2021 Toyota Avalon Debuts With AWD And New Nightshade Edition

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Ten Avalon variants are now available.

Although it was redesigned for 2019, the Toyota Avalon returns for the 2021 model year with the new Nightshade Edition and, for the time in the model's 26-year history, optional all-wheel-drive. Other Avalon variants return, including the new TRD trim, though some have a few upgrades. All told, there's a total of ten Avalon variants for 2021, so there should be something for everyone.

Starting with the Nightshade trim, the Avalon is the latest Toyota to offer such an edition. It's available on XSE grade and it tacks on a black grille, mirror caps, rear spoiler, and unique badges. There are also black-painted 19-inch alloy wheels, black window trim and door handles, and a black shark fin antenna. Three metallic exterior paints are on offer: Midnight Black, Wind Chill Pearl, and Celestial Silver.

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Like with the Camry last year, the 2021 Avalon is available with AWD and the automaker expects some 20 percent of buyers will opt for it. AWD is a standalone option (it costs $1,400 on the 2020 Camry AWD, for example) on both XLE and Limited trims powered by the 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 205 horsepower and paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. If you want the 3.5-liter V6 with 301 hp, you'll have to stick with front-wheel-drive. EPA estimated fuel economy for AWD Avalons is rated at 25/34/28 mpg city/highway/combined.

For the new model year, the Toyota Avalon Hybrid packs a significant upgrade: a new lithium-ion battery pack in place of the old Nickel-metal hydride battery. This gives the hybrid sedan an EPA-estimated range rating of 44 mpg. Like before, the hybrid powertrain is available on XLE, XSE, and Limited trims.

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And finally, the Avalon TRD, aimed directly at performance-focused customers, will be receiving a new TRD-exclusive exterior paint color (Ice Edge replaces Supersonic Red), available black roof, and a choice of summer tires for improved handling. Inside there's a new startup animation in the information display.

Another very much welcomed addition this year is Android Auto compatibility, which joins Apple CarPlay as standard. A pair of USB-C power ports replace the old USB-A ports as well.

Pricing for the 2021 Toyota Avalon has not been announced but we don't expect any significant changes from last year. Sales are likely to get underway this fall.

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