I’ve always loved the story about my friend Bob’s elderly grandmother, who owned a Toyota Avalon. She would take four right-hand turns to avoid a left. Unfortunately, this driver and this full-sized sedan became enmeshed in my mind. I figured this top-of-the-line Toyota model was designed to appeal to older, more cautious drivers; i.e. old drivers with large and long lumbering boats. Times have changed, and so have my impressions of the Avalon.
The 2011 Toyota Avalon was delivered to my home, in Williamstown, MA, for a week-long test drive recently. It is one of more than 50 all-new or upgraded autos that I will drive in my small-town environs this year. The intimate details of many will quickly fade from recall; some, however, will remain in the memory book forever. The “Avalon”, named for a mythical island in Camelot lore, will be remembered as one of the best surprises to come to my driveway. Dressed in Sizzling Crimson Mica with bright-work adornment, an Ivory perforated leather interior with an attractive wood-trimmed interior and glamorous wheels, it was eye-candy to all who saw it, including 7-year-old Alex and his gaggle of young cousins, plus my retired handyman Jim and his wife, Deb. All are important voices in my “panel” of everyday enthusiasts that I frequently ask for feedback on vehicles. Seldom do such disparate age groups give a unanimous vote--especially of a non-luxury or sport-performance model. Truth is, the Limited edition favors its luxury stablemates in the Lexus portfolio and it’s laden with charm on the outside and appeal on the inside, as well. Let’s take a closer look.