Tested: 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid

The Toyota Avalon Hybrid is neither fish nor fowl in America’s current sedan sales-scape. Hybrid competitors of a sort can be found in slightly smaller form factors from Honda, Hyundai, and Ford, to name a few. Or, true fullsize competitors like the Chevy Impala or Hyundai Azera could be considered, but without coming close to the Avalon’s parsimonious fuel consumption habits.

Still, if you’re looking for a largish sedan with great mile-per-gallon ratings, a super quiet ride, and a reputation for safety and value, you could do a lot worse than the Avalon Hybrid. (Just don’t expect it to be very exciting.)

Pros:

In the U.S. the Avalon Hybrid is categorized as a midsize sedan, but it takes up more space than direct competitors in the Honda Accord Hybrid, and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. For instance: the Avalon is nearly 10-inches wider than the Accord and more than 3-inches longer overall. The big win for the Avalon from a size perspective is in its back seats. Where the room in front is comparable (and in some cases less) than that offered by a more traditional midsize car, in the rear the Toyota gets a bump in leg and shoulder space. The trunk is more capacious than the Accord and Sonata Hybrids, too.

The fuel consumption numbers seem impressive, at 40 mpg in the city, 39 highway, and 40 combined. But it’s hard to compare apples to apples here. Larger, heavier cars like the Azera or Chevy Impala are thirstier, but offer more capacity for people and stuff. The smaller hybrids h...