2015 Toyota Avalon Limited Review - It's Either A Junior Lexus Or A Camry+, Which Means It An Avalon

2015 Toyota Avalon Limited rear
Choosing your Avalon will be easy. Toyota Canada offers the car in only three grades. 

The XLE serves as the base trim, but it's still a $40,000 Toyota with leather seats, keyless access, dual zone climate control, and a sunroof. The Avalon Limited requires another $2095 and adds HID headlamps with LED DRLs, blind spot monitoring, nicer leather, heated and cooled seating, and a bunch of other items.

During the middle of May, we spent a week driving around Halifax, Nova Scotia, in a 2015 Toyota Avalon Limited loaned to us by Toyota Canada, but this car was also fitted with the $3100 premium package: JBL 11-speaker audio, heated rear seats, pre-collision, auto high beams, rear seat climate control, radar cruise control, and a power rear window sunshade. 

THE GOOD
• Massive rear seat

• Easy control layout
• Unimpeachable build quality
• A hint of junior Lexus
• Shocking real-world mileage
THE BAD
• Whither the bolstering?
• Overall quiet makes tire hum obvious
• The Camry+ aura
• Not exactly a handler
• Poor brake feel

As ever, the fourth-generation Toyota Avalon is related to the Camry, Canada's best-selling midsize car. The Avalon is only 4.4 inches longer and 104 pounds heavier and shares the engine of the 2015 Camry XSE V6 we drove this past winter. The Avalon is also obviously related to the Lexus ES, which offers a cabin that's only 2% smaller and a trunk that's only 5% smaller. As a result of its connections to two popular cars which bear a number of key similarities, the Avalon has always found it difficult to locate its niche. 

Not since 2005 has Toyota Canada sold more than 2000 copies of the Avalon in a single year. Since 2006, Toyota has averaged fewer than 800 annual Canadian sales. After 2013's year-over-year trebling of volume to 1264 sales, 2014 Avalon volume slid 21%. 

Toyota is refreshing the fourth-generation Avalon for the 2016 model year – sales are down 14% through April – so we're taking a look at this outgoing model. Yes, choosing your Avalon will be easy, but finding one? It's never a common car on the lots of Toyota's Canadian dealerships, but don't be surprised if later this year a few remaining 2015s can be had with impressive discounts.  

Auto News For Thursday, May 28, 2015 - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Reducing Its Warranty

2015 Jeep Renegade
Here are the five must-read, must-watch auto news stories, reviews, and videos for Thursday, May 28, 2015.

INSIDE THE AUTO BUSINESS
Following GM’s move from a couple months ago, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will reduce its 5-year/100,000 U.S. powertrain warranty of in favour of a 5-year/60,000 mile warranty. The change applies to Chryslers, Jeeps, Dodges, and Rams. Fiat’s powertrain warranty stretches only to four years or 50,000 miles.

TTAC
Can Hyundai USA really sell 50,000 copies of the Santa Cruz per year if, in fact, they bother to build it? The case for and against.

REVIEW
It’s comically low to be considered anything but a car. But the Mazda CX-3, a Nissan Juke fighter that’s joining the Honda HR-V, Fiat 500X, and Jeep Renegade in challenging the Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore and Subaru XV Crosstrek and the front-wheel-drive-only Kia Soul, will be labelled as an SUV or crossover by both observers and buyers. That’s essential if the CX-3 is going to be successful. Here’s CarAdvice’s thorough Aussie video review  and here’s the text version.

Auto News For Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - GM Invests $1.2 Billion In Fort Wayne

2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600
Here are the six must-read, must-watch auto news stories, reviews, and videos for Wednesday, May 27, 2015.

INSIDE THE PICKUP TRUCK BUSINESS

Whenever pickup trucks are selling really well, there's an underlying sense of doubt. "Surely this can't last forever," or, "Something's got to give." General Motors has little doubt, however, as the automaker just announced that they'll spend $1.2 billion – that's b-b-b-billion with a b - to double the size of their Fort Wayne, Indiana, plant.

INSIDE THE AUTO RUMOUR MILL
Motor Trend reports that Cadillac has much more up its sleeve than the ATS-V. Imagine an ATS-V+ with a 505-horsepower 7.0L V8 from the previous-generation Corvette Z06.

Let's Not Pretend: Calling It A Golf Doesn't Mean Americans Are Going To Buy Wagons

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
Here are a few key facts from last week's GCBC post on Jalopnik's Kinja platform.

• U.S. sales of the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen declined 27% between 2011 and 2014.

• As the Golf SportWagen takes over from the Jetta SportWagen – which was already a Golf wagon – April sales of the duo slid 28%, year-over-year. True, the Golf SportWagon isn't yet plentiful on dealer lots, but the figure includes a fair number of Jetta SportWagens.

Auto News For Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - Mazda USA Won't Sell The New 2

2016 Mazda 2 red
Here are the five must-read, must-watch auto news stories, reviews, and videos for Tuesday, May 26, 2015.

INSIDE THE LUXURY AUTO BUSINESS

If, as Automotive News is reporting, the Ford Explorer is moving further upmarket than ever before in its new-for-2016 $50K+ Platinum trim, what does that say about Lincoln? And if, as Automotive News is reporting, Nissan wants to sell more upper-trim Maximas now that the new generation is launching, what does that say about Infiniti?

INSIDE THE AUTO BUSINESS
The New York Times calls him, "Detroit's Chief Instigator." He's Sergio Marchionne, and the lengthy NYT profile on the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles boss reveals details of an email he sent GM CEO Mary Barra and plays up Sergio's sweaters.