posted Apr 20 2015 4:19PM
2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid
Reviewed by Dom Testa
Car provided by the manufacturer
I don't know if this disclaimer is even important, but I'm compelled to say up front that I drive a hybrid myself (the Lexus ES300), so I do have a warm place in my heart for the green machines.
And Toyota definitely seems to have a jones for this segment, because they have seven different hybrid models. Some want to start in the smaller market and run with the Prius, while others want something a little beefier. That's where the Avalon comes in. It takes the power plant of the Camry hybrid and sneaks in a few more frills.
Don't think for a moment, though, that you're sacrificing much by choosing a larger car and a gas/electric combo. Sure, it's a 4-cylinder gas engine, which ultimately ends up producing about 200 horsepower. But in the week that I spent behind the wheel I never felt like the car was underpowered at all. In fact, the Avalon has a nice acceleration, even in those times where some oomph is critical.
Let's start with the outside. The Avalon has a nice, somewhat sophisticated line that doesn't look that different from some European big shots - but at half the price. A friend of mine said it was "handsome." Okay, I can live with that.
Slide behind the wheel and you're treated to leather (in all of the trim levels, not just the Limited). The seats are spacious and comfy. Plus there are nice features throughout. Even the entry-level model (which is still called Premium - I'm confused) spoils you with an impressive array of standard features: heated mirrors, auto-dimming rear-view, heated seats, keyless ignition, and more. You do get your money's worth.
Step up to the Limited and add things like ventilated seats and rear power sunshades. With various option packages you can build on quite nicely, too.
Toyota did a nice job with the dash layout, too. Everything is easy to find and figure out. Cheers to car makers who don't try to blow your mind with gadget grief. You'll like the Toyota Entune system, which is standard on all of the models.
I like the storage in the Avalon, whether it's the front seat compartments or the trunk space. I'm a stickler for sizable center storage bins, and this car doesn't disappoint. Plus, Toyota includes their eBin, which can accommodate charging two phones, along with USB and another wireless connection. It also includes the Qi wireless charging station, although that has garnered some mixed reviews (mostly due to how long it takes to actually charge - people can never be happy, can they?).
On The Road
The Avalon's ride is smooth and - as you'd expect with a hybrid - quiet. The only ding that I dealt with was a strange rattle coming from the sun roof; I have to believe that's an issue with this particular review car.
And of course there's the mileage factor. At about 40 mpg - and with a 17-gallon tank - you're looking at (potentially) 650-plus miles between fuel-ups. And that's all of the dashes I want to use in one paragraph.
If you're in the market for a full-size sedan, but one that will save you lots and lots of money at the pump while still delivering a comfortable/classy ride, the Avalon hybrid is a terrific choice.
by Dom in the Morning
posted Feb 27 2015 7:30AM
This event is such a blast! Get Your Nerd On Day with the Colorado Avalanche. And tickets are drastically reduced (practically half-price), but you can only get them through this link right here
The Big Brain Club teams up with the Physics Department at DU for a day of fun, science, and hockey! You'll get in to the Pepsi Center a few hours before the days open to the public, and totally get your nerd on!
Again, here's a link for the tickets
. Get 'em before they're gone!
posted Jan 17 2015 3:05PM
Is it just me, or is TV getting better? And is that a good thing or not?
I wrote a piece about how I went from watching almost NO television, to suddenly having more shows in my Netflix and Amazon Prime queues than I can keep up with.
You might enjoy the post. Here's a link for you to check it out
. I'd welcome your comments, too.
by Dom in the Morning
posted Jan 7 2015 10:56AM
I know that I have a lot of habits – some good, some bad – but I’d never considered how much they really dominate my everyday life.
And then I read Charles Duhigg’s book on the subject. I’ve read plenty of books that were interesting or influential, but there are only a handful of them that have cause me to instantly adjust the way I live.
The Power of Habit isn’t just an eye-opening look at how our habits create subconscious patterns, it also explains how simple little tweaks can help you to take a bad habit and make it something of value in your world.
And it’s not just in your personal life. Businesses are beginning to suggest that managers and employees spend some time with this book. There’s an entire section on the habits of successful organizations. If anything, read the segment on how Target was able to use customers’ habits to actually predict when a woman became pregnant. It’s fascinating.
If you’re looking to make some changes in your life (either personal or professional – or both) then it’s worth a read.
The Power of Habits is available at all three locations of The Tattered Cover Book Store, and if you mention at checkout that it’s part of Dom’s Book Club, then you’ll get 20% off.
posted Nov 1 2014 3:47PM
For the longest time, Subaru relied on its reputation as an all-wheel-drive beast to sell scads of cars to people in Colorado and other snowy regions. In fact, just this week someone mentioned to me that Subarus were “unofficially the official car of Colorado.”
Now Subaru is elbowing its way into the discussion with a redesigned look and feel to the 2015 Legacy. Sure, it’s still excellent in the snow, but suddenly there’s more to make it an attractive option in the crowded - and formidable - midsize sedan field.