Toyota’s big news at the NAIAS was the new Avalon. The previous editions were not particularly attractive and this one continues that trend. The huge gaping mouth grille with a “diamond” texture for the regular model and horizontal bars for the hybrid is just too big and clumsy, the strange hood cut line above the grille looks awful on light colored cars, the body forms at the base of the A-pillar are awkward, the semi-fastback design doesn’t seem to fit the intended customer base. In addition to all this, Toyota having been stung by “boring cars” criticism, seems hell bent on making everything sporty and aggressive. Prominent air intakes flank the grille, even the base car has a black decklid spoiler (styled-in spoiler on the hybrid) and there are four exhaust pipes.
The interior is decent. The dominant centre console has the infotainment screen extending above IP surface, but still integrated. Somehow the console is a bit dated looking.
New for the US, was the boxy FT-4X Concept. An interesting design study aimed at creating something new in the small SUV category, maybe even Toyota’s answer to the Jeep Wrangler. The asymmetrical design is rather complicated, with many interesting feature lines, openings and colour treatments.
The C-HR is also new to the US. An interesting small vehicle that is hard to position in the market. The design is busy, with complex shapes and feature lines. The roof extension is exaggerated, there are large “stand off” taillamps and the rear door handles are semi-concealed.