Not so long ago, an Audi designer told me that the company’s grilles had gotten as big as they feasibly could. You might think other manufacturers are thinking along similar lines right now, bringing the big gob madness to a stop, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Not judging by the new Toyota Avalon, at least.
The front-end of the car is by our reckoning at least 75 per cent grille. It’s a bold look, isn’t it? And now, we know how much the fifth-gen Avalon - reveal at the Detroit Auto Show a few months ago - will cost: it’s $35,500.
That buys you the XLE-trimmed car with a 3.5-litre V6 produces 297bhp. Alternatively, there’s a hybrid powertrain option, which makes a combined 212bhp from a 2.5-litre inline-four and a pair of electric motors. It’s $36,500 in XLE trim.
The top-of-the-range Touring version (only available with the V6) has standard-fit adaptive dampers and a massive 10-inch head-up display (also fitted to the ‘Limited’ version), but the base trim levels aren’t exactly poverty-spec. All cars come with Apple CarPlay, 10 airbags and Toyota’s Safety Sense active safety systems. And, of course, that huge grille, the look of which varies depending on which version you go for.
How do you feel about the Avalon’s dramatic new look? The Lexus ES-related car has long had a fusty image, so is this the revamp it needed, or a step too far? Let us know your grille thoughts in the comments…