February 01, 2016 By Kevin C. Limjoco Pictures: Isabel N. Delos Reyes

 2016 Toyota Avalon XLE Touring SE

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Words: Kevin C. Limjoco
Pictures: Isabel N. Delos Reyes

KCL_6769 (Copy)The 4th Generation Toyota Avalon continues to thrive in its focused markets as a more affordable alternative to the Lexus ES350, which it shares a great deal with. The more mature and slightly larger Avalon (the chassis is almost two inches longer than in the current Camry) is truly a better overall sedan compared to the Camry because of its increased level of refinement, equipment, and design. The Camry shares the same V6 engine and transmission in a shorter chassis, so it is a touch quicker primarily because of the weight difference. But what the Avalon gets for that extra weight is abundant and worth the extra coin.

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This time around, we get a hold of the Avalon’s most “sporting” Touring variant in the color that Toyota labels as Attitude Black Metal, which does complement the accompanying machined with black-painted 18-inch alloys shod with not-so-sporting all-season Bridgestone Turanza EL400-02 225/45R18 91V tires. The Touring gets a slightly more aggressive suspension exclusive to the model along with a few more distinguishing features beyond mere badging. The headlights are fully LED, but I honestly cannot say that they work any better than the excellent Quadrabeam HID systems used in the Limited model we tested previously. We did like the attractive and very comfortable interior that features abundant sporty leather with blue stitching (the seats used perforated sections) that goes well with the interesting blue-patterned interior trim.

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KCL_6792 (Copy) Did the Touring model drive more spiritedly? The thrust was identical; however, there was more steering wheel feel and the ride was more taut. Therefore, I reckon this particular Avalon model is for the older buyer seeking that smidgen more connectivity with their capacious saloon. There was more interior noise in the cabin too, which is odd; it is almost like Toyota reckons sportiness means less comfort and more sacrifices without tangible improvements to speed and dynamic performance. The Avalon Touring did not handle our test routes any faster than before, but we did feel and hear more road noise, which in my book is more a setback than an improvement.

Engine: V6, 3458 cc, dohc 24V, Dual VVT-i, 6-speed AT
Max power: 268 bhp @ 6200 rpm
Max torque: 248 lb ft @ 4700 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 6.4 sec.
Top Speed: 210 km/h (130 mph) Governed
Fuel Mileage: 21 mpg City / 31 mpg Highway
Price as tested: US$ 37,995.00
+Still a very good mid-size sedan, a touch more association to the driving experience
-Touring package has no convincing advantage over the standard model

C! RATING 9.5/10

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