Since 2012, the fourth-generation Avalon has stood out in Toyota’s lineup as their most refined sedan of any size. Now at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, the Japanese automaker has pulled the wraps off a mid-cycle refresh of their upmarket saloon for the 2016 model year.
The exterior updates are easiest to see. Toyota’s added a downturned, extra-wide horizontal grille with a bold chrome outline, while the neighboring slanted turn signals have taken the place of the current model’s bulky fog lights. This fits nicely with the new slanted LED headlights, while the chrome accent lines extending from the Toyota logo above the grille naturally blend into the body lines of the car. All in all, an extremely sporty front fascia, with new dark grey 18-inch alloys to complete the look. The Limited trim will get upgraded Super Chrome alloys instead.
Speaking of trims, there will be five trim levels for the 2016 model year, up from the four available in 2015. The new trim is XLE Plus, which slots above the existing base XLE trim. From there it goes XLE Premium, Touring and Limited.
With all that being said, the biggest change to the 2016 Toyota Avalon isn’t to the styling, but to be suspension. Toyota has retuned the Avalon’s underpinnings to “better align with diverse customer preferences.” Practically speaking, this means that every trim of the Avalon except the Touring model gets a softer suspension with a smoother ride. This should better serve the priorities of the average Avalon driver. However, the Touring trim’s tuning will remain a bit stiffer to accommodate the sportier and more rigorous ride.
Other than that, the Avalon remains mostly the same. The interior gets some slight styling updates with chrome accents and grey accent stitching. Some trims get new tech options too, like the advanced safety features in the Limited, including automatic high-beams, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and pre-collision warning.
Everything under the hood stays the same with a 3.5L V6 outputting 268 hp being the primary powertrain option. We wouldn’t be surprised if a smaller 2.5L powertrain was confirmed closer to the new model’s production.