Used 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Review

With its upscale styling, ample standard features list, welcoming cabin and impressive fuel economy, the 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is a top choice for buyers looking for a fuel-sipping, family-size sedan.




what's new

The 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid gets a redesigned grille and front turn signal lamps, loses the Touring trim and gets a new base XLE Plus trim. A wireless smartphone charging system is now standard for the XLE Premium and Limited trims, and the Toyota Safety Sense package is available for the Limited trim.

vehicle overview

Hybrids are old news by now: The technology is commonplace, and every automaker in the market has at least one hybrid model to offer. Toyota, the industry leader in hybrid sales, has seven models with gas-electric powertrains and has the most experience blending electricity and internal combustion power to provide a smooth and fuel-efficient ride. But when that system is applied to a large sedan and results in a 66 percent boost in fuel efficiency, well, that's worth noting.

The 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is a large sedan that delivers stellar fuel efficiency.

That's why the 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid, while not a new model, still has the power to amaze. Not only does the 2016 Avalon Hybrid deliver 40 mpg combined, two-thirds more than the standard Avalon's 24 mpg combined rating, it does so without compromising comfort, roominess or ride quality.

Toyota hasn't chosen to share how it is done, but by using the similarly sized but lighter Toyota Camry Hybrid's 200-horsepower, 3-5-liter V6-based hybrid system, the Avalon Hybrid manages to deliver plenty of power for everyday needs along with even better fuel efficiency than the compact Toyota Corolla Eco. The Avalon is truly a cruising car: Its 17-gallon fuel tank gives it a theoretical range of nearly 700 miles.

Like the standard Avalon, the Avalon Hybrid boasts an attractive look that might make you mistake it for a European luxury sedan. The interior continues the upscale theme with high-quality materials, plenty of space for passengers and numerous features. Even a base Avalon comes with keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery and a power driver seat as standard. Moving up to the more expensive versions will get you tech-oriented features like adaptive cruise control and smartphone app integration through Toyota's latest version of its Entune system.

The Avalon Hybrid is in a class of its own, too. The only other large near-luxury sedan to offer a hybrid system is the 2016 Buick LaCrosse. We like the LaCrosse in general, but its "eAssist" mild hybrid system is nowhere near as efficient as the Avalon's. Beyond that, you might check out less upscale midsize hybrids like the quicker and sportier 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid, the well-appointed Hyundai Sonata Hybrid or even Toyota's own 2016 Camry Hybrid if you want to save a bit of money and get little bit more fuel efficiency. If you prefer a luxury brand, the 2016 Lexus ES 300h offers a similar size and features. Overall we find the Edmunds "B"-rated 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid to be one impressive package.

trim levels & features

The 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is offered in XLE Plus, XLE Premium and Limited trim levels. The non-hybrid Toyota Avalon is reviewed separately.

The XLE Plus comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, a power sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, full power accessories, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar support) and a four-way power front passenger seat. Electronics features include keyless ignition and entry, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera and Toyota's Entune Audio Plus setup that includes a 7-inch touchscreen display, voice controls and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface.

There aren't many full-size sedans that offer the same level of comfort and efficiency as the 2016 Avalon Hybrid.

The XLE Premium adds foglights, driver memory settings, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, Qi wireless charging and Entune Premium Audio with Navigation and App Suite, which includes nine speakers, a navigation system and smartphone app integration.

The Limited includes all the above plus xenon headlights, auto-dimming power side mirrors, automatic wipers, upgraded leather upholstery, a 10-way power driver seat, an eight-way power passenger seat, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, a rear power sunshade, ambient lighting, Toyota's Safety Connect system and an 11-speaker JBL premium sound system. The Limited also offers an optional Toyota Safety Sense package (see Safety section below) with a suite of active safety systems.

performance & mpg

The 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor that's fed by a trunk-mounted battery pack. Combined, the two power units are good for 200 hp. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) delivers power to the front wheels.

According to EPA estimates, the Avalon Hybrid returns 40 mpg in combined driving (40 city/39 highway). In Edmunds performance testing, an Avalon Hybrid Limited accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds. This is about a second slower than the regular, V6-powered Avalon or most other conventional large sedans, but quite peppy for a hybrid sedan.

Its 200-horsepower gas-electric hybrid system gives the 2016 Avalon Hybrid just enough muscle.

safety

Standard safety features include traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, front and rear seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. The XLE Premium and Limited come with blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Also standard on the Limited is Toyota's Safety Connect service, which includes roadside assistance, stolen vehicle location and automatic collision notification. The Limited's optional Toyota Safety Sense package includes a frontal pre-collision warning and mitigation system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, adaptive cruise control and auto high-beam control.

In Edmunds brake testing, the Avalon Hybrid stopped from 60 mph in 132 feet, about 5 feet longer than average for the segment.

In government crash protection ratings, the 2016 Avalon Hybrid received four out of five stars for frontal crash and rollover protection. Previous model year Avalon Hybrids, built on the same platform, also received five out of five stars for overall crash performance and for side crash protection. In testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the otherwise similar non-hybrid Avalon scored a "Good" rating (the highest possible) in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, small-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests. The Avalon's seat and head restraint design was also rated "Good" by the IIHS for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

driving

Acceleration can best be described as adequate. The Avalon is a big car, so its 200-hp engine and electric motor have their hands full. The Avalon Hybrid is exceptionally quiet, however, though the CVT can cause the engine to drone during sustained acceleration.

This big sedan also feels respectably secure and sure-footed around turns. The brakes can feel grabby under light braking, but that's common for hybrids, and most owners should acclimate to them fairly quickly. In general, the Avalon Hybrid is just plain easy to drive. The ride quality is firmer than Avalons of old, though, so if you're coming out of an older model, make sure you give this new car a thorough test-drive.

interior

The Avalon Hybrid's interior is spacious and elegant, with high-quality materials throughout. The front seats are very comfortable and highly adjustable, with plenty of side bolstering and lumbar support for both the driver and the front passenger. As you'd expect for this class of car, the Avalon's rear seats are quite roomy.

All Avalon Hybrids come standard with Toyota's Entune infotainment system, with swipe capability, a customizable 7-inch home screen, voice recognition training and cache radio that can rewind up to 20 minutes. The XLE Premium and Limited come standard with additional smartphone app integration and navigation.

Storage cubbies provide ample room for keys and wallets, and the center console is large. The front section of the center console acts as a convenient "eBin" with power cords passing through a sliding panel for cell phones (two 12-volt outlets for the Plus trim, one for the Premium and Limited trims) and auxiliary and USB connections. This area is also home to the Qi wireless charging system that's standard on the Premium and Limited trims. Toyota is among the first automakers to offer wireless charging for Qi-compatible cell phones. We like its convenience, but it doesn't charge very quickly. All trims also have an additional 12-volt outlet in the center console's regular storage compartment.

The Hybrid's trunk offers 14 cubic feet of space. That's less than typical large sedans, but still enough for most situations.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.