Debuting at the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is the all-new 2019 Toyota Avalon – the full-size sedan moves to its fifth generation with a hyper-aggressive style, new engines and a swathe of new technologies under the skin.

The latest Camry already features a very complex, technical design, but the Avalon takes it to a whole new level. The faceted three-dimensional front fascia is dominated by an enormous front grille that widens as it goes down, taking a cue from the Japan-only Crown sedan. Flanking it are slim headlights as well tangential vents that direct air over the front wheels in a similar fashion to BMW’s Air Curtains.

Along the side, there’s a strong character line that dips towards the rear, while the lower rocker panels have also been carved out, achieved using new stamping methods. The rear cabin has been pushed back and the rear quarter windows made longer, making for a faster C-pillar rake and a more coupé-like profile.

The full-width tail lights provide more than a hint of Audi at the rear, and feature a three-dimensional “aero fin” design. Overall, the aerodynamic drag coefficient has dropped by a tenth to 0.27 Cd, helped by underbody panel covers. Different looks distinguish the four trim levels, with the XLE and Luxury models gaining a grey slatted grille, silver headlight bezels, dual chrome-tipped exhausts and unique wheel designs.

The XSE and Touring variants, on the other hand, receive a gloss black honeycomb grille, headlight bezels, door mirrors caps, bootlid lip spoiler and badging, plus a diffuser and quad tailpipes. Optional LED head- and tail lights are offered, with twin projectors, sequential indicators and laser-etched lenses for the daytime running lights and tail lights. Wheel sizes range from 17 to 19 inches in diameter.

Inside, there’s a level of sculpture and flow that rivals Lexus, with the floating, low-profile centre console taking centre stage. The tiered dashboard is accented with either faux wood trim on the XLE, real aluminium on the XSE and Touring or Yamaha-sourced real wood trim on the Limited.

Meanwhile, the seats feature perforated Ultrasuede for XSE and Touring models, Softex faux leather with vertical stitching on the XLE and quilted leather with special perforation and two-colour stitching on the Limited. Toyota claims class-leading head-, leg- and shoulder room for rear passengers.

Creature comforts include a nine-inch capacitive touchscreen for the multimedia system, which features standard-fit Apple CarPlay connectivity, Entune 3.0 App Suite Connect, Verizon WiFi connection and Toyota Remote Connect. The latter is integrated with smartwatches and Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant.

A 14-speaker JBL premium sound system comes as standard on Touring and Limited models, as is a 10-inch colour head-up display that Toyota says is the largest in its segment. Other features such as Qi wireless charging, three front and two rear USB charging ports and front and rear cupholders and phone cradles are standard across the range.

Power comes from a new 3.5 litre VVT-iW naturally-aspirated V6 with D-4S direct injection, paired to an eight-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission. There’s also a Hybrid model that takes a 2.5 litre Dynamic Force four-pot with Dual VVT-i and D-4S and combines it with a pair of electric motors and a nickel-metal hydride battery situated under the rear seats.

This Toyota Hybrid System II gets a smaller, lighter Power Control Unit (PCU), an energy loss that is lower by 20% in the transaxle and electric motors and 10% in the cooling system, an optimised DC-DC converter and Auto Glide Control (AGC) that reduces engine braking to allow the car to coast to a traffic light stop.

A Sequential Shiftmatic mode with six virtual ratios has also been incorporated for a sportier driving feel. No output or fuel consumption figures have been released just yet for either petrol or Hybrid models.

Toyota has done a lot to up the sportiness of the Avalon, with an Intake Sound Generator (ISG), Active Noise Control (ANC) and Engine Sound Enhancement (ESE) for a more tuneful engine note, plus a new multi-link rear suspension with revised trailing arms, dampers and bushings, thicker anti-roll bars, stiffer spring rates and a wider rear track. There’s also a drive mode selector with Eco, Normal and Sport settings.

The Touring model gains Sport+ and Custom modes, as well as Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) dampers that provide real-time damping control to maximise agility and controllability. The system uses solenoid control valves, front and rear G sensors and an intelligent central ECU, and features a range of 650 steps for continuously variable damping. Changes in solenoid force happen in just 20 milliseconds.

Under the skin, the new Avalon rides on the modular Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which enables a low-slung design, slim pillars, improved packaging and a lower centre of gravity. There are also additional door seals as well as increased sound insulation in the engine bay, in the carpets, under the floor and within the wheel well liners; the result is reduced engine, wind and road noise.

Safety-wise, there are 10 airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), traction control, Smart Stop Technology and a reverse camera, all as standard equipment.

Also standard is the Toyota Safety Sense P suite, incorporating Pre Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection, all-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beam (AHB) and a Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA). A Panoramic View Monitor with Alert (PVMA) and an Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) with Rear Cross Traffic Braking (RCTB) are available as options.

GALLERY: 2019 Toyota Avalon XSE


GALLERY: 2019 Toyota Avalon Touring
GALLERY: 2019 Toyota Avalon Limited Hybrid