Not sure I'd buy another Avalon Hybrid - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
Avalon 4th Gen - Hybrid (XX40/2012-2018) Toyota Avalon Hybrid discussion for years 2012-2018.

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post #1 of 31 Old 02-02-2018, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Not sure I'd buy another Avalon Hybrid

I have a '15 with 42k miles on it. I've had no problems with this car. It looks nice, it truly is very comfortable, particularly when I have to drop my kids off somewhere and I set the seat to lazyboy mode and just surf the net or use a laptop in it like a mobile office. The 40/39 MPG ratings are nonsense of course, but I get high 30's generally so that's fine.

The problem with this car is the hybrid power train is very unresponsive. I'd go so far as to say it is shameful. This is not a slow car. It's not fast by any means, but it's not too slow--once the engine gets going.

I've complained about this before, but when I'm at regular throttle cruising around and I floor it I have timed a full two seconds minimum before the engine fully engages with the maximum torque it can deliver. Two seconds, minimum. That incredibly long wind up time makes passing, dodging in and out of traffic, etc. unnecessarily frustrating. The problem is obviously the low torque atkinson engine taking a dog's age to spool up its RPM. I don't believe it has to be this way, I think to a degree Toyota must deliberate make it so to smooth out the acceleration.

I have a toyota Sienna which, when floored, taxes the engine to its maximum within one second, like any multi-speed auto transmission car that has to down-shift does. Yet with the avalon it's almost like the drive by wire throttle refuses to go to full throttle for a very long time. But the result is my older Sienna not only feels faster, but actually is faster. A minivan. That isn't right.

I know it's not supposed to be a sports car, but it's not the horsepower that's the problem. 200 HP motivating a car of this weight is not terrible performance.

Anyway, if I buy another Avalon--and in fact the 2019 is starting to look pretty tempting--I'll probably be opting for the V6. Maybe the 2019 208 HP hybrid avalon does better with the wickedly laggy throttle, but I highly doubt it.
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post #2 of 31 Old 02-02-2018, 06:32 PM
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I've put 40k miles on my 2014. For sure, throttle response isn't instantaneous, but seriously, after 47 years of driving various cars, I wouldn't call the throttle "very unresponsive."

As with many turbo cars (VW/Audis) that I've owned, driving style has to be adapted to the vehicle's design. "Flooring it" is a style that I've not used in well over a decade, especially with the VAG's Direct Sequence Gearbox (DSG). They just don't respond well to aggressive, "instant on" throttle. My 300hp+ 1993 Audi S4 was woefully slow to spool up, requiring attentive driver input at all times. When driven properly, the response was there...every time.

Everything about a hybrid is a compromise. Frankly, I hated my first venture into a Toyota CVT, a 2007 Camry Hybrid. Throttle response was like that of an outboard motor: squeeze the throttle, listen to the engine sing at whatever computer controlled RPM was requested, and wait for the car (boat) to come up onto plane.

Not so with my 2014 Avalon Hybrid. With careful application of the throttle (NOT flooring it!), I can almost always break the front tires loose if I want to, which, I don't!

"The 40/39 MPG ratings are nonsense of course," NOT in my experience, which I've posted elsewhere.

Sorry you're disappointed. Sounds like you need/want the V6! Or, maybe your car has a programming issue?

2014 AvalonHybrid Limited
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2013 Ford CMax SEL
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Last edited by pianewman; 02-02-2018 at 06:41 PM.
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post #3 of 31 Old 02-03-2018, 05:40 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pianewman View Post
I've put 40k miles on my 2014. For sure, throttle response isn't instantaneous, but seriously, after 47 years of driving various cars, I wouldn't call the throttle "very unresponsive."

As with many turbo cars (VW/Audis) that I've owned, driving style has to be adapted to the vehicle's design. "Flooring it" is a style that I've not used in well over a decade, especially with the VAG's Direct Sequence Gearbox (DSG). They just don't respond well to aggressive, "instant on" throttle. My 300hp+ 1993 Audi S4 was woefully slow to spool up, requiring attentive driver input at all times. When driven properly, the response was there...every time.

Everything about a hybrid is a compromise. Frankly, I hated my first venture into a Toyota CVT, a 2007 Camry Hybrid. Throttle response was like that of an outboard motor: squeeze the throttle, listen to the engine sing at whatever computer controlled RPM was requested, and wait for the car (boat) to come up onto plane.

Not so with my 2014 Avalon Hybrid. With careful application of the throttle (NOT flooring it!), I can almost always break the front tires loose if I want to, which, I don't!

"The 40/39 MPG ratings are nonsense of course," NOT in my experience, which I've posted elsewhere.

Sorry you're disappointed. Sounds like you need/want the V6! Or, maybe your car has a programming issue?
I think my first venture into hybrid was that same car, give or take a couple of years (2007 camry hybrid--the one with the minuscule trunk). Just a few miles I had in a borrowed one. I remember thinking at the time the car was pretty quick but it just took so long to get going.

Overall I do like the car. It's the first time in several cars I've not gotten outright bored with it at the 20 month mark. Outside of pure EV I'm just not a huge fan of CVT-type transmissions. I had a couple of altimas in the past half decade, including a V6 which was a pretty quick car, and I always felt like the transmissions were skewed too far toward smoothness instead of responsiveness.
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post #4 of 31 Old 02-03-2018, 08:23 AM
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2007 Camry Hybrid: woefully soft suspension. In fact, during an emergency maneuver, blind curve/hill, stopped traffic, I had to brake while swerving into an adjoining lane. Holy buhjeezus...I thought the car would do a forward roll.
I traded it within 2 weeks...
2014 Avalon Hybrid: Lots of geezers on this site complain it's too harsh. I'm the opposite geezer...I'm looking for firmer rebound struts!!! While it doesn't approach the Camry's porpoising, there's still enough to have me reaching for the motion sickness pills!

2014 AvalonHybrid Limited
2015 Nissan Leaf S
2013 Ford CMax SEL
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post #5 of 31 Old 02-04-2018, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pianewman View Post
2007 Camry Hybrid: woefully soft suspension. In fact, during an emergency maneuver, blind curve/hill, stopped traffic, I had to brake while swerving into an adjoining lane. Holy buhjeezus...I thought the car would do a forward roll.
I traded it within 2 weeks...
2014 Avalon Hybrid: Lots of geezers on this site complain it's too harsh. I'm the opposite geezer...I'm looking for firmer rebound struts!!! While it doesn't approach the Camry's porpoising, there's still enough to have me reaching for the motion sickness pills!
I agree, it's very, very soft. That's nice on the highway but it rolls quite a bit during turns. I wonder if the 2019 adaptive suspension will make it more responsive when it should be and forgiving when it shouldn't--sounds like it.
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-rele...300580894.html

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post #6 of 31 Old 02-04-2018, 11:33 PM
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I mostly drive my '14 TAH in eco mode so when I switch to sport mode it feels really responsive!
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post #7 of 31 Old 02-24-2018, 09:12 AM
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Its a hybrid, did you really expect performance?
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post #8 of 31 Old 02-24-2018, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by leftysrepsol View Post
Its a hybrid, did you really expect performance?
Thanks very much for your input, I feel it added a lot to the thread.

By the way, the fastest cars on the planet are hybrids.
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post #9 of 31 Old 02-24-2018, 12:33 PM
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Go easy on leftysrepsol. He has a point. The "...fastest cars on the planet..." aren't built for economy. The Avalon and others are attempting to find a balance, but lean heavily toward MPG, not performance.

I'll say again, though, that I'm never disappointed when I press the "go" pedal!
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post #10 of 31 Old 02-24-2018, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pianewman View Post
Go easy on leftysrepsol. He has a point. The "...fastest cars on the planet..." aren't built for economy. The Avalon and others are attempting to find a balance, but lean heavily toward MPG, not performance.

I'll say again, though, that I'm never disappointed when I press the "go" pedal!
I got his point, it's just that he didn't get mine.

I simply wish this car had a more responsive power train and I believe, and other manufacturers have shown, that there is no reason a combination of electric and ICE means that the throttle response needs to be particularly laggy. I still see no reason why, after I floor it, I should wait a minimum of two full seconds before I start feeling meaningful acceleration. It just makes the thing really, really bad for passing. It feels like horrific turbo lag.
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post #11 of 31 Old 02-24-2018, 01:15 PM
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Please enlighten me on which hybrids make any world's fastest list. The last thing I expected was my 15 Avalon Hybrid to have the acceleration that it did, I was plesantly suprised. I bought a hybrid for gas mileage first, an Avalon for the room, comfort and Toyota's proven track record with hybrids. If your mashing the gas that much where the lag is an issue that much you probably shouldnt of bought a hybrid. Thats like complaining about storage space in a Ferrari.
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post #12 of 31 Old 02-24-2018, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Skoorbmax View Post
I got his point, it's just that he didn't get mine.

I simply wish this car had a more responsive power train and I believe, and other manufacturers have shown, that there is no reason a combination of electric and ICE means that the throttle response needs to be particularly laggy. I still see no reason why, after I floor it, I should wait a minimum of two full seconds before I start feeling meaningful acceleration. It just makes the thing really, really bad for passing. It feels like horrific turbo lag.
We're really flogging a dead horse here. Quite frankly, with all the electronic circuitry controlling EVERYTHING, I'm quite amazed that ANY hybrid responds as quickly as it does. TOO quick a response carries the real risk of eliminating smoothness, and conflicting powertrains responding more quickly to input is a risk in itself.

I'll bet that whatever hybrids you're referring to that are "quicker" than the Avalon are working with vastly superior, updated (and probably much more expensive!) programming, whereas our GenIV Avalons were developed in the latter part of this century's first decade. That's a pure WAG on my part. The "quicker" hybrids are probably lighter, and possibly are at a higher price-point.

Oh, and by the way, in my opinion, lose the "flooring it" mentality. It just plain doesn't work effectively, and in my opinion, overwhelms the ECU mgmt. This was certainly the case in every VW DSG I owned. Those trannys are amazingly quick, but preferred "rolling into" the throttle to "flooring it".

Thanks for a lively, respectful discussion.

2014 AvalonHybrid Limited
2015 Nissan Leaf S
2013 Ford CMax SEL
2017 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium
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post #13 of 31 Old 02-24-2018, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pianewman View Post
We're really flogging a dead horse here. Quite frankly, with all the electronic circuitry controlling EVERYTHING, I'm quite amazed that ANY hybrid responds as quickly as it does. TOO quick a response carries the real risk of eliminating smoothness, and conflicting powertrains responding more quickly to input is a risk in itself.

I'll bet that whatever hybrids you're referring to that are "quicker" than the Avalon are working with vastly superior, updated (and probably much more expensive!) programming, whereas our GenIV Avalons were developed in the latter part of this century's first decade. That's a pure WAG on my part. The "quicker" hybrids are probably lighter, and possibly are at a higher price-point.

Oh, and by the way, in my opinion, lose the "flooring it" mentality. It just plain doesn't work effectively, and in my opinion, overwhelms the ECU mgmt. This was certainly the case in every VW DSG I owned. Those trannys are amazingly quick, but preferred "rolling into" the throttle to "flooring it".

Thanks for a lively, respectful discussion.
Yes, I was referring to the current cream of the crop exotics That said the fastest highlander is currently the hybrid afaik. I'd really like to try it out. I would love if the avalon came with a 300 HP hybrid option next to its 300 hp gas motor option in the '19 lineup (I know it's not going to, though).

Flooring is is the fastest way to accelerate in this car. If you're going at 30 mph and you want to be going at 50 mph as soon as possible flooring it is still the quickest way to do it, even though the first two seconds result in little more than engine crying and whirring. I don't think it overwhelms the ECU but I agree the car places a high emphasis on smoothness (too much when it's floored and sport mode on for my liking).

I think at the end of the day I simply detest CVTs (which the hybrid powertrain feels like) married to gas engines. Even nissan's current maxima doesn't do it right, and that's objectively a quick car, but that company knows it makes for a worse driving experience, which is why they still throw geared transmissions into their infiniti lineup.
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post #14 of 31 Old 02-24-2018, 11:41 PM
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I share your detest of the CVT, especially after 200k miles driving VW DSGs. It took me quite some time to get used to the mushy throttle response, but now that I better understand the design, I've learned to embrace it...with much less annoyance!
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post #15 of 31 Old 02-25-2018, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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I share your detest of the CVT, especially after 200k miles driving VW DSGs. It took me quite some time to get used to the mushy throttle response, but now that I better understand the design, I've learned to embrace it...with much less annoyance!
I believe CVTs could be amazing. Tuned for response and if the motor that changes the ratios is fast enough they should be able to offer near instant torque without any lost time to a downshift. This may be a pipe dream though as I don't know of any car that has a CVT that functions like that. The maxima sure doesn't. Nissan also made an egregious, unforgivable sin, by introducing fake shift points (I Understand toyota has done this in the new avalon hybrid with some absurd shift options but I dearly hope it's optional) that cannot be turned off. As you accelerate under full throttle it will blip the RPM down every couple of seconds to pretend it is shift gears. It feels even worse than it sounds, and it is as if the transmission is slipping or the engine can't deliver fuel properly.
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