Well, here it is, the all-new 2019 Toyota Avalon, which, to be honest, is the automotive equivalent of saying “here’s the all-new 2019 jar of mayonnaise!” I’m not trying to imply that the 2019 Toyota Avalon is a bad car, not at all. It’s not. What I am saying is that it is boring. Sure, sure, it has adequate power and handling, and enough comfort and convenience features and room to make you feel like you’re driving down the road in a medium-sized Tokyo apartment, but it is as exciting as getting pushed off a milk crate into a vat of marshmallow frosting.
Bland Or Bold?
Look, maybe I am being unfair here, but these things have always bored me to tears. I make no bones about either my general dislike of sedans or my firmly held belief that cars bleached of all spirit and soul are most likely to bleach me of my spirit and soul. I’m sure the 2019 Avalon is smooth and quiet and comfortable and reliable and slick and noiseless and relaxing and dependable and velvety and tranquil and secure and unfailing as a Kenny G solo, but no one in the automotive world will have their nether regions corrupted by this car. Ev-ver.
But (and this is a big but) if that is the kind of car you need at this point in your life, i.e. something innocuous, roomy, sedan-like, and Japanese, it’s hard to go wrong buying a 2019 Toyota Avalon. For 2019, the Toyota Avalon will come in four grades: XSE (which is all-new), Touring, XLE, and Limited. The Hybrid model Avalons come in XLE, Limited, and XSE.
As one would expect, the interior of the new Avalon is nicely thought out, with well executed comfort and tech features. The Avalon exists to get you from A to B and to do so without raising your heart rate (sad as that is). Depending on the trim level, you get stuff like specially engineered wood and a mix of Perforated Ultrasuede or Softex seats. Those seats come with either vertical stitching or a quilt pattern with special perforation, and two-color stitches.
Toyota points out how the soft-touch materials are noticeable throughout. It’s on the Piano Black trimmed center console, on the slim instrument panel leading into the doors, in the rear compartment – really just all over the place. That Piano Black finishing can also be found on the rear cup and device holders, and in the armrest between passengers. Throughout the interior are air vents, controls for the seat warmers, and USB charging ports.
The upholstery color choices, which I first thought would consist of beige, tan, taupe, champagne, and Caucasian, actually show more variation that that. The 2019 Avalon’s interior can come in Cognac, gray and beige, gray or black Perforated Ultrasuede, or gray, beige, or black Softex.
Curiously enough, for being such a big car in its past iterations, the 2019 Avalon is marginally smaller here and there. Toyota trimmed the overall height by an inch, chopped 0.8 inches off the rear deck, and lopped off 0.4 inches from the rear overhang, and one inch from the front overhang. Although smaller, the Avalon is a little wider, now up to 72.8 inches total. The wheelbase was extended by two inches. This is actually an old styling trick most popularized by the Wide-Track Pontiacs back in the 60s.
Of course there’s a big screen on the dash: a nine-inch multimedia display that controls audio, navigation, and climate control. Below the screen is a slide-open eBin containing a 12-volt plug and the standard wireless Qi mobile device charger. There are three USB power ports located inside the center console. The instrument panel itself is a seven-inch Multi-Information Display, showing vehicle information, turn-by-turn navigation, and various vehicle settings. Both Limited and Touring models come standard with a 10-inch Heads-Up Display for vehicle and engine speeds, turn-by-turn directions, audio settings, and drive modes.
The stereo is an Owsley Stanley grade JBL performance audio system. It features 14-speakers, 1200-watts of power, and a tuned 7.1-channel surround sound system. Fitting, since JBLs are known for their fine, mellow, warm sound reproduction.
Power & Performance
The 2019 Toyota Avalon comes with two powertrain choices: normal and hybrid. The normal internal combustion engine is an Atkinson cycle 3.5-liter V6 with direct injection and updated VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent Wide) and variable valve timing systems. Toyota says the V6 develops more power and better fuel economy through “D-4S direct injection” and the aforementioned updates to the VVT-iW and variable valve timing systems. Other V6 specifications include a 11.8:1 compression ratio; bore and stroke dimensions are 3.7-inches and 3.3-inches respectively.
The hybrid drive combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder (direct injected) plant with Dual VVT-i with VVT-iE (Variable Valve Timing intelligent system by Electric motor). This is coupled to Toyota’s Hybrid System II with a 650-volt electric motor and Continuously-Variable Transmission.
Availability & In Person
Expect to see the 2019 Toyota Avalon on sale this spring. In the meantime, the vehicle is on display at the North American International Auto Show at the Cobo Center, downtown Detroit. The show officially opens to the public on Saturday, January 20th.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format.