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2015 Toyota Avalon Preview

What will change? Very little, probably, given that Toyota redesigned its large sedan for the 2013 model year. Avalon got a sleeker look and new features, and gained a gas/electric hybrid version to go along with its V-6 model. A midcycle freshening could be on tap for model-year 2016, with an all-out redesign unlikely before model-year 2018.

Why wait for the 2015 Toyota Avalon: Mostly to see if Toyota updates any of the car’s paint colors or juggles the availability of a feature or two, with lower-line models receiving standard equipment previously offered only on the more expensive trim levels. This is what the company did with the 2014 Avalon.

Why buy a 2014 Toyota Avalon: Because you wanted to wait and see the critics’ and public’s reactions this large car’s model-year 2013 redesign. So far, so good, as highlights include the car’s rakish lines and more engaging driving dynamics, which go hand-in-hand with the interior room and comfort that were hallmarks of past Avalons. The only changes Toyota is making to the 2014 model are a standard rearview camera and slightly higher price for the base XLE model. Toyota is holding the line on pricing for other Avalons, including the Hybrid, but we wouldn’t expect this to be the case for 2015.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Styling

The changes Toyota made to Avalon’s looks as part of its 2013 redesign were all for the better. Gone is the stodgy, squared-off look of 2012 and earlier versions. The sportier theme is something we expect Toyota to keep in all future iterations of this large sedan.

Mechanical

Non-Hybrid Avalons should return for 2015 with a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Hybrids use a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a battery-powered electric motor, producing a combined 200 horsepower. Its sole transmission is a continuously variable unit that operates like an automatic. Like all Toyota hybrid vehicles, the Avalon can run on one or both of its power sources to balance acceleration and fuel economy.

Fuel Economy

EPA estimated fuel economy for the 2014 Toyota Avalon with the V-6 engine is 21/31/25 city/highway/combined while the Hybrid rates 40/39/40. We expect no changes to these figures for 2015.

Features

Some of the minor details might change, but expect the 2015 Toyota Avalon’s list of standard an optional equipment to largely mirror that of the 2014 edition. V-6-powered cars would reprise XLE, XLE Premium, XLE Touring, and top-line Limited trim levels. The Hybrid would be available as the XLE Premium, XLE Touring, and Limited, with equipment levels mirroring those of its conventional sibling. All models would include leather upholstery, heated front seats, keyless entry with pushbutton engine start, and a rearview camera. XLE Premium versions would add a power sunroof and universal garage door opener. XLE Tourings gain a navigation system with Toyota’s Entune App Suite and driver-seat memory. Limiteds have a high-end JBL-brand audio system, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a power rear sunshade. Optional on the XLE Premium and standard on the Limited is blind-spot alert with rear cross-traffic alert. A Limited-exclusive Technology Package includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, pre-collision braking, and an inductive wireless charging pad for supported smartphone and MP3 players.

QUICK HITS: With its sportier lines and high-tech connectivity features, Avalon’s model-year 2013 redesign was intended to make it more appealing to younger buyers. The available Entune App Suite allows users with a supported smartphone to access the following through the car’s central touchscreen: Bing web searches, iHeartRadio and Pandora streaming audio, MovieTickets.com, and OpenTable. Entune is fairly easy to use so even the non-technologically savvy can acclimate quickly.

Prices

Expect V-6 versions of the 2015 Toyota Avalon to start at about $32,000, including destination fee. The volume XLE Premium and XLE Touring would be in the $34,000-$36,000 range with the Limited topping out at around $43,000. Hybrids add a price premium of $1,700-$2,000, depending on which trim level you select.

Competitors

Buick LaCrosse, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Azera, Kia Cadenza, Nissan Maxima

Toyota Avalon Photo Gallery

About Ed Piotrowski

Ed Piotrowski has more than a decade of experience as a community and automotive journalist. As a former editor for Consumer Guide Automotive, he wrote new car news and reviews for the publication's magazine and website. He served as the lead editor of Consumer Guide's auto show coverage, managed its short- and long-term vehicle test fleet, and made regular appearances on a suburban Chicago radio station. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association where he served as the lodging logistics manager for the organization's annual Spring Collection road rally. Ed writes from Chicago's northwest suburbs.

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