Seat Time: A Car for Camelot?

June 14th, 2016 at 2:07pm

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Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Chip Drake
Vehicle: 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited
Price: $43,285 (as tested)

Final Impression:

Legend has it that King Arthur had one… though I think it’s safe to say it wasn’t a hybrid. Of course I’m talking about Avalon which, in Arthur’s case, was the island of his final rest, while for Toyota it’s the name of its popular flagship sedan. And though this fourth generation vehicle may not be able to move a round table anytime soon, it can certainly transport five knights comfortably.

Under the hood, this Avalon is equipped with Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system; a 2.5L, 4 cylinder engine that gets a combined 40mpgs which bests its competition by about 10 miles. And with apologies to Arthur’s steeds Llamrei and Hengroen, there’s absolutely no lag in the powertrain when you need the car to get up and go.

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But for me, when you talk Avalon overall comfort is the key.

I drove the Parisian Night Pearl model in congested city traffic as well as out on open the highway and never once felt cramped or fatigued: the spacious cockpit and its power adjustable heated and cooled leather front seats saw to that. In addition, this Avalon comes standard with Toyota’s Entune system, which not only linked my phone with the car faster than Arthur pulling Excalibur from the stone, but also provided convenient use of entertainment options as well as navigation tools.

The couple days I spent test driving the car allowed me to concentrate on Avalon’s interior and driving dynamics. It was smooth, steady and comfortable as mentioned above. Maybe not quite the Holy Grail of hybrids, but certainly a treasure in the Toyota lineup that any royal or serf would enjoy.

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