Friday, June 26, 2015

Lexus, er Avalon, sedan is the total package

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California ­ I’ve said it before, and it remains true as the ocean tides: Take the Toyota Avalon sedan’s badging away, and it is a worthy Lexus in disguise.

That’s especially true of the tested 2015 Toyota Avalon XLE Touring SE, a loaded luxury liner with crowd appeal.

The starting price is entirely appropriate at $37,170, and my ride had not a single extra.  No problem there.  It had plenty to begin with.

The short list included leather trim, heated seats, heated exterior mirrors, duel chrome-tipped exhausts, a power tilt/slide moonroof, paddle shifters, blind spot monitor system, and on and on and on …

Sure, it helped that it looked sporty with racy alloy wheels and a paint job called, I kid you not, Attitude Black.  These feel-good touches are a gift in a sizable sedan.

What’s not to like?

Maybe the gas mileage, which comes in at a somewhat tepid 21 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

That’s a small price to pay for a willing 3.5-liter V-6 engine that generates a max 268 horsepower.

OK, this is not a tire-shredding power plant, but it does most things very well, including freeway on-ramp accelerations and hill climbing.  At the top of long, steep hills, the engine will let you know that it’s doing its best.

Steering is direct and firm.  Freeway cruises are smooth and quiet.  The Avalon was mega-stable, even on twisty roads navigated a high speed.

If you don’t go the SUV/minivan route, this Avalon might be one of the top five long-road-trip family sedans out there.  It’s comfortable for the adults riding up front, and the kids have enough room/comfort/entertainment options to keep them from constantly asking if we’re there yet.

That alone might be worth the price of purchase.

If you use the Avalon as strictly a commuter, you’ve made a wise choice.  It has strong reliability ratings over the long haul, and I would think most Avalon purchasers are inclined to keep the car for five years or more.  Maybe much more.

You can’t argue with a passenger car that transports you and cargo with little or no complaint (and I’m talking primarily about surprise trips to your mechanic here, folks) through many seasons.

A stands for Avalon, and that is its overall grade, hands-down.

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