Avalon: Tops in Luxury for Toyota

2011 Toyota Avalon XLS First Impressions

2011 Toyota Avalon XLS First Impressions
Exterior Changes
Avalon has been freshened up for 2011 not totally renewed. With that in mind, it does get a new front end from the windscreen forward and a new tail from the back window on. The doors are the same as is the side and rear glass. The windshield is physically the same, but gets some acoustical (sound deadening) properties built in.

Avalon has been freshened up for 2011 not totally renewed. With that in mind, it does get a new front end from the windscreen forward and a new tail from the back window on.(Photo: Charles Renny/Auto123.com)

The other major change for 2011 is that the Avalon will come only one way, that is fully loaded with an XLS trim badge. The only item that can add to the price is a pearl white paint job.

Changes to the front include the conversion to projector beam headlamps and the addition of light pipes around the headlamps. The actual shape of the headlamp has been changed to fit into the new fenders and to match the new front fascia.

At the rear, the tail lamps take on a new shape to fit in the rear fascia including the addition of a chrome strip across the back of the car, just above the license plate. More light piping has been used to outline the taillights giving the Avalon a distinctive look both at night and during the day.

Suspension
Engineers tried several changes in spring rate and shock calibration. Each change wasn’t as good as the original so the decision was made to leave well enough alone and stick with what they had. The suspension will continue with a fully independent suspension using MacPherson struts and stabilizer bars front and rear.

After taking the Avalon over a variety of pavement styles and through a series of construction zones and down roads that were partially repaired, I can vouch for the engineering decision to leave well enough alone. The Avalon soaked up most of the bumps thumps and bounces that come with this type of road. The bumps and thumps that did make it to the seat were then soaked up by the seat so occupants were always comfortable.

Suspension quality seemed almost European, but still with a bit more softness. Some have described it as “Lexus like”, but that only scratches the surface. When hustling around corners, there is body lean, but not so much as to make passengers uncomfortable. Part of the reason is that the seats hold you in place without being obviously restrictive and part of the reason is that the suspension settings are progressive so that you hardly realize that you are leaning.

Engineers tried several changes in spring rate and shock calibration. (Photo: Charles Renny/Auto123.com)

By Charles Renny,

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