Is the Toyota Avalon the Perfect Blend Between Budget and Luxury?

Although it’s been around for decades and belongs to one of the most well-known brands on the planet, the Toyota Avalon is often overshadowed by its Camry younger brother. And if that weren’t bad enough, those looking for a luxurious full-sized sedan would often look more toward a Lexus ES. But what they might not know is that, upon closer inspection, the Toyota Avalon lets buyers have their cake and eat it, too.    

Not just for the older crowd

2020 Toyota Avalon Limited

While no car currently on the market suits everyone, the Avalon works hard to come close. The Avalon was redesigned for the 2019 model year and it now rides on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform just like the Lexus ES and other Toyota stablemates. Additionally, it received a new aggressive look inside and out along with new tech updates and revised engine choices.

The biggest news for the 2020 model year, though, is the addition of the new TRD trim level, which adds a sport-tuned suspension, black side skirts, a sport mesh grille, and black 19-inch wheels. It’s meant to make a historically “mature” sedan look a little more “immature,” or sporty.

Other than that, the Toyota Avalon still has the same formula for one of America’s most-reliable, full-size sedans; it’s big, spacious, comfortable, and carries a reasonable price tag (more on that later). Not to mention, there is a hybrid variant as well. The Avalon hybrid is outfitted with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that works in conjunction with dual-electric motors for a total of 215 horsepower and achieves 43 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highway. Not bad for a large family hauler.

2020 Toyota Avalon TRD

Larger than a Camry, more affordable than a Lexus

By now, we know you might wonder “Why to buy an Avalon when the Camry is cheaper and has most the same stuff on it?” And you’re right, there is a TRD version of the Camry and it also comes in hybrid form as well, but we would argue that the Avalon is more spacious (4 more cubic feet of passenger volume) and more luxurious (premium leather). Then you might ask, “Well, why don’t I just spend a few thousand more and buy a Lexus ES?”

In that case, you are right again. The Lexus ES is based on the same architecture as the Avalon, if offered with basically the same engines, and it looks more luxurious inside and out. However, we would advise that you save your money and go with the Avalon.

You’re getting almost the same car as the Lexus ES, but without the premium price or elevated maintenance costs in the long run. It’s like buying the generic version of your favorite over-the-counter allergy medicine; it’s the same stuff, just a different label. And especially in this case, at least you’re getting a Toyota.

2020 Toyota Avalon Limited Interior

How much does it cost?

The Toyota Avalon is offered in five different trim levels: XLE, XSE, Limited, TRD, and Touring. The base trim level starts at $35,875 and the top-trim Touring is priced at $42,575. The hybrid powertrain will cost you an extra $1,200.

In contrast, the Lexus starts at $40,000 and can go up to over $45,000 with all the option boxes checked. Again, that sounds enticing, but if you opted for a low or mid-level Avalon, you could be out the door for under $40,000 and still have enough buy a cake and eat it on the way home.