By Charles Krome
When fellow Savant Roger Boylan reviewed the 2011 Toyota Camry at the beginning of March, he kicked things off with a relatively controversial point: That Toyota’s midsize sedan suffered from a sort of reverse snobbism, with customers (and critics) automatically complaining about how bland and un-engaging it is based solely on the badge it wears. Well, not only do I think he’s spot on with his analysis, but I’m also going to extend it to what’s often considered the epitome of Toyota’s soulless creations, the 2011 Avalon—which I recently drove for a week courtesy of the fine folks at Toyota.
The Avalon is aimed at buyers who prefer what’s loosely termed “traditional American luxury.” That means vehicles that offer a relatively large footprint, strong straight-line acceleration, restrained styling and presence, and a boatload of comfort and convenience features. It’s a shrinking niche, but the number of potential cars that fit the bill is shrinking even faster, so volume does remain for the automakers that continue to reach out to these customers.