It feels like we’ve seen the Toyota Avalon before, not only because it was previewed at the New York Auto Show earlier this year, but also because it incorporates so many industry-standard features.
It would be unkind to call it a clone of anything in particular and it actually manages to create its own personality, even if it is inoffensively handsome rather than truly memorable.
Toyota has wisely moved this car to the increasingly popular semi-coupe fastback end of the sedan spectrum and in doing so has infused it with shades of Audi A7 and a smidge of VW CC but has largely managed to make it all hang together in a way that many of its recent efforts have failed.
Some have criticized its DRG but actually the lower grille is less dominant at standing hight than the images suggest and it gives a genuinely distinctive nose. And while the proportions of the Avalon are hobbled by its FWD architecture, the surface resolution is very good – certainly better than any of the current Lexus models.
The interior is very similar in theme to the latest Lexus GS with a very strong horizontal orientation that is given driver focus not by wrapping the controls around him but by the creation of layers of controls all along the horizontal axis. Perceived quality is poor in parts with plenty of hard plastics but then its competitors are little better and are less inviting.
Overall it’s a surprisingly appealing package that feels more like a cut-price Lexus than a fancy Toyota.
By Owen Ready