Road Trip Companion: 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited
Just a few days prior to writing this, I had a completely different draft outline written on this 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid… as an automotive journalist, we’re here to help inform you, the reader on what’s new, what’s good, what’s bad, and basically our overall experience. During a trip to Colorado that would in tale an 800 mile road trip, I persuade Toyota seeing if I could something during the duration of my trip. They were happy to assist and presented me with the Avalon Hybrid… I’ll admit I was kind of hoping for the new Lexus GS200t or refreshed IS350 F SPORT, but beggars can’t be choosers. And besides, they were still kind enough to give me the hook up.
I took the Avalon Hybrid on a pretty amazing adventure crossing four state lines Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska; taking advantage of the 2.5L four-cylinder and electric hybrid motor engine. Its combined 180-horsepower engine, CVT transmission and 38 miles per gallon over those 800 miles saved on my wallet where it matter most. Even with it being a four-cylinder, the extra torque from the electric motor made driving a breeze providing sufficient power for passing other motorist and when I did find myself in town, the electric was hardly noticeable.
A car designed for sumptuous comfort lived up to its expectations – this fully loaded Limited had an extremely comfortable cream leather interior with power front seats. With temps getting into the 30’s at night, I certainly took advantage of the heated seat function and when the temps got hot in the afternoon, the ventilated function was put into overtime. If I had any passengers on this trip, they would have enjoyed the heated rear seats and third-zone climate control as well as the sun blocking from the rear power sunshade.
Sure it wasn’t the most enjoyable car to drive on some of the twisty roads – despite the Sport button. The vague steering was anything but entertaining. And the soft suspension provided tons of body lean in the corner. But it was comfortable, and it ate up the miles like nothing I’ve driven before.
But you see, on a dark, cold Saturday night, the air was thin as the sky was clear. You could see billions of stars for miles. I was on a country road somewhere in Nebraska, it was getting late, around 10:45pm, and I was enjoying the hilly road. I had the adaptive cruise control set for 65 mph and was listening to whatever stupid song I had on my iPod.
As I came over the top of a hill, there was a heard of deer standing in the middle of the road. In those few seconds when the brakes were applied, heard the collision warning beeping everywhere, everything flying off the front seats – my laptop, camera gear, and my Dr. Pepper – all landing on the floor before coming to a screeching halt. As I sat in the middle of this barren, isolated country road, the deer since scampered off, nothing mattered – not the JBL audio, not the heated seat keeping my tush warm, not that navigation that said 150 more miles to go, not even the pre-collision or blind spot monitoring. All that matter was how great these brakes were and how they not only saved my life, but saved me front having to make an upsetting phone call to Toyota from a hospital bed.
It’s moments like that, as a journalist we become bias, because now the Avalon Hybrid is the best car I have ever driven. If it had been that Lexus GS200t, I could have been going much faster than the posted speed limit – or a Toyota Highlander would have been too heavy to stop in time – so I thank you Toyota, for this Avalon Hybrid, as it is the best car I have ever driven and could potentially save your life someday.
|Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited Base Price:||$41,950|
|As Tested (including Options & Destination):||$43,285|
|2.5-liter Four-Cylinder & Electric Motor – 180-Combined Horsepower – 0-60MPH: ±7.5 seconds|
|EPA MPG: 40/39/40(city/highway/combined) – SSB Average: 38 MPG’s – Fuel Range: 575 Miles|