Toyota’s Avalon Hybrid is a fuel-sipping sedan with an elegant interior presentation and a smooth as silk ride. Changes are minimal for the 2016 model year as the hybrid version debuted in the 2013 model year. It remains the only hybrid in the midsize segment. There’s new front end styling, a new base model designation (XLE Plus replaces XLE Touring), and added features on the three trim levels (XLE Plus, XLE Premium, and Limited). A week-long test drive of the 111- inch wheelbase Avalon Hybrid underscored the car’s luxury lures. Front and rear riders have loads of legroom (42.1 inches for front passengers and 39.2 inches for rear occupants). The sedan’s14 cubic feet of trunk space is less than the non-hybrid Avalon’s 16 cubic feet.

Avalon Hybrid uses a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine producing 156 horsepower at 5700 rpm and 156 pounds-feet of torque at 4500 rpm, and a 105 kW electric motor (permanent magnet AC synchronous motor). The combined engine/electric motor output is 200 horsepower. For short distances at speeds under 20 mph, the car can be driven in electric-only mode. The four-door’s nickel metal hydride hybrid battery (204 cell pack) is packaged in the trunk area. Test-driven Avalon Hybrid XLE Plus collects estimated mpg of 40 city/39 highway and carries an MSRP of $36,650.