The 2020 Toyota Avalon line gains a sporty TRD model with sharper handling and aggressive trim. That's a notable addition for a car known for its ride and comfort. The Avalon received a total redesign just last year, so there are no other major changes for 2020.
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2020 Toyota Avalon Overview
Choosing Your Toyota Avalon
The Avalon is available in five trim levels: XLE, XSE, Limited, TRD, and Touring. Pricing starts at $36,755 including destination for the base XLE and tops out at $43,455 for the Touring. The range is somewhat narrow because the top three trims are priced within $400 of each other.
Every Toyota Avalon gets the same 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Avalon achieves an EPA-estimated 22 miles per gallon city, 31 mpg highway, and 25 combined.
The Avalon is one of the quicker large sedans on the market. All models are driven by the front wheels – there's no all-wheel-drive option. Toyota offers a hybrid version (covered separately) that offers excellent efficiency, if not the same level of performance.
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
The Avalon offers full-size comfort for up to five adults. Rear leg room is impressive at 40.3 inches, which is less than 2 inches shy of the front. The trunk measures 16.09 cubic feet, which is average for a sedan of this size.
The Toyota Avalon lacks nothing when it comes to driver assistance safety technology. Standard features include lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. A surround-view camera system and rear automatic emergency braking are optional on the Limited and Touring.
The Avalon is an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus and earns a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.
The Avalon starts out with a 9-inch touchscreen, a wif-fi hotspot, a household-style power outlet, and two front and two rear USB ports. The eight-speaker sound system features HD and SiriusXM radio. Apple CarPlay is included, but Android Auto isn't available.
A 14-speaker JBL sound system with navigation is standard on the Limited and Touring, and optional on the other trims.
The XLE comes nicely equipped with features like power heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED headlights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and leather-like SofTex upholstery. The XLE rolls on 17-inch alloy wheels.
The JBL audio system and navigation can be added for $1,720, and a sunroof costs $1,000.
The XSE takes the Avalon in a sporty direction with firmer suspension tuning, 19-inch black alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and gloss black exterior trim. The interior receives paddle shifters, aluminum trim, and aluminum pedal covers. The sunroof is standard here, and the JBL system and navigation remain optional at $1,760.
The plush cruiser of the group, the Limited carries a comfort-tuned suspension, ventilated front seats, wood interior trim, perforated leather upholstery, wireless device charging, and 18-inch chrome wheels. The sunroof and upgraded audio system are also standard.
The Advanced Safety Package ($1,150) adds a surround-view camera and rear automatic emergency braking.
The new TRD gets some choice mechanical upgrades: tuned dual exhaust, stiffer suspension tuning, larger front brakes, and extra structural bracing. The outside wears aerodynamic body trim and 19-inch matte black wheels. The black SofTex seats feature sueded inserts and red stitching. The JBL unit and navigation revert to optional status ($1,760), and the Advanced Safety Package option drops away.
The Touring combines the Limited's equipment upgrades with the sportier trim found on the XSE. Exclusive to the Touring is an adaptive suspension system and active noise cancellation with engine-sound enhancement. The Advanced Safety Package returns as an option ($1,150).
The 2020 Toyota Avalon XLE carries the same engine and standard driver assistance feature as the higher trims, which makes it the best value in our view. While the TRD handles better than the rest, it's still not a proper sport sedan. We consider the TRD treatment to be largely cosmetic. Oddly enough, the Limited is the only choice for buyers who insist on genuine leather seats.
2020 Toyota Avalon Review
Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.
You can interpret our ratings in the following way:
5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.
4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.
3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.
2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.
1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.
- Capable highway cruiser
- Well-equipped trims
- High prices
- V6 isn't efficient
- Frenzied styling
Spacious cabin with comfy seats. Classified as a large sedan, the 2020 Toyota Avalon has an incredible amount of space. Even tall adults can fit comfortably in the back thanks to 40.3 inches of rear leg room. The Avalon has up to 104.3 cubic feet of passenger space, which makes it one of the most spacious cabins for the segment.
In addition to having loads of space, the Avalon’s seats are extremely comfortable. The standard eight-way power front seats offer a generous amount of leg room and head room, while being well bolstered.
Regardless of whether you’re planning a long road trip or a spirited drive down a winding road, the seats in the Avalon are snug and provide the support one would expect from a large sedan.
Striking interior and exterior designs. A Toyota badge may be on the Avalon’s grille and steering wheel, but if it were replaced with a Lexus badge, few would be able to tell the difference.
The exterior look won’t be to everyone’s tastes, as the massive grille, slim headlights, elongated body, sharp corners, and bold taillight design are polarizing. But the Avalon certainly has a striking look.
On the inside, things are more appealing. Smooth lines are blended next to sharp edges, creating a handsome look. High-end materials like real wood, aluminum, and soft-touch plastics are even found on low-end trims. The interior is so nice, it’s easy to think that you’re in a luxury vehicle.
Strong performance from a standard V6. As standard, the Avalon comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that churns out 301 horsepower. The naturally-aspirated V6 may be old compared to newer, turbocharged engines on the market, but the motor is strong and helps it accelerate briskly.
New for 2020 is the addition of a TRD trim. It doesn’t have more power, but comes with stiffer springs, upgraded shock absorbers, 19-inch wheels, larger front brakes, a cat-back exhaust system, and thicker chassis bracing for improved performance. The model also comes with a more aggressive look.
Because of the Avalon’s size and soft suspension tuning, the majority of trims are better suited for highway cruising duties. Even the sportier TRD trim fails to impress around corners like some smaller vehicles, excelling at being comfortable in a straight line.
Don’t look for excellent fuel economy from the Avalon. The V6 isn’t exactly efficient, as the EPA rates it at 26 miles per gallon combined for the base XLE trim and 25 mpg combined for the rest of the non-hybrid lineup.
Excellent safety features. Toyota packs every one of its cars with a great list of safety features, and it’s the same case with the Avalon. It comes with blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane keeping assist as standard.
The Avalon also scored well in safety crash tests. The NHTSA gave it a five-star overall safety rating, while the IIHS named it a Top Safety Pick Plus, the organization's highest award.
Final thoughts. As long as you go into the 2020 Toyota Avalon looking for a spacious, comfortable, and luxurious cruiser, the large sedan impresses. It has a powerful V6, loads of safety features, an incredible way of soaking up miles, and an upscale interior.
Despite its sporty design and available TRD trim, the Avalon isn’t the most athletic car on the market. We also understand that not every consumer will enjoy the Avalon’s unconventional looks. While other large sedans are moving to turbocharged engines and all-wheel drive, the Avalon soldiers on without neither.
The Nissan Maxima is the Avalon’s strongest rival. It comes with a V6 that’s nearly as powerful, but has a more upscale cabin on higher trims and is more enjoyable to drive. The Kia Cadenza is slightly more luxurious than the Avalon and has much more subdued styling, though its handling isn't sharp.
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