Toyota has introduced its new fifth-generation Avalon, based on a Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, and powered by two new TNGA powertrains: a 301 hp, 267 lb-ft (362 N·m) 3.5-liter V6 (2GR-FKS), and a 215-net-horsepower 2.5-liter Dynamic Force (earlier post) four-cylinder Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II) with 650V electric motor (A25A-FXS) and Continuously-Variable Transmission (CVT). Avalon HV continues to be the only full hybrid vehicle in the segment.
Toyota estimates that the 2019 Avalon Hybrid will boost fuel economy by up to 10% over its MY 2018 predecessor, from 40 mpg (5.88 l/100 km) combined to 44 mpg (5.34 l/100 km) combined.
The new TNGA 2.5-liter four-cylinder Dynamic Force Engine is more fuel efficient, runs cleaner, and is more powerful than previous iterations, and excels at dissipating thermal inefficiencies.
The engine leverages the spectrum of Toyota’s advanced engine technologies: Dual VVT-i with VVT-iE (Variable Valve Timing intelligent system by Electric motor); D-4S (Direct injection 4-stroke gasoline engine Superior version) direct injection and laser-clad valve seats; longer stroke (4.07 inches; bore remains at 3.44 inches) and high compression ratio (14:1); multi-hole direct fuel injectors; a variable cooling system; cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system; and a full variable oil pump.
Instead of oil pressure, the Dual VVT-i with VVT-iE variable valve system employs an electric motor to control variable valve timing, which aids fuel efficiency and promotes cleaner exhaust emissions (this is especially helpful in cold climates).
The D-4S direct injection combines higher-pressure direct fuel injection (DI) and lower-pressure port fuel injection (PFI), and applies each method of injection based on specific driving parameters. Furthering fuel efficiency are new multi-hole nozzle direct injectors (six holes per injector).
The four-cylinder Dynamic Force Engine is mated to an all-new Toyota Hybrid System II powertrain. The hybrid system’s net power output is 215 horsepower—up 15 horsepower versus the outgoing version. THS II uses two electric motors—MG1 and MG2—to supplement the charging of the hybrid system’s Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack, while MG2 assists the engine.
New for 2019, the highly compact battery pack now resides under the rear passenger seat (instead of the trunk), as a result of improved TNGA packaging and for the betterment of a lower center of gravity.
THS II’s new lighter, smaller Power Control Unit (PCU) packages microcontrollers within a power stack structure that’s located above the transaxle—all with the goal of lowering mass to better handling composure.
Efficiencies on many levels are seen with the implementation of the new PCU. Energy loss in the conversion efficiency of the transaxle and electric motor is reduced by approximately 20%, and its cooling system’s energy loss is cut by approximately 10%.
The PCU’s DC-DC converter—which converts a direct current from one voltage level to another—is optimized to reduce overall power consumption. Dimensionally, DC-DC converter’s output filter is smaller, lighter, and quieter for an improved passenger experience.
Auto Glide Control (AGC), yet another of Avalon’s fuel-saving technologies, automatically calculates efficient coasting. When driving normally, engine braking will slow the vehicle down when the driver lifts off from the accelerator pedal. However, to avoid aggressive engine braking, AGC limits the loss of vehicle speed through an automatic drive setting that acts more like a neutral gear, allowing the vehicle to coast to the stoplight.
A light indicating “AGC” is illuminated on the Multi-Information Display (MID) when AGC is active to alert the driver that less deceleration torque than normal is currently being used. AGC can only be activated when the vehicle is being operated in the ECO drive mode setting.
Adding more than a sprinkle of spark to Avalon HV’s sporty skillset is the inclusion of a new Sport drive mode and Sequential Shiftmatic technology. The new Sport drive mode applies power from the hybrid system for improved acceleration and, as a bonus, all drive modes, including Sport, can each be used while EV mode is activated. With Shiftmatic technology, XSE drivers can “shift” through the Continuously-Variable Transmission’s six simulated gears via steering-wheel mounted paddles or the gearshift.
3.5L V6. The TNGA-derived V6 develops more power with less fuel consumption than before. Estimated combined cycle fuel economy is 26 mpg (9.04 l/100 km) for the entry-level XLE. Achieving the two took the application of D-4S direct injection, along with an updated VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent Wide) variable valve timing system.
Other V6 specifications include a 11.8:1 compression ratio and bore (3.7 in.) and stroke (3.3 in.) dimensions.
The VVT-iW system is employed on the intake cycle, with VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing - Intelligent) activated on exhaust. With VVT-iW in place, engineers ensured optimal torque creation at all engine speeds, and minimized pumping losses during the closing of intake valves, which furthered fuel efficiency. The use of Atkinson cycle, too, reduces the V6’s fuel appetite, particularly in cold climates or during wide-open throttle (WOT) situations.
An all-new TNGA 8-speed Direct Shift-8AT automatic transaxle gearbox (UA80E) channels power to the Avalon’s front wheels. Its revised logic control better matches vehicle speed, engine speed, and torque engagement, while also facilitating poised downshifts.
Its eight gear ratios balance wide range and close ratios, therefore enhancing power application and fuel efficiency. A wider range, specifically at the increased 8th gear ratio, allows for improved high-speed cruising fuel economy. Close ratios at the mid-range gears improve passing power.
A new torque converter provides a wider range of lock-up operation (versus the outgoing 6-speed automatic transmission) to imbue a more enveloping and direct driving feel. The converter contributes to low fuel consumption and passenger comfort, since engine revving is kept to a minimum.
Design. Using the adaptable TNGA core, the Calty team penned Avalon’s exterior to be longer, lower, and wider than before. Unique stamping methods also aided in the deep draw panels that express distinguishable sculpted forms. Complex surfaces could now be shaped, such as at Avalon’s door handles that coincide with its profile’s bold character line. A distinct, carved lower rocker panel behind the front wheels visually exemplifies the design opportunities of TNGA.
Avalon’s various height measurements have been trimmed: overall (by 1 in. to 56.5 in.), cowl (by 1.2 in.), and rear deck (by 0.8 in.). So too have front and rear overhangs (down 0.4 in. and 1.0 in., respectively). Along with its wider front (up 0.4 in.) and rear (up 1.5 in.) tracks, width (up 0.8 in. to 72.8 in.), and wheelbase (up 2.0 in.), Avalon’s premium aura and sporty stature are further emphasized.