AUTO RECON: An Insider's Guide to New Cars & Trucks
2015 Toyota Highlander
The third-generation Highlander gets a dramatic makeover.
2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid The Avalon is Toyota’s flagship sedan, with styling and luxuries that position it closer to a Lexus.
The 2016 Avalon Hybrid is offered in three trim levels: XLE Plus, XLE Premium and Limited. We test-drove the Hybrid Limited. On the outside, the Avalon has fairly conservative styling, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Like an Italian business suit, the Avalon’s exterior exudes a refined confidence. Its sculpted lines and curves create a sophisticated profile. While the redesigned grille and stylish LED headlights give it a more modern look.
Under the hood is a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine and a high-torque electric motor. The system produces a combined 200 horsepower and varies power between the gas engine and electric motor, or combines both, as needed, channeling torque to the continuously variable transmission. The Avalon Hybrid gets a remarkable 40 mpg combined — outstanding for a luxury sedan..
To sum it up, we're very impressed with the 2016 Avalon Hybrid, which offers the amenities of a Lexus but at a lower sticker price. The MSRP for the Hybrid XLE Plus starts at $36,650, while our test model Hybrid Limited came in at $41,950.