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Roseville, Calif. – The folks at Toyota know a little bit about producing a hybrid vehicle. Having developed seven gas-electric cars in the past has made Toyota the industry leader in hybrid sales.

So it should come as no surprise that the Japanese auto manufacturer has a solid model in the 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid, a large near-luxury sedan. With hybrids, naturally one of the primary concerns is gas mileage and the Avalon certainly delivers in that key aspect.

The Avalon Hybrid has a 17-gallon gas tank and can travel nearly 700 miles before it needs a refill, thanks to the approximately 39-40 mpg it gets. Toyota says that is a 66 percent boost in fuel efficiency from the regular Avalon.

Besides the outstanding gas mileage for a large sedan, there are other reasons to applaud the Avalon. It also features an attractive design, roomy seating for front and back passengers, has fine performance, offers a quiet ride, and has huge trunk space.

Toyota Avalon Hybrid

  • Performance: 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 200 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 39-40 mpg
  • Price estimate: $36,650 to $41,950
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 2 years/unlimited; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited

The Avalon exterior (both the regular sedan and the hybrid model) has a little European-like quality to its design, which took place during a full redesign in 2013. Updates for 2016 include some minor tweaks like redesigned LED tail lights, a lower and wider front grille, and new turn signals.

There are virtually no major rivals to compete with the Avalon Hybrid. The closest is the Buick LaCrosse, another large sedan that employs a hybrid system. Some midsize hybrids have great reputations – the list includes the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata and even the Camry Hybrid.

One knock on the Avalon Hybrid is cost, which ranges from approximately $36,650 to $41,950. Critics feel that if a car buyer is paying that much they might want to consider the Lexus ES 300h, which costs around $41,020 but has a more complete list of standard features and is a better overall hybrid.

The Avalon Hybrid has one engine, yet it’s a good one – a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that produces 200 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) delivers power to the front wheels of the Avalon, which goes a reported 0-60 mph in 7.7 seconds.

This driver loved the Avalon’s quick acceleration in all situations. Besides the strong performance, the Avalon also provides a great feel for the road. The ride quality is firm and the sedan is exceptionally quiet. One criticism is the brakes are somewhat grabby, a trait that’s not uncommon among hybrids.

There are plenty of high-quality materials in the Avalon, resulting in overall comfort in seating and arm rests. The interior has a very deep center console and comes equipped with Toyota’s Entune infotainment system that has a customized 7-inch screen. There are numerous storage areas and the trunk has 14 cubic feet of space.

There’s no doubt with its enviable performance and terrific gas-saving quality that the 2016 Avalon Hybrid is delivering what many car shoppers desire. The sticker price might be the only issue for pulling the trigger on buying an Avalon.

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