky. Avalon exudes a confident stance, distinguished by a sleek grille with chrome accented horizontal bars and subtle character lines defining a contemporary profile. The lower intake valance houses fog lamps on the XLS and Limited models, and the Limited features chrome exterior door handles. Large tail lamps and an elegantly sculptured trunk distinguish the Avalon from the rear, while dual exhaust outlets add a sporty touch.
Toyota optimized the exterior design of the Avalon for minimal wind noise. Numerous small details contribute to lower cabin noise and vibration, including a reshaping of the A-pillar and side mirrors and lowering the position of the aerodynamic windshield wipers. In addition, the Limited model offers a specially designed acoustic windshield to further quiet the cabin.
Visibility-enhancing features standard on the Limited grade include high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps with dynamic automatic leveling, as well as side mirrors with integrated turn signals and puddle lamps.
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