Chevrolet and Ford have abandoned the large sedan segment in the United States, but Toyota isn’t pulling back as they’ve announced a series of updates to the 2021 Avalon.
As expected, the model gains a new Nightshade Edition that is based on the XSE which already features a black grille, black mirror caps and a black rear spoiler.
However, the Nightshade Edition goes even further as it adds black window trim, black door handles and a black shark fin antenna. There are also new 19-inch alloy wheels with a black-painted finish.
Of course, the big news for 2021 is the addition of an all-wheel drive system that is optional on the XLE and Limited trims. The system can send up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels and it promises to provide “effective traction for inclement and slippery weather.”
All-wheel drive models use a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 205 hp (153 kW / 208 PS) and 185 lb-ft (251 Nm) of torque. It is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission and the sedan is slated to have a fuel-economy rating of 25 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined.
Buyers looking for more performance can get the Avalon TRD which largely carries over. However, it gains a “dramatic new startup animation” for the multi-information display and a new summer tire option.
The model is powered by a familiar 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 301 hp (224 kW / 305 PS) and 267 lb-ft (362 Nm) of torque. While the engine isn’t anything special, the TRD variant comes with a cat-back dual exhaust system, a lower sport-tuned suspension and beefier brakes. The car also has an aerodynamic body kit that includes a front splitter, sportier side skirts and a rear diffuser.
Moving on, the 2021 Avalon Hybrid swaps the nickel-metal hydride battery for a more modern lithium-ion replacement. The model also gains a pedestrian alert system which makes noise at low speeds.
Motivation comes from a hybridized powertrain that consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors. It enables the model to have a combined output of 215 hp (160 kW / 218 PS) and a fuel economy rating of up to 43 mpg city, 44 mpg highway and 44 mpg combined.
Rounding out the other changes is a revised color palette and updated upholstery choices. The 2021 Avalon also gains Android Auto compatibility as well as USB-C power ports which replace the previous USB-A ones.