July 15, 2024

The last time I drove a Toyota Avalon Hybrid was on February 4th, 2013. The reason why I remember that so distinctly was because I was rear-ended on the 5 freeway near the 133 overpass by a speeding 85 year old in a big GMC SUV. There was a traffic jam for which we had slowed down to near stand still. The 85 year old was in the car pool lane, which was still free, but for some reason decided to veer to the right, first slamming into an older Jeep Wrangler, which was slammed into the rear of the Avalon, after which the swerving GCM Yukon renounced and rammed into the front of the Avalon. The 85 year old decided that wasn’t enough for him, so he decided to make a run for it. Thankfully some people saw what happened and gave chase, so they managed to get his license plate. The Police found the car a few hours later already at an auto repair shop with the damaged panels off, trying to hide it was involved in anything.

According to an auto body repair shop, the Toyota was hit with big impact by the Jeep, which is a very solid build indeed. The Toyota sustained heavy damage and requires an auto glass repair, but the whole safety cell remained perfectly intact. In fact, when I looked at the car I could only see a total loss, but the car turned out to be repairable, I just had to take it to the Harrison’s body shop.

So that memory came up when first driving this Toyota Avalon, and I must say, it helped me knowing the car was sturdy in a crash situation. I also found that the Avalon has withstood the test of time rather well, with the obvious facelift to bring the front end in line with the current design language. It is a very big car inside, offering plenty of space to all occupants, in comfort. With it’s hybrid power plant the Toyota Avalon manages a very good average fuel consumption, especially considering the size of the vehicle.  We managed to get it close to 37 mpg average, which compares very well with some others we recently drove. AT $42,000 for this version, that was a positive.

If I have to pass critique, there is the key fob, which, is very plasticky, very cheap looking and feeling , and not at all in line with the market of the Avalon nor with the price tag. The other thing I found missing was the ability to hook up an Android or Apple phone to the apps, so I was unable to use Google maps. In itself that should not be an issue, since Toyota has it’s own navigation system built in, but.., that didn’t work. When asking for direction to an address it guided me to a place 4 blocks away from where I was supposed to be. I then had to get my phone separately searching Google Maps, and have that in my hands while going to the correct address. That was pathetic, so I looked up why it was impossible. Toyota claims it is because they are concerned for the privacy of my data using either Apple or Android, or Google Maps for that matter.

THAT Toyota, is MY CHOICE. I have bought the phone and I have granted my phone permissions that have nothing to do with Toyota. I am sure Toyota has it’s own devices tracking every move of each car, of which we haven’t begun to find out how deep it goes and to whom the car companies are selling or sharing this info with, but I trust Google Maps to get me where I want to be, and if every other brand offers me that option, which I can either use or not, it is MY CHOICE. I think it is a poor excuse to use, since clearly the Toyota own navigation system is certainly not performing up to par with Google Maps.

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