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The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide
THOUGH LARGE, AVALON BOASTS TREMENDOUS LIVELINESS

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
If you are looking for a large sedan that delivers smooth and linear acceleration with first-rate steering and body control, then the Avalon should be at the top of the list. The front-wheel-drive Toyota is the near-perfect ride, whether you want to dodge peak-hour traffic or cruise the highway this summer.
A 3.5-liter V-6 engine blasts off 268 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 248 pounds-feet of torque at 4700 rpm. Though the 6-speed auto gearbox is up to the mark, we would not be surprised if Toyota ups the ante for the next Avalon revamp. MacPherson struts shared up front and in the rear do an admirable job of absorbing bumps and potholes. Communicating what the Toyota is up to at all times is an accurate power rack-and-pinion steering system.
The Avalon displays a chrome grille surround flanked by quadra-beam LED headlights and fog lamps. Resin scuff door plates greet the occupants into a superbly fitted and finished cabin made upscale with generously sprinkled black woodgrain-style on the steering wheel, door panels, shifter knob and center console. Amid a black/gray background are located attractive white pointers on white illuminated instrument gauges. Other standard amenities are power tilt/slide moon roof, dual-zone auto a/c, keyless entry/engine start, eight-way power and heated/cooled front seats, rearview camera, 7-inch touch screen for audio, phone and nav controls. Trunk space is an incredibly large 16 cubic feet while passenger volume is also laudable at 103.6 cubic feet.
The now-standard Toyota Safety Sense includes a pre-collision system that detects pedestrians, lane departure assist and dynamic cruise control. Other safety features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, front knee airbags, vehicle stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert, front and rear crumple zones, side impact door beams, three-point seatbelts for all, tire pressure monitor and daytime running lights.
The engine provides plentiful pep for the somewhat hefty Avalon. A high-class cabin and admirable fuel economy (23 mpg combined average) add to the appeal of the Toyota flagship sedan.

AVALON (TOURING)
Tires: 225/45R18
Wheelbase: 111 inches
Length: 195.3 inches
Fuel capacity: 17.2 gallons
City: 21 mpg
Highway: 30 mpg
Weight: 3,505 pounds
Base price: $37,900
Web site: www.toyota.com

CALLING ALL TOYOTA DEALERS IN THE WEST CENTRAL AREA: if you would like to be listed here as one of the test-drive dealerships, e-mail us at motoringtampabay@gmail.com