Exterior view of the 2015 Toyota Avalon XLE Touring Sport.


We know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. By doing so, you could miss a truly lovely surprise. Such is the case with the Toyota Avalon. Some might see this as “just” an upscale sedan. But, that’s hardly the case, especially with the all-new XLE Touring Sport version. Be prepared to be surprised, writes Sally Miller Wyatt.


Ever since the first Avalon rolled off production lines in the mid-1990s, it has served as Toyota’s main full-sized sedan. Over the years, it has been redesigned several times, with the most recent evolution occurring on the 2013 models. A few additions can be found aboard the 2015 versions, primarily among them standard paddle shifters on all models, an upgraded audio system and this zesty new model: the XLE Touring Sport Edition.

Interior view of the Toyota Avalon.

Interior view of the Toyota Avalon.

The XLE Touring Sport Edition is quite stylish. It is available only in “Attitude Black” with a dark blue interior and stitching on the leather seating and HID Quadrabeam headlights. It also has some very rakish-looking 18-inch black-painted wheels.

Other Toyota Avalon models are available with either a 3.5-liter V6 engine in the XLE, XLE Premium, XLE Touring and Limited editions, or as an Avalon Hybrid model in the XLE Premium, XLE Touring and Limited grades.

As a top-of-the-line vehicle for Toyota, you can expect to find plenty of nice-to-have features on board, as well as thoughtful craftsmanship and luxury touches. On the exterior, you’ll find a sporty front fascia design and head and tail lamps LED bulbs in an L-shape that offers not only a strong design statement, but high visibility. The power side mirrors are equipped with “puddle lamps,” which light up the sidewalk and street near the car doors. A Blind Spot Monitoring System is now standard, whereas before it was available as an option. This feature is actually quite helpful, letting you know when another car is close in the lane next to you.

Exterior view of the Toyota Avalon.

Exterior view of the Toyota Avalon.

Other safety features include 10 standard air bags, and Toyota’s STAR system, which includes Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, anti-lock brakes, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Brake Assist and Smart Stop brake override technology.

On the interior, the stylish dashboard is outfitted not with dials but with very sensitive touch gauges. The steering wheel is outfitted with three multi-purpose stems, for wipers, cruise control, headlamps and blinkers.

On the road, the first thing you’re going to notice is just how powerful this V6 is; I actually thought I was driving a turbo-charged engine. It delivers swift and assertive performance without a hint of hesitation. Secondly, the car is absolutely whisper-quiet, thanks to sound-absorbing and sound-insulating materials placed strategically throughout the car. Even the windshield and side window glass have been acoustically treated.

Exterior view of the Toyota Avalon.

Exterior view of the Toyota Avalon.

The Avalon has a good-sized passenger cabin, and its dimensions are among the largest in this category, with 103.6 cubic feet of cabin space and 16-cubic feet of trunk.

On the road we found the Toyota Avalon offered a smooth, supremely quiet ride and plenty of room for all five passengers. The trunk is large and easily accessed, particularly with a trunk release feature on the key fob.

Overall, we found the 2015 Toyota Avalon XLE Touring Sport edition to be a comfortable, quiet, and good-looking ride, packed with all the must-have safety features and plenty of luxury touches. If your family situation is such that you have too many in the tribe to have a sporty two-seater, maybe the Toyota Avalon’s zesty, snappy-looking Sport Touring Edition can serve as a more-than-satisfactory substitute.