I've had the 2014 Avalon XLE Touring Hybrid for about three weeks now. I'm really enjoying the vehicle so far. The fuel efficiency has been as advertised for the first 1000 miles. I've done a mixture of highway and city driving and have been averaging just below 39 mpg according to infotainment system. This vehicle fit my needs perfectly. I needed a daily driver that was really fuel efficient but had the space I needed to haul kids and sports equipment on the weekends. Check and check for this Avalon. It's pretty impressive to have a large sedan get this fuel efficiency and provide a large trunk and rear passenger space. The hybrid option was a no brainer for me.
After driving a Camry Hybrid for almost 4 years, I find the move to the Avalon Hybrid a nice step-up. The Camry was a very good, very reliable car for me and I got good value on the trade-in. The Avalon is more luxurious, and has a smoother ride, and slightly better fuel economy. I am finding that with the car not quite broken in yet, my Avalon is getting very close to the EPA mileage estimates. I do not understand the comment about "grabby" brakes. Contrary to the test review, I have found Toyota has done a good job of integrating regenerative braking with normal braking. The new Avalon has improved on this aspect of performance.
Update: NAV system is a misnomer in my opinion. There have been no software updates since the software was launched in 2013. Roads change, but Toyota has no updates, thus accuracy is absent. Basically, I have a map that shows others generally where we are. My new TOMTOM GO600 is my "real" NAV system. Gas mileage is good -- north of 34 mpg overall. Adaptive speed control is super. My Parkway Toyota service center (really the staff) is a delight. = = = = = = NAV system is primitive compared to my five year old TomTom™. There’s no 3D, there are no traffic light cameras and there is no display of current speed limits. Programming the NAV is tedious. In seven years the NAV system has moved ahead one year in its development [see below]. Further, the NAV system voice even at the lowest level #1 is much too loud; and there is no way to lower the volume, save disabling all sound. It is far louder than my 2007 Toyota Avalon Limited at sound level #1. There is a plastic chrome bezel around the instrument cluster. When sun hits the bezel, it is most distracting. Dealer team says that’s the way it is…Ugly situation.
We purchased our Avalon in December, 2013. It is reasonably comfortable for a guy my size (6'5") and very quiet, especially in windy conditions. I also appreciate the stability in windy conditions. I am a fuel economy guy and try to drive to get the best economy--avoid jack rabbit starts, and keep my speed near the speed limit. On the subject of fuel economy, I am very impressed. The city mpg is a little less than advertised, but for a reason. The hybrid works best when the car is warm. We can drive anywhere in my town in a mile, and on our typical trip to the grocery store the computer will typically indicate 35-36 mpg going. Fifteen minutes later we are back in the car, the engine a little warmer and our mpg will be over 40, only because the engine is a little warmer. The return trip is also slightly uphill. Our highway mpg is most impressive. I have hand calculated as high as 46 with a very strong tail wind. We occasionally make a 300 mile round trip to go shopping in central Wyoming. We typically have a tail wind and the computer registers about 45 on the front end of the trip with a tail wind, and will read 42-43 by the time we return home back into the wind. We have found when we hand calculate mpg the computer most frequently overestimates by about one mpg, although we have been 2-3 miles off on the minus side and plus one or more occasionally. But again, an overall average would be one mile per gallon more on the computer reading than actual hand calculated mileage. On my most recent trip I did not reset my computer when I filled and put about 1000 miles on in a couple days, over one mountain pass and in variable conditions, much of it driving 80 on the interstate (unusual for me), and the computer indicated about 42 for the entire trip. I remain very pleased with the economy of my Avalon. On the negative side, my first trip out of town I drove on I-80 for 150 miles and had my windshield and paint damaged by road sand left over from the previous storm. That was very revealing because I realize the finish is very thin and easily damaged. I am very disappointed with the paint and would expect a better quality paint job using more than just the bare minimum amount of paint to cover it. Would I buy it again? Probably. The paint is almost a deal killer, but I am overjoyed with the hybrid fuel economy.
I'm too obsessed with value to buy new when there are so many great-quality used cars out there traded in by the perfectionists who have to have new, or perfect, or both. I gave a test drive to a barely-used 2014 loaded ES 300h and a similarly almost-new 2014 Avalon Limited Hybrid, loaded with the technology package, the Qi wireless charger, and a few other goodies. While I love the look and the ride of both sedans, I almost went for the Lexus but in the end chose the Avalon. Why? Two basic reasons: 1) The cars I drove were virtually identical, but $5,000 more for the Japanese-built version (with identical basic engineering) just didn't make add up to $5,000 more in value, 2) I preferred the ease of use in the Avalon's touchscreen interface to the point and click operation of the Lexus. While I might acclimate to the joystick, my shotgun passengers might not. I don't love the stock tires on the Avalon (Bridgestone Turanza; they grip fine but seem to transmit excessive road noise) but a new set of tires can easily remedy that. After 2,000 miles of use, including an 800 mile road trip, I am completely in love with the car's ability to provide a quiet, very comfortable, composed ride with sure handling and minimal sound intrusion into the cabin, and it has delivered an astounding 41.4 mpg according to the car's computer (yes, yes, I know from previous experience that Toyota tunes them about 2 mpg high . . . nevertheless, even 39 mpg is unreal for a car with this curb weight). The Toyota Entune interaction with my iPhone, Bluetooth and such apps as Pandora are all relatively easy to learn . . . and I am my fifties, not my twenties. I also find the capacitive controls for the climate control and other systems easy to use and not a nuisance as others have noted. It isn't perfect: 1) despite the paint protection film, the car only has 14,000 miles and the paint has a few small but deep road wounds down to the bare metal that I need to have addressed; 2) you can't input a new address to the nav system while the car is in gear --maybe with voice command i could do so?), and 3) road noise is minimal, but not coffin-quiet. But hey, come one . . . I didn't pay 60 grand for an LS 460, I bought a used Toyota. For my money, I think I got one hell of a value--very satisfied customer here.