In large sedans, there are plenty of options to choose from, from mundane people movers to luxurious European sport sedans. Somewhere in the middle, is perhaps the best of them, the 2018 Toyota Avalon. What makes the 2018 Toyota Avalon one of the best large sedans on the market? Perhaps it’s because Avalon strikes such a wonderful balance between all the things that make large sedans great, just the right amount of premium materials and craftsmanship, power and fuel economy, all at a price that won’t make your accountant scream.
When making the last of the Gen IV Avalon, Toyota didn’t make many changes to the 2018 model year, which makes it a known quantity. Toyota Avalon’s high-class cabin comes with plenty of safety, convenience, and technology features, some of them highly visible and others not so much. For example, both drivers and passengers enjoy a spacious and comfortable cabin, even in the back seats, a recognizable limitation in the typical mid-size and small sedan. Toyota Entune infotainment system and the climate control are easy to use and placed for easy access, but some might balk at the lack of “modern” technology features, such as the lack of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay connectivity.
Drivers will appreciate the 2018 Toyota Avalon’s exceptional front visibility and active and passive driver assistance features. The 3.5-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission offer plenty of power, smooth shifting, and respectable fuel economy. One wouldn’t call it thrilling, but manual-mode shifting and a stiffer suspension, revised in 2017, is significantly less boat-like than previous iterations.
Outside, the 2018 Avalon remains unchanged from the 2017 model year, after a 2016 exterior refresh, and is available in five trim levels and nine color choices. Interestingly, the trim levels are the same as last year, but the names have been shortened. For example, Avalon XLE Touring is now simply called Avalon Touring, while Avalon Hybrid XLE Touring Premium is now just Avalon Hybrid XLE Premium. Avalon’s exterior is still fairly non-descript, but has enough personality to help it stand out from the crowd without shouting, “Hey, look at me!”
The biggest change to the 2018 Toyota Avalon, in comparison to previous years, is Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), a suite of safety and driver-assistance technologies. Previously available only as an upgrade, TSS-P is standard on all 2018 Avalon, across all trim levels. The standard TSS-P package includes Toyota Pre-Collision System, with Pedestrian Detection (PCS-PD), Lane Departure Alert, with electronic Steering Assist (LDA-SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), and adaptive cruise control, Toyota’s Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).
Very little has changed with the 2018 Toyota Avalon, marking the end of the fourth generation, and a fine end, at that. With pricing between $30K and $40K, the 2018 Toyota Avalon offers a comfortable drive without being pretentious. All in all, Avalon offers more luxury and comfort than a Camry, but is a more sensible choice than a Lexus ES350. The 2018 Toyota Avalon appears to be the last of the non-descript Avalon generations, with the debut of the 2019 Toyota Avalon at the Detroit Auto Show, a bold new vision of the marque’s largest luxury sedan.