Ξ 1 comment

2009 Toyota Avalon Limited Review & Test Drive

posted by  
Filed under Automotive, Featured, Test Drives, Toyota


“The Camry of Full-Size Sedans”

With all the talk in the press about the Camry as being the best-selling mid-size sedan, not much attention is paid to the full-size version, Toyota’s flagship the Avalon.  I’ve tested several Camry’s but never got the chance to drive an Avalon.  The news is that the Avalon is a smooth ride, comfortable and roomy for five adults, well appointed with the latest in personal features, and very safe in the event of a collision.

Get clearance pricing on the Toyota Avalon from a network of dealers to get you the cheapest price. Use a simple form to select the make and model and start saving. Remember to get quotes from the maximum number of dealers to give you the upper hand. Get a Free Quote on the Toyota Avalon or other vehicles now.

There are three trim levels offered including the base XL, mid-level XLS and the Limited.  All trim levels come standard with the 268hp 3.8 liter V6 engine which operates smoothly and quietly.  I tested the Limited which offered every kind of automotive near luxury and luxury items that I have found in other quality, full-size vehicles.


This ‘Camry on steroids’ has its own styling, interior design, and shares its only engine, the 3.8 liter V6, with the ‘top-of-the-line’ Camry.  The Avalon is designed and manufactured for larger families and consumers that need the extra interior and larger trunk space.

What is really enjoyed about driving the Avalon was its smooth, seamless ride, thanks to its long wheelbase and suspension, around town and on the freeway.  The 268hp V6 puts out plenty of power and torque to quickly move the Avalon at launch or when you need to pass slower traffic.

This smooth running V6 is mated to Toyota’s 6-speed ECT-i automatic transmission.  For a litter bit more excitement you can shift the transmission out of automatic mode and hold the six gears almost to redline to increase acceleration and drive it like you had a 6-speed manual.

The smooth, controlled ride and handling behind the wheel of the Avalon is the result of its fully-independent suspension that makes use of MacPherson struts, front and rear.  Up front is a stabilizer bar to help keep body lean to a minimum on curving roads.  The rear features a dual-link MacPherson strut setup also with a stabilizer bar to lessen rear body lean.  The suspension does an excellent job of smoothing out the bumps on poorly paved roads and rides like you are on ice when traveling on a smooth blacktop freeway.


The power-assisted rack & pinion steering system gives quick reaction to my inputs and is nicely weighted with very good on center and feel for the road.  I was impressed how well this large sedan reacted to where I wanted it to go.  Electronic Stability Control and All-Speed Traction Control help to keep you on your chosen path.  While not the sporty type, these stability systems help you stay in control during severe maneuvers or when driving on slick surfaces.

Quickly slowing the new Avalon down from speed are large, 4-wheel, power-assisted steel disc brakes.  Up front are 11.7in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and in the rear are 11.2in. solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers.  The braking system is enhanced with ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist.  The brakes reacted to my foot quickly with a fine linear feel.


The 2009 Toyota Avalon Limited rides on standard 9-spoke, 17X7in. aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with 215/55R17in. all-season radial tires for a compliant ride with excellent grip.

On the outside, the Avalon Limited has a confident, wide stance for a sporty look.  Up front is a sleek grille with chrome accented horizontal bars and HID headlamp clusters.  The lower valance is fitted with round foglamps at the sides.  The low front end, swept-back windshield pillars, power-remote side mirrors with LED arrows, subtle character line, chrome-pull-out door handles, and a full-perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse, defines its contemporary profile.  Out back are large, wraparound taillight clusters, a sculpted trunk, and wide, polished stainless steel dual exhaust tips, giving the rear a sporty look.


Inside is the Avalon’s best asset with wide-opening doors and a roomy space for five adults.  Rear seat passengers will surely enjoy the seats that can recline up to 10-degrees, and the flat floor.  The Limited model came with every comfort, luxury and safety features that I have found so far in the competition of near luxury large sedans.

The front leather-trimmed bucket seats are large to accommodate any size person but the seat backs need more support.  The driver-side seat bottom comes with a power cushion extension to further the comfort.  The power adjustments give you the perfect angle as does the manual tilt/telescoping/leather and wood wrapped steering wheel with buttons for the audio system, cruise control and climate control.  These front bucket seats also come standard with heating and cooling controls mounted on the console of the flow-through center stack and center console that comes in a metallic finish. Both the audio system and Toyota navigation control panels have closing doors to give it a unique look.  There is a lot of plastic but it doesn’t take away too much from the high-tech looks, but I would have liked to have seen more of the standard wood grained dashboard, switch plates and door panels in the center stack and center console, but it does break up the wood trim.


The Optitron instrument cluster is easy to see with large 160mph speedometer, 8,000rpm tachometer and smaller fuel and engine coolant temperature gauges.  Bright LED icons tell you of system or safety failures.  To the right of the cluster is the display window for the multi-function information computer display with message, audio, climate control, outside temperature and trip information.  Besides reclining seats in the rear, it also comes with air-vents at the end of the console for better air circulation and a pull-down center armrest with dual cupholders and a storage bin.  Speaking of storage, up front in the console are dual cupholders and just behind is another storage bin with a closing top.  The sliding, padded leather armrest up front has storage that is deep and wide.  The front door storage slit pivots out to make it easier to load or unload items into each side.  The trunk is huge giving you 14.4cu.ft. of cargo space.

Standard equipment in the Avalon Limited not mentioned above includes full-size alloy wheel and spare tire, remote keyless entry and exit with Toyota’s Smart Key that also includes push button start/stop, a rear window defogger, power moonroof, dual heated outside mirrors, aluminum door scuff plates, dual map lamps, fuel filler door/trunk remote releases, power door locks/windows with express up/down feature up front, dual-zone climate control with air filtration, electronic cruise control, rear passengers reading lamps, auto-dimming rearview mirrors, dual vanities with lighted mirrors and extensions, grab handles above each door, memory driver’s seat/side mirrors, power rear sunshade, Bluetooth auxiliary audio jack, Homelink universal garage door opener, JBL 360-watt, Synthesis Surround Sound audio system 6-CD changer with 12-speakers, subwoofer,  and integrated XM satellite radio receiver.  Optional is the Toyota voice activated navigation system and carpeted floor mats and trunk mat.  I was surprised that my fully loaded test Avalon Limited didn’t’ come with a rearview TV camera or rear sensors since it came with the full color Toyota DVD navigation system.


Standard safety systems include driver/front passenger airbags, and side airbags, front and rear seat side curtain airbags, driver knee airbag, three-point safety belts with adjustable shoulder anchors for driver/front passenger, pretensioners/load limiters up front and in the rear, daytime running lamps, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door, engine immobilizer, anti-theft system child protector rear door locks, and the LATCH system for child seats.


There is plenty of competition in the near-luxury, large sedan segment headed by the all-new Ford Taurus, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Chevy Impala, Buick Lucerne, and Nissan Maxima, but the new 2009 Toyota Avalon is the best of them all with overall high quality of materials, workmanship, engineering and price which starts at $35,185.00 for the base Limited, and $37,985.00 for the loaded model that I tested.

Get clearance pricing on the Toyota Avalon from a network of dealers to get you the cheapest price. Use a simple form to select the make and model and start saving. Remember to get quotes from the maximum number of dealers to give you the upper hand. Get a Free Quote on the Toyota Avalon or other vehicles now.



Price: MSRP $35,185 As-Tested $37,985
Type: Large Sedan
Where Built: United States
EPA Class: Large Cars


Length: 197.6 in.
Width: 72.8 in.
Height: 58.5 in.
Wheel Base: 111 in.
Ground Clearance: 5.3 in.
Curb Weight: 3610 lbs.
Front Head Room: 38.9 in.
Front Hip Room: 55.8 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 59.4 in.
Rear Head Room: 37.5 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 58.2 in.
Rear Hip Room: 56.2 in.
Front Leg Room: 41.3 in.
Rear Leg Room: 40.9 in.
Luggage Capacity: 14.4 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 14 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 6
Base Engine Size: 3.5 liters
Base Engine Type: V6
Horsepower: 268 hp
Max Horsepower: 6200 rpm
Torque: 248 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4700 rpm
Maximum Towing Capacity: 1000 lbs.
Drive Type: FWD
Turning Circle: 36.9 ft.

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 19 mpg / 28 mpg / 23 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 351.5 mi. / 518 mi. / 425.5 mi.


You May Also Like


Automotive Manufacturers & Categories