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#1

in 2011 Affordable Large Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $20,629 - $22,001
Original MSRP: $33,195 - $36,435
MPG: 20 City / 29 Hwy
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2011 Toyota Avalon Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2011 Toyota Avalon is a highway cruiser, and in that regard it performs admirably. With a cushy suspension, reviewers note that the Avalon floats down the highway with minimal wind, road or engine noise reaching the cabin. The Avalon’s V6 also provides more than enough power when it comes time to pass slow moving traffic.

  • "Not surprisingly, the 2011 Avalon is at its best on the open highway." -- Edmunds
  • "This large sedan is well isolated from road imperfections, and is especially comfortable at highway speeds” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Compliance definitely trumps precision control in this spacious sedan, although few Avalon buyers are likely to take much issue with the relative balance that's been struck between the two." – Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The 2011 Toyota Avalon is powered by a 3.5-liter V6, making 268 horsepower. It comes only with a six-speed automatic transmission. The combination is good for an EPA estimated 20 mpg city/29 highway -- one of the most impressive numbers available in a large sedan. It's also good for as much acceleration as you'll need day-to-day, though the Avalon has no muscle car pretensions.

  • "There's ample power from a stop or for passing and merging.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "The standard 268-horsepower V6 engine accelerates the Avalon more rapidly than similarly powered competitors while still returning impressive fuel mileage estimates of 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway." -- Edmunds
  • "Its ubiquity may define it as ordinary, but this combination of engine and transmission is so buttery smooth that its gears could well be lubricated by cholesterol. Throw in the thick sound-insulation package and the result is a suitably powerful drivetrain that operates in virtual silence with shifts you practically need a stethoscope to detect." – New York Times

Handling and Braking

No one is going to mistake the Avalon for a great performance car. The cushy ride that works so well on the highway has some trouble keeping up on twisty roads. Reviewers note that given the Avalon’s pretensions this isn’t really an issue. Despite the car's huge size, reviewers like it’s tight turning radius. 

  • "The ride is always poised: isolated, but never floaty or undulating. Road noise is minimal. But the left and right all-season tires could be lobbing hand grenades at one another and the numb rack-and-pinion steering would never issue a battle report." -- New York Times
  • "On the road, our Avalon Limited tester feels smooth and well composed with a ride clearly targeted to the premium luxury segment." -- Motor Trend
  • "Avalon rides slightly more firmly for 2011, credit a move to 17-inch wheels and tires from 16-inch units." -- Consumer Guide

Next Steps: 2011 Toyota Avalon

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