2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid

2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Review

Quiet, comfortable and capable of 40 mpg: No other big sedan today matches the Avalon Hybrid.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

Most of today's big family sedans offer roomy interiors, plenty of standard features and large trunks. But none offer the fuel efficiency of the 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid. That's because the Avalon Hybrid uses a four-cylinder engine and electric motor combination to achieve 40 mpg in combined driving, according to EPA estimates. That's not quite as much compared to what you can get from Toyota's Prius or Honda Accord Hybrid, but it's nonetheless impressive given the Avalon Hybrid's size and its substantial offering of useful features. No other large sedan or hybrid crossover today can match it.

But beyond its fuel efficiency, the Avalon Hybrid is simply an excellent large sedan. Its cushioned ride and hushed cabin make it equally suited to commutes and road trips, and its roomy interior offers plenty of room for five passengers to spread out. And with standard features that include a sunroof, leather upholstery and heated seats, even the base trim level Avalon Hybrid comes well stocked. Opting up to the Limited trim brings near Lexus-like appointments and luxury. As a five-passenger, full-size sedan that achieves exceptional fuel economy, the Avalon Hybrid stands alone.



what's new

The 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid carries over unchanged.


we recommend

With a sunroof, heated seats, leather upholstery, and a comprehensive list of other convenience and safety features, the 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid XLE Plus offers exceptional bang for the buck. For a base model, it's very nicely equipped. You can get features such as wireless smartphone charging, driver-seat memory settings and a nicer sound system by moving up to the XLE Premium, but we think the XLE Plus offers plenty to satisfy most buyers seeking excellent fuel economy from a comfortable large sedan.




trim levels & features

The 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is available in three trim levels: XLE Plus, XLE Premium and Limited. All Avalons have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor fed by a trunk-mounted battery pack. Combined, the engine and electric motor generate 200 horsepower, sent to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, a sunroof, a power rear window sunshade, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, a 7-inch touchscreen with Toyota's Entune interface, voice controls, and an eight-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite radio and a USB input.

The base Avalon also comes with driver aids that include automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning (with pedestrian detection), automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane departure warning and intervention.

The XLE Premium offers upgrades that include foglights, driver-seat memory settings, a wireless smartphone charging tray, and the Entune Premium Audio system, which bundles navigation, a nine-speaker audio system, smartphone app integration, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

The Limited includes the features listed above along with xenon headlights, automatic wipers, tri-zone automatic climate control, upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, Safety Connect emergency notification and roadside assistance services, and an 11-speaker JBL premium sound system.



Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, a sunroof, a power rear window sunshade, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, a 7-inch touchscreen with Toyota's Entune interface, voice controls, and an eight-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite radio and a USB input.

The base Avalon also comes with driver aids that include automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning (with pedestrian detection), automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane departure warning and intervention.

The XLE Premium offers upgrades that include foglights, driver-seat memory settings, a wireless smartphone charging tray, and the Entune Premium Audio system, which bundles navigation, a nine-speaker audio system, smartphone app integration, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

The Limited includes the features listed above along with xenon headlights, automatic wipers, tri-zone automatic climate control, upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, Safety Connect emergency notification and roadside assistance services, and an 11-speaker JBL premium sound system.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid (2.5L inline-4 hybrid | CVT automatic | FWD) as well as a 2017 Toyota Avalon Limited (3.5-liter V6 | 6-speed automatic | FWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Avalon Hybrid has received some revisions, including a redesigned front end, the latest generation of the Entune infotainment system, and the inclusion of standard driver assistance features. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Avalon Hybrid.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

Driving

3.0 / 5.0

Acceleration3.0 / 5.0
Braking3.0 / 5.0
Steering3.0 / 5.0
Handling2.5 / 5.0
Drivability4.0 / 5.0

Comfort

4.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.5 / 5.0
Noise & vibration5.0 / 5.0

Interior

4.0 / 5.0

Ease of use3.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out4.0 / 5.0
Driving position3.5 / 5.0
Roominess4.0 / 5.0
Visibility3.0 / 5.0
Quality4.0 / 5.0

Utility

4.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.0 / 5.0
Cargo space4.0 / 5.0

Technology

3.5 / 5.0

Audio & navigation3.5 / 5.0
Smartphone integration4.5 / 5.0
Driver aids4.0 / 5.0
Voice control3.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
It's adequately powerful and secure around turns. The Avalon Hybrid will meet the needs of its owners.

acceleration

edmunds rating
The Avalon Hybrid needs 7.7 seconds to hit 60 mph. A regular Avalon with a V6 is quicker, but the hybrid is suitably powerful for everyday driving.

braking

edmunds rating
As is usually the case with hybrids, the Avalon's brake pedal requires some getting used to. Most drivers will adjust to its unusual response. Stopping distances are adequate.

steering

edmunds rating
Steering weight in the Avalon is light in nearly every situation, but it isn't lacking accuracy. Very easy to drive.

handling

edmunds rating
The Avalon can feel a bit floaty when you drive over a few bumps in a road, and a tight on-ramp or winding mountain road can expose a nose-heavy feel. Given the expectations of a big hybrid sedan, however, the Avalon is certainly satisfactory.

drivability

edmunds rating
With the exception of its brake response, the Avalon is exceptionally easy to drive. It's as user-friendly as it should be, so much so you'll forget you're driving a hybrid.

comfort

edmunds rating
If spending long stints in the driver's seat is your style, you'll enjoy the Avalon Hybrid. It delivers a comfortable highway ride as long as the road surface is in reasonable shape. The lush front seats, a quiet cabin and strong air-conditioning also make traveling long distances a breeze.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
Toyota does this well. The Avalon's driver seat is both amply adjustable and long-haul pleasant. But the rear seats are flatter and have less give. They're not as comfortable as the fronts on long drives.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
This is the plush, cloudlike ride that interstate drivers long for. It's softly sprung. Bumpy roads can overwhelm the suspension, though, and the Avalon can get a bit too floaty.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
One of the quietest cars we've tested in recent memory. Road, wind and tire noise is virtually nonexistent.

interior

edmunds rating
The Avalon Hybrid's interior is clean, uncluttered and attractive in its design and use of materials. Its roomy interior gives passengers ample space to stretch and move around, and it's generally easy to get in and out of. But we wish the mirrors were bigger and the steering wheel telescoped more.

ease of use

edmunds rating
Most primary controls and secondary switches are well-marked. But the steering wheel blocks the view of the volume knob and some crucial buttons to the left of the touchscreen. These buttons are touch-sensitive, but they offer no tactile feedback so you must look to see where your fingers are going.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
The wide door openings, ample space and comfortable seat height make for easy ingress and egress for front and rear passengers.

driving position

edmunds rating
The seats have a good deal of adjustment and can accommodate both sit-up and more reclined drivers. But some taller drivers may have a hard time finding the ideal driving position, not because of the seats but because the telescopic steering mechanism has a limited range of extension.

roominess

edmunds rating
This car provides ample space for a long road trip, front and rear. Everyone enjoys great leg- and headroom and elbow room. The only potential drawback we can see is slightly limited toe room in the rear seat if the corresponding front seat is set to its lowest height.

visibility

edmunds rating
We observed no significant visibility shortcomings while driving the Avalon. Rear-quarter visibility is adequate. Parking sensors are optional.

quality

edmunds rating
Toyota's efforts to move the Avalon upscale are obvious. Panel gaps and interior assembly were good on our test car.

utility

edmunds rating
A large car deserves a large trunk, and the Avalon Hybrid has one. Even with a battery pack consuming some trunk space, the cargo area is still a useful 14 cubic feet. The fixed (non-folding) rear seat limits utility, but it does offer a pass-through for long, narrow items.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
The front door pockets are small and can't hold bottles. The center console has a moderately large cargo box with a removable second-level tray. A retractable Qi charging platform sits in front of the shifter. The rear seats have even smaller door pockets, with cupholders in the fold-down armrest.

cargo space

edmunds rating
At 14 cubic feet, trunk space is very good, especially for a car with batteries consuming some of its cargo volume.

child safety seat accomodation

edmunds rating
LATCH anchors are easy to grasp but difficult to engage due to the seat material that surrounds it. Upper LATCH points are easy to access. Generous rear kneeroom means you don't have to scoot the front seats up much when installing a bulky rear-facing seat.

technology

edmunds rating
It comes standard with advanced driver aids, has built-in navigation, and the Bluetooth interface works quite well. But the Avalon may not be on your list if you're smartphone-savvy. The Entune interface is clumsy, it lacks CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, and there's no LTE tethering.

audio & navigation

edmunds rating
The JBL audio system is effective at pop vocals, but with a mildly muted midbass area you may find yourself raising the volume on rock, jazz and classical. Navigation maps are built in and don't require a paired phone. The lack of direct access to maps is a minus; you have to hit "Home" first.

smartphone integration

edmunds rating
Phone connectivity is excellent and quick. The Bluetooth system works great, and if you have a modern phone, you can even search individual albums and playlists. There's also a USB and auxiliary-in jack up front underneath the Qi induction charger.

driver aids

edmunds rating
It comes standard with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control, but the latter does not function below about 30 mph. Passive equipment includes lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, and a relatively low-resolution, rear-facing camera.

voice control

edmunds rating
Toyota's voice control is adequate so long as you understand its syntax and follow it accordingly. Voice control works for using navigation and the radio and passing voice commands to your smartphone. You can also call up certain apps and weather information.

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.