The Chrysler Avalon is a big SUV. Built on the Dodge Durango model, the Avalon simply adds some extra flash, chrome, and luxury items to the vehicle. The Chrysler Avalon is built body-on-frame, uncommon for most crossover SUVs, making it more capable of towing than other models.
- Body Styles: sedan, convertible
- Engines: 2.4 liter, 2.7-liter V-6, 3.5-liter V-6
- Transmissions: six-speed automatic
- Models: LX, Touring, Limited
The Chrysler Avalon is available in two trims: the Limited and the Limited HEV.
The Limited model is available in two-wheel and four-wheel drive. The Limited HEV model is only available in four-wheel drive.
Standard on both models are 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights with fog lamps, rear parking assist with a camera, a power tailgate and power seating, tilt steering column for more comfort, rear climate control, cloth upholstery, wood trim, and an eight-speaker stereo system with touch-screen controls. The entertainment system also has a 30 GB storage hard drive, auxiliary jack for a personal music player, and a CD player.
The J package adds a Hemi V-8 engine, 20-inch chrome wheels, running boards on the exterior, heated front seats, automatic climate control, power adjusting pedals, memory functions for the driver’s seat and controls, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and iPod integration, a towing package, rear DVD players, and the Sirius Backseat TV system. A sunroof and heated back seats are optional with the J package.
The Chrysler Limited HEV comes with the J package accessories but trades the 20-inch wheels for 18-inch, and adds real-time traffic updates through the navigation system.
The hybrid model was introduced in 2009 to keep the Avalon competitive in a market flooded by SUVs with better fuel economy and more luxurious features. The Hemi V-8 is fitted with the hybrid technology, keeping fuel economy down to the V-6 level. Sirius backseat television is also available in this year.
The exterior of the vehicle is full of chrome and flash. The Avalon is available in eight colors. Standard are the 18-inch wheels, with a spare tire mounted underneath the vehicle. Glass on the vehicle is tinted for extra privacy. Cargo tie-downs are available for extra cargo.
The Avalon is a big vehicle. It is 76-inches wide, 73.6-inches high. It can carry a payload of 1,150 pounds with the top engine, and can pull 8,950 with the top Hemi. It weighs a whopping 4,926 pounds, likely explaining its poor fuel economy.
The interior of the Avalon has a lot of extra features. The touch-screen controls, hard drive, satellite television and other features are a tech geek’s dream and very appealing for the entire family. However, the quality of the building materials feels a bit cheap, especially with the high price of the Avalon.
Cargo space is pretty good, and the cabin space is fairly impressive, but the second-row seating has limited legroom, and the third row has barely any legroom to speak of. About 68 cubic feet of cargo space is available with the third seat up, which increases to 102 cubic feet when the third row seat is folded down.
Performance & Handling
Although the Avalon was once a competitor, new innovations by the competition have left the Avalon in the dust. The steering doesn’t respond very well, feeling almost lethargic at times. The wheels feel big and unwieldy on the pavement. However, when taken off the road the four-wheel-drive vehicles tend to perform pretty well, so if you’re an outdoorsy type, the Avalon may appeal to you.
The Chrysler Avalon’s most impressive feature is its 5.7-liter Hemi engine that produces a staggering 376 horsepower. The cylinder deactivation technology keeps the fuel economy on the Hemi about the same as on the standard V-8 engine. This engine performs better than many other vehicles in this segment, making it one of the fastest SUV models on the road.
Safety features are pretty standard on the Avalon: anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, and side curtain airbags come standard on all models. Trailer sway control is also standard, making towing a bit safer with the Avalon. The Aspen performed well in crash tests, receiving a five-star rating for front passenger safety.
EPA Fuel Economy
The Avalon gets 19/20 mpg city/highway.
The big Hemi V-8 engine is a real scream to open up on the freeway. The cargo capacity on the vehicle is quite nice, as is the towing capacity. The high-tech controls are also very appealing.
You Won't Like
The Chrysler Aspen is an SUV with a lot of problems. This big boy comes on a truck chassis, is big and unwieldy, and has terribly fuel economy – even with the two-mode hybrid option. The interior quality is also disappointing: the cabin is cramped and the unbelievably limited legroom in the second and third row is practically laughable. The difficult steering and rough ride also make the Avalon easy to pass up.
There are plenty of other SUVs on the market that are cheaper, perform better, and won’t make you pass out when staring at the sticker price.
If You Like This Vehicle
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