2021 Toyota Avalon Review
- Lots of standard advanced safety features
- Comfortable ride quality
- Quiet and roomy cabin
Toyota is doubling down on its popular large sedan and offering more versions of the Avalon than ever before. For the first time in the nameplate’s history, the 2021 Toyota Avalon will be available with all-wheel drive.
There’s a catch, however — the new drivetrain will not be paired to the existing V6 engine. Instead, the all-wheel-drive Avalon will borrow the 2.5-liter four-cylinder (205 horsepower, 185 lb-ft of torque) from the Camry for motivation, or roughly 100 hp and 80 lb-ft less than the V6. However, its competitors with AWD are almost exclusively powered by V6 engines, so buyers in cold climates might feel let down by its lack of oomph.
The arrival of all-wheel drive isn’t the only change to the 2021 Avalon. In-car tech is improved with the addition of Android Auto and USB-C ports for charging and connectivity. There’s also a stylish and subdued XSE Nightshade Edition featuring black-painted exterior accents. Finally, the sporty Avalon TRD gains optional summer performance tires that should provide more cornering grip. How well does it all stack up? Check out our Expert Rating for our in-depth evaluation on this year’s Avalon.
How does the Avalon drive?
How comfortable is the Avalon?
How’s the interior?
How’s the tech?
How’s the storage?
How economical is the Avalon?
Is the Avalon a good value?
Which Avalon does Edmunds recommend?
Toyota Avalon models
The 2021 Toyota Avalon is available in five trim levels: XLE, Touring, XSE Nightshade, Limited and TRD. All trims come standard with front-wheel drive and a 3.5-liter V6 engine (301 horsepower, 267 lb-ft of torque) mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available on the XLE and Touring trims with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (205 hp, 185 lb-ft). An available Toyota Avalon Hybrid is reviewed separately.
The base version kicks things off with these standard features:
- LED headlights and taillights
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Push-button start
- Automatic engine stop-start
- Heated front seats
- Power-adjustable front seats
- Simulated leather upholstery
- Dual-zone automatic climate control
- 9-inch touchscreen
- Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa compatibility
- Four USB ports
- Eight-speaker audio system
Standard safety features include:
- Adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the Avalon and the car in front)
- Collision mitigation with pedestrian detection (applies the brakes automatically to stop the vehicle to avoid or minimize a collision)
- Lane departure alert with steering assist (steers the Avalon back into its lane if it begins to drift over the lane marker)
- Blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert (warns you if a vehicle is in your blind spot during a lane change or while reversing)
XSE Nightshade Edition
An attention-grabbing trim that has the XLE features plus:
- Black-painted 19-inch wheels
- Black exterior trim accents
- Microsuede front seat inserts
- Built-in garage door opener
The most luxurious of the Avalon levels offers:
- Adaptive cornering headlights
- 18-inch chrome alloy wheels
- Head-up display
- Navigation system
- 14-speaker audio system
- Wireless charging station
- Ambient lighting
- Wood interior trim
- Leather upholstery and ventilated front seats
- Heated rear seats
This trim includes luxe equipment from the Limited with a more athletic approach:
- Black-painted 19-inch wheels
- Adaptive suspension dampers (can adjust to improve comfort and handling)
- Aluminum interior trim
- Simulated leather upholstery with microsuede front seat inserts
- Sport-sounding exhaust
- Quad chrome exhaust tips
- Black rear spoiler
Advanced Safety package
Available only on the Limited and Touring trims, this package offers:
- Surround-view camera (gives you a top-down view of the Avalon and its surroundings for tight parking situations)
- Front and rear parking sensors (alert you to obstacles that may not be visible behind or in front of the vehicle when parking)
- Rear cross-traffic braking (warns you if a vehicle behind you is about to cross your vehicle’s path while you’re in reverse and brakes if sensors detect an imminent collision)
The high-performance moniker adopts most features from the XSE with sporty accents:
- Sport-tuned suspension
- Aerodynamic body kit
- Lightweight 19-inch wheels with optional summer tires
- Black-painted roof
- Rear spoiler
- Red seat belts and interior stitching
- Performance exhaust