What is it? A decidedly more aggressive looking remake of Toyota’s terminally somnolent Avalon.
Why does it matter? Truth be told, it may not matter all that much. Sedans, as we are constantly told, on their death bed and none more terminal than the full-sized segment behemoths that used to attract anyone looking for roominess and a soupcon of luxury. On the other hand, there’s a least a semblance of an argument that E-segment sedan sales have slipped because the products offered were so damn boring. Toyota, as it did with the almost as banal Camry a year ago in Detroit, is challenging that orthodoxy in the hope of reviving sales in the flagging segment.
When is it coming? Spring 2018.
Should you buy it? Well, the Avalon certainly makes a good case for a rebirth in large sedans. For one thing, going against the tide of small turbocharged fours replacing mid-sized sixes, the Avalon is still powered by a 3.5-litre V6. And not just a carryover from the previous model. No, the Avalon’s 2GR-FKS V6 is all-new (which sort of implies it will be around for some time) marrying VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent Wide) power and Atkinson cycle efficiency.
Toyota says it offers both more power and better fuel consumption, but doesn’t detail exactly how much of both. And to make sure you know it’s still powered by a V6, the new 2GR is enhanced by Intake Sound Generator (ISG), grade-specific exhaust baffle tuning and Engine Sound Enhancement (ESE), all to exemplify — or rather, amplify — Avalon’s most adventurous zeal ever.
More immediately apparent is that this is not your grandfather’s Toyota, the new Avalon looking decidedly Germanic in profile and positively aggressive from the front, where the biggest splitter this side of NACAR resides. Inside there’s even more of a Wow! factor, the interior looking more Mercedes-Benz — Audi, actually — than Toyota, what with sumptuous letter, a humongous nine-inch multimedia system (MMS) screen and, I promise you this is now word of a lie, a 1,200-watt JBL sound system with no less than 14 speakers (including, because base-pounding disco is now geriatrics’ music, a 10-inch Dual Voice subwoofer).
Windows down, Stayin Alive can now compete head-to-head with the Gucci Gang blaring out of slammed Civics and over-amped Subarus. An E-Bin, meanwhile, holds a convenient 12-volt plug and three USB power ports (there are no less that five in new Avalon, Toyota obviously convinced that everyone, regardless of age, covets connectivity.
Toyota’s topline P version of its Safety Sense system is onboard with Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), and Automatic High Beams (AHB). Standard equipment includes no less than 10 air bags and options include Panoramic View Monitor with Alert (PVMA) and Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS), which now includes a Rear Cross Traffic Braking (RCTB) system.