Toyota Avalon
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Overall: A beautiful full-size Toyota sedan? The Avalon checks off that box.

Drivetrain: Standard 268-horsepower V6/six-speed-automatic-transmission; Camry-based gas-electric Hybrid is optional.

Is it luck or talent that Toyota successfully changed the car that personified the word “beige” for its first three generations into such a head-turning machine in its latest form? The Avalon gained a stellar reputation as a car that successfully “out-Buicked” Buick, and as a bonus, it took some of the American brand’s aging customer base. To combat an ever-increasing average driver age, Toyota went radical with the version launched for the 2013 model year. The styling alone actually looks more youthful than the Camry, which is the bones fort the Avalon. The engine is a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed transmission that hauls down decent fuel economy (21 mpg city and 31 highway). The Avalon also joined the Camry in offering a gas-electric Hybrid model that uses a 156-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine working in tandem with an electric motor to produce 200 net horsepower. A continuously variable transmission is standard for the Hybrid: Toyota claims the fuel-miserly sedan achieves the same 40 mpg city and 39 highway numbers as the Camry, which makes sense as the systems are identical and both sedans are very close in weight. As before, regardless of the engine, only the front wheels are driven. The improved interior features front seats that are more supportive with better side bolstering while the concave-shaped dashboard results in more cabin room. By its very nature the base Avalon shows up with an abundance of standard equipment, although for the full-on luxury experience you’ll need to spring for a premium leather interior, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, larger wheels, navigation/communications systems and an up-level stereo, to list just a few options.