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 |  Jan 31 2014, 11:01 AM

Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited

Suggestion #2

Information Card -- Toyota Avalon HybridThe BMW is an efficient automobile, but Toyota’s Avalon Hybrid trounces it at the gas station and undercuts it on the showroom floor. How do you like that?

The top-of-the-line Limited trim kicks off at $42,210, including $810 in destination fees. But that still leaves a few dollars to play with so we figured we’d give Gavin a little more. In an effort to spend every available dime we opted for the $1,950 Technology Package, which adds things like adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, wireless charging for mobile devices and Toyota’s Pre-Collision System. Altogether this Avalon Hybrid checks out at $44,160.

Beyond that fancy options package the car comes loaded with lots of features and amenities. It’s got a navigation system, leather-trimmed seats, a power rear sunshade, an illuminated glove compartment, 10 standard air bags and a premium JBL sound system. Crossing another item off Gavin’s wish list, it’s also got a power-operated moonroof complete with a sliding sunshade, a rather oxymoronic combination.

2014-Toyota-Avalon-Engine

Avalon Hybrids are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine as well as a permanent magnet AC electric motor that’s juiced by a 6.5 ampere hour nickel-metal hydride battery pack. All told the system delivers 200 net horsepower, which sounds a little weak on paper, but in the real world it’s plenty of oomph to move even the husky Avalon.

In this instance the powertrain’s fuel consumption figures are of much greater importance than its output. This hybrid sedan can stretch a gallon of dinosaur juice a remarkable 40 miles in urban driving; its highway score clocks in at 39 miles per gallon. If you can believe it the combined fuel economy score is 40 mpg.

Atypically for a Toyota, the 2014 Avalon is attractive both inside and out. The company finally decided to give styling a try with this generation of the car and their extra effort really shows. No longer a bulky four-door tailor made for the jazzercise set, this thing appeals to a whole new group of customers: drivers that aren’t in their 70s. Likewise, the Avalon is better than ever to drive, which is another significant accomplishment for Toyota and a major win for its customers.

When it comes to comfort and efficiency this large sedan is worth a serious look, plus it offers a decent amount of utility and it’s probably reliable enough to survive an extinction-inducing asteroid impact. The dinosaurs may have perished in a similar catastrophe but this Toyota is built to last.