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All-wheel drive, new paint jobs, added trim level highlight 2021 Toyota Avalon options

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Chris Teague

The Toyota Avalon XSE Nightshade Edition is a new offering for 2021.

Toyota is giving the Avalon a host of upgrades for the 2021 model year as well as introducing a new trim level and making all-wheel drive available. The 2021 Avalon goes on sale later this year.

The 2021 Toyota Avalon will be sold in 10 variations. The Avalon XLW, XSE Nightshade, Limited, Touring, and TRD are powered by a V6 engine. The Avalon Hybrid is available in XLE, XSE, and Limited grades. All-wheel drive is available in the Avalon XLE and Limited.


The Avalon XSE Nightshade Edition features black-painted 19-inch alloy wheels.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Toyota’s addition of the Avalon XSE trim is a move that brings the Avalon lineup in closer step with other Toyota sedan and SUV offerings. The XSE grade traditionally features a sportier suspension setup and design elements traditionally thought of as meant for sport-centric models like blacked out trim and multi-tailpipe designs. These hold true in the Avalon XSE, which is a step below the Touring model and equipped similarly.

The new-for-2021 XSE Nightshade Edition is based on the 2020 Avalon XSE. It get the black grille, mirror caps, rear spoiler, and name badges from the Avalon XSE and adds black-painted 19-inch alloy wheels, black window trim and door handles, and a black shark fin antenna. The Avalon XSE Nightshade is available on models painted in Midnight Black Metallic, Wind Chill Pearl, and Celestial Silver Metallic exterior colors.


Other black elements on the 2021 Avalon Nightshade include black window trim and door handlesPhoto courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Buyers have new paint choices. The Avalon TRD is available in a two-tone paint job that features a black roof paired with either the Windchill Pearl or new Ice Edge body colors. Ice Edge replaces Supersonic Red, which now becomes available for the other Avalon grades. Buyers can also get their Avalon TRD in Midnight Black Metallic. New for 2021, Toyota is offering the model with the choice of summer-only tires and it gets a new startup display.

The Parisian Night Pearl paint color option has been replaced by Blueprint. Opulent Amber, Harbor Gray Metallic, Celestial Silver Metallic, and Ruby Flare Pearl continue to be offered in all other Avalon variants.

New interior colors include Cognac with Black in the Avalon XSE Hybrid and Touring, and, in the Limited, Black replaces Beige.


The Avalon Limited is available with all-wheel drive and has, for the first time, Android Auto.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

For the first time in Avalon history, the model gets all-wheel drive (AWD) as an option. Toyota is estimating that 20 percent of customers will opt for the drivetrain – a percentage on-par with the take rate of other AWD models in the Toyota lineup. Buyers can’t the model as a standalone option on Avalon’s XLE and Limited, which combine Dynamic Torque Control torque vectoring technology with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission.

Dynamic Torque Control AWD (only available in North America) can direct up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels in response to acceleration from a start or slippage at the front wheels. When AWD is not needed, the system senses this and allows the car to drive as a front-wheel drive model, which helps with fuel savings. The system does not encroach on the dimensions of the cabin.

The EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of the Avalon with AWD is 25 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 28 mpg combined.


Toyota is offering the Avalon with all-wheel drive for the first time.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Toyota is adding Android Auto compatibility to a roster of infotainment technology that already includes Android Auto. There are also new USB-C charging ports. Avalon also features Toyota’s first integration of smartwatch or Amazon Alexa-enabled device connectivity, as part of Toyota Remote Connect. Users can unlock the car’s doors, start the engine, or check fuel level, from the convenience of an Apple Watch, compatible smartwatch, or Amazon Alexa-enabled device.

The Avalon continues to be equipped with Toyota Safety Sense-P as standard. That includes a pre-collision braking warning system with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, and automatic high beams. Blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, clearance sonar, and rear cross traffic braking are available,

Toyota continues to make the Avalon in Georgetown, Kentucky.

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