2019 Toyota Avalon first drive: Finally memorable

Toyota has pushed the boat out with the new 2019 Avalon, both figuratively and literally. The last four generations of Avalon could easily be described as boat-like: big, uninspiring, and fairly wallowy sedans that struggled to make a dent in your memory. This new car, though, isn’t willing to share the same fate, and Toyota has raided both its design studio and its tech labs to make sure of it.

There are two distinct styles, part of Toyota’s attempt to welcome younger drivers into the Avalon fold. The Premium and Hybrid models take a more traditional approach to design, with sizable chrome grilles at the front. The Sport XSE V6 and Touring V6 models, however, get a more aggressive look, with blacked-out grilles and quad tailpipes.

“Young” is, of course, subjective. In fact the current average Avalon buyer is 64 years old, and Toyota is setting itself a not-inconsiderable challenge given the market’s current penchant for crossovers and SUVs. The primary target is would-be Nissan Maxima buyers, though Buick’s LaCrosse and Chrysler’s 300 are also in the crosshairs.

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