As the flagship sedan, the 2011 Toyota Avalon is the automaker’s largest car and shares many components with its upscale kin at Lexus, including a 268 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine.
Introduced in 1994 as a 1995 model, the Avalon has undergone several redesigns and styling updates including for the 2011 edition that debuted in April 2010.
The 2011 Avalon has two trim lines — the base model and upscale Limited. Although considered a styling upgrade from 2010, the new model has vast changes — a redesigned instrument cluster and center console to new wood trim and a more refined rear and front fascia.
Now standard is a back-up camera with navigation screen or rear view mirror display, new tail lights, 17-inch wheels, an improved suspension, upgraded sound system and better gas mileage.
The Weekly Driver Test Drive
Not many cars immediately like wearing favorite pair of slippers. But that’s how I felt driving 2011 Toyota Avalon. It’s a comfort car. It’s also sophisticated, unpretentious and behaves well in any circumstance.
Take it on a quick trip to the market or on a long highway trek. It’s nimble around town and advances along the open road like it belongs there without hesitation.
I drove the Limited edition for my weekly review and never wanted to leave the car. It wasn’t overtly fast or over-the-top luxurious and nor did it have the best sound system. But the overall package was among the best values in the sedan segment.
It drives well. It’s quiet. It’s well appointment, and its 22/29 mpg estimates play well in the crowded sedan segment.
Ideal mix of simulated wood interior trim and leatherette — steering wheel to console to doors.
Overall comfort. Upon first drive, it feels like a family room on wheels.
Puddle lamps under driver and front passenger doors.
The 2011 edition received the EPA’s Ultra Low Emission Vehicle rating.
Great exterior color. Officially, it “Sizzling Crimson Mica.” In reality, it’s deep, dark red.
Odd heated seat adjustment knobs.
Back navigation screen difficult to see in daylight.
Facts & Figures: 2011 Toyota Avalon
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 6.2 seconds.
Airbags Driver and front passenger front and seat-mounted side impact, front and read side curtain and driver’s knee.
Antilock brakes: Standard.
First aid kit: Yes (in trunk).
Fuel economy: 20 mpg (city), 29 mpg (highway)
Government Safety Ratings: Not tested.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $35,485.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.toyota.com.
Price As tested: $38,188.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years, 60,000 miles; Corrosion: 5 years/unlimited miles; Roadside assistance, 2 years/25,000 miles.
What Others Say:
“It’s perfect for a long road trip, with lots of passenger room and a good-size trunk.” —- AutoWeek.
“Not surprisingly, the 2011 Toyota Avalon is at its best on the open highway. The cabin remains quiet, the ultra-smooth V6 engine has plenty of passing power and the suspension swallows up road imperfections without drama.” —- Edmunds.com.
“Avalon is low on thrills and big on practicality and comfort. Shoppers looking for rear-seat passenger space, long-drive comfort, and who refuse to buy a 4-cylinder engine need look no further than this Best Buy.” —- Consumer Guide.
What The Wife Says:
“I liked the foot lighting under the doors, and it’s a very secure ride.”
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“Comfort to restrained power to styling, the Avalon is the sedan I thought I would be driving when I grew up. I guess I have.”