Avalon 2016 Release date, 2016 Toyota Avalon, Toyota Avalon 2016

2016 Toyota Avalon: First Look
Competes with: Ford Taurus, Kia Cadenza, Hyundai Azera, Chevrolet Impala Appears like: Toyota turned the grille from a laugh to a frown

Drivetrain: 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 or 156-hp, 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder hybrid, six-speed automated transmission or two-speed CVT (hybrid), front-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Fall 2015

Toyota wowed crowds whenever it unveiled the past version of its Avalon big sedan at the New York International Auto Show in 2012, switching the top sedan from one thing frumpy and boring into a classy, emotionally styled cruiser. It's time for an update, so Toyota is trotting out the refreshed 2016 Avalon at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, giving the vehicle a tremendously, very mild makeover inside and out — good thing the current model currently looks appealing.

Changes are restricted to new front side- and rear-end styling with a wider and lower front grille, new turn signals and redesigned LED taillights. The changes join updated 17- and 18-inch wheels, depending on which of five V-6 or three Hybrid trims going for. The look is equivalent for the XLE, XLE Plus, XLE Premium and Limited trims, only changing whenever you choose the Touring trim, when that front bumper and grille are replaced by a sportier version. Additionally a new chrome rear bumper accent that all models now wear.

Inside, all 2016 Avalons now get gray accent stitching with the light gray interior, although the XLE and XLE Plus trims get new woodgrain dashboard trim, the 7-inch Entune Audio Plus multimedia display and a tire-specific tire-pressure monitoring system. The XLE Premium grade now adds Entune Premium sound with navigation and Toyota's software suite, as well as Qi wireless charging as standard. Upgrading to the top-of-the-line Limited brings a great deal of optional safety equipment, including automated high-beam headlights, radar-based dynamic cruise control, a collision caution system and lane departure alert.
Under the Hood

The powertrains are unchanged from the previous Avalon, with similar 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 as standard, powering the front wheels through a six-speed automated transmission. For the fuel-economy minded, the Hybrid version makes use of Toyota's Synergy Drive, pairing a 156-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a drive system that is electric. It employs a continuously that is two-speed transmission rather than the six-speed automatic, yet still powers just the front wheels. Truly the only mechanical differences for the 2016 model are the change to two available suspension tunes — all models use a new tuned suspension system aimed at a more comfortable ride, nevertheless the Touring trim is sold with a more aggressive suspension upgrade designed to offer a sportier experience that is driving.

The refreshed Avalon should hit dealerships sometime this autumn.