Where efficiency, power, design and luxury meet
Hybrids have come a long way since the first time I test drove a Toyota Prius back in 2002. That little white car was not only my introduction to hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles, but also to navigation systems and touch screen controls. Since hybrids are new technology, automakers feel comfortable trying out other new technology in them.
While in 2014, hybrids are far more commonplace, that affinity for technology still remains.
The 2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited is a far cry from that little white Prius. As Toyota’s full-size sedan, the Avalon is the flagship of the Toyota car lineup. The Limited trim is their highest trim level. Outside, the Avalon is a sharp car, blending swooping design cues, chrome accents and large, alloy wheels in a design that welcomes you like a limousine.
The interior continued the welcome with soft grey leather seats (cooled and heated), and a large dash with black glossy wood accents. The Avalon’s dash controls are touch spots rather than buttons, leading to a sleeker design, even including the climate fan being changed by a sliding touch.
There’s plenty of features to play with, including phone connectivity, ‘apps’ for your car, and more.
The smart feature that I liked was the Qi wireless charging tray. I’m a fairly handy guy, and my personally made phone mount is the envy of friends and drive-through window employees, but I still need to handle a tangle of cables to hook my phone to the stereo and charger.
The Avalon Limited features a tray behind the gearshift, under the center dash. With a Qi-compatible phone (and most newer phones can be made compatible with an accessory in the $30 range), all you need to do to charge it is set it into the tray. No cables, no charger. If you’ve paired your phone through the Bluetooth system, you can listen to your music, make calls and more, all through the car’s system. (There’s also cable slots if you need to do it the old fashioned way, plugging in under the tray.)
On the road, that cute little white Prius is long forgotten. A beautiful, quiet ride, a surprising amount of power from the torque of the electric motor, and the convenience of switching your car from ECO (friendly) to Sport (aggressive) on the press of a button. Also, unlike that old Prius, the Avalon hybrid can stay in all-electric mode longer, which is why the in-city mileage beats out the highway mileage at 40 to 39.
“Toyota’s outdone themselves,” said Paul Gasman, sales and leasting consultant at Western Slope Auto. “It’s the best combination of power and fuel efficiency.”
The Avalon Hybrid Limited is a culmination, a place where Toyota reliability, fit and finish meets hybrid fuel efficiency, beautiful design and spacious, luxurious cabin accomodations, topped off with advanced (and smart) electronics. You can see this beauty for yourself at Western Slope Auto, 2264 Highway 6 & 50.