Road trip season is officially here and fortunately for us, it’s the least impacted way to travel during COVID-19. The journey is just as important as the destination, if not more so when it comes to road-tripping. Based on Consumer Reports data and in honor of the beginning of road trip season, we are starting a new series to highlight the best-vehicles for long hauls. First up, we have the 2020 Toyota Avalon which has been consistently ranked as the best large sedan you can buy.
The Toyota Avalon is known for its roomy, upscale interior. It’s also one of the few large sedans that’s actually comfortable enough for long trips. The Avalon’s five seats are firm, yet supportive, and there’s plenty of headspace and legroom throughout the cabin.
Many drivers say that the Avalon feels even plusher than sedans in the Lexus lineup. Road noise is also at a minimum in this sedan. Plus, the Avalon is available in eight different trim levels so there’s definitely enough options to choose from.
Faux leather upholstery comes standard on the Avalon and so do power-adjustable, heated front seats. Add on features include genuine leather, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats. You can also opt for a sunroof but that slightly comprises the available headroom.
You’ve got two different powertrain options to choose from on the Avalon: a traditional gas engine and a hybrid option. The conventional gas option features a 301-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine that’s linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission. You’ll find that the Avalon is surprisingly agile especially for a nonluxury large sedan. It also has an excellent fuel economy with a combined 42 mpg.
If you’re interested in obtaining a hybrid model, the Avalon Hybrid is a viable option. However, it’s not as fuel-efficient by hybrid standards so we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it over the Prius for example. The available TRD trim is a more noteworthy performance option on the Avalon and is designed for drivers who want a more dynamic experience. The TRD model is bolder in appearance, features a sportier suspension, and even smoother handling.
The Avalon’s long list of standard infotainment features will also help to make your road trip more enjoyable. Standard features include a 9-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, HD Radio, satellite radio, a wifi hotspot, and an eight-speaker stereo. You can also choose from upgrades such as a 14-speaker JBL stereo, wireless charging station, and navigation. These features are also really easy to use. The main drawback here is that the Avalon isn’t compatible with Android Auto.
Safety and reliability
The Avalon has earned excellent safety ratings from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To help you stay safe on the road, the Avalon also comes with a long list of driver-assist features including forwarding collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Other available options include a surround-view parking camera and rear-cross traffic braking.