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2021 Toyota Avalon Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2021 Toyota Avalon Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: XLE vs XSE Nightshade vs TRD, Touring & Limited

What 2021 Toyota Avalon Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

The 2021 Toyota Avalon is an exemplary full-size sedan. With a spacious interior, large trunk, and good handling, the Avalon meets a lot of expectations. Because Toyota has made so many versions of the Avalon, customers have a lot to consider. The XLE trims are a little more traditional, with the XSE trims being more sporty and the higher trims showing a lot of sophistication. Hybrid trims provide intriguing choices for consumers who value efficiency.

It can be confusing to know which trim would suit one best, especially in the case where there are more than a few options to think about. This guide will provide detailed information about how each Avalon trim differs from the next.

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Compare the 2021 Toyota Avalon XLE vs XLE Hybrid. What is the Difference?

These XLE trims share many exterior features, as one would expect. LEDs have been used in their headlights, Daytime Running Lights, and taillights. In the XLE and XLE Hybrid, the door handles have been painted the same color as the car's exterior paint, as have the shark-fin antennas. Side mirrors are also the same color as the exterior paint, and they have turn signals built into them. The XLE trims have 17-inch wheels and available power moonroofs.

How they differ on the exterior is fairly minor. For instance, the XLE has dual chrome exhaust tips while the XLE Hybrid has one, which is hidden. Plus, the XLE Hybrid has an active grille shutter while the XLE does not.

The significant differences are seen with the engines. The base XLE model can either run on a 3.5-liter V6 or a 2.5-liter engine with four cylinders. The former provides 301 horsepower while the latter can generate 205 horsepower. There certainly is a significant increase in capability from one to the other. Remember, though, that a sedan with more than 200 horsepower can still do quite well in regular conditions. The XLE Hybrid uses an electric motor in conjunction with a 2.5-liter engine. The hybrid has 215 horsepower when both power sources are utilized.

One would definitely expect there to be some variation in fuel economy between these trims. With the 2.5-liter engine, the XLE can achieve 25 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway. With the larger engine, the car's efficiency drops to 22 miles per gallon in the city and 32 miles per gallon on the highway. In comparison, the XLE Hybrid can earn up to 44 miles per gallon.

It's important to note that the non-hybrid Avalon XLE that uses the 2.5-liter engine gets to have all-wheel drive. This is a big deal for the Avalon, as this has never been offered before. With all-wheel drive, the car can presumably do much better in slippery conditions, and people who frequently find themselves driving in wintry weather will appreciate having the extra traction.

Moving to the inside of the cabin of the XLE and XLE Hybrid, one could find them to be almost identical. They both have SofTex-trimmed seats, with the front seats being heated. They also both use the Smart Key System. This lets people keep their keys safely secured while they utilize the push-button start feature and take advantage of the door handles that can automatically lock and unlock when touched. The Avalon is one of the premium models made by Toyota, and as such, it comes standard with multiple storage compartments, multiple charging ports, two-zone climate control, and available wireless charging.

The theme of similarity continues as the technology packages of these trims are examined. Both the XLE and XLE Hybrid feature a nine-inch touchscreen, a speaker system that comes with a subwoofer, smartphone compatibility, and remote services. Those remote services allow drivers to connect with their vehicles via their smartphones. Mobile devices can be used to lock and unlock doors, start engines, and pinpoint locations when the cars have been parked. Navigation is available on these trims if anyone wishes to upgrade.

Toyota has installed its standard safety package into the XLE and XLE Hybrid trims. "Toyota Safety Sense P" consists of automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, high beams that can automatically turn on when appropriate, adaptive cruise control that works at a full range of speeds, and lane departure alert. In addition, these two trims have blind spot monitoring and a system that can monitor cross-traffic when the vehicle is backing up.

Compare the 2021 Toyota Avalon XLE Hybrid vs XSE Nightshade Trim. What is the Difference?

Moving from the XLE Hybrid to the XSE Nightshade comes with changes in several areas. The XSE Nightshade, which runs on the V6 engine, has some notable exterior upgrades. Its LED headlights are complemented by smoked chrome in the bezels, and the front grille has a sport mesh insert. That front grille is a gloss black instead of being chrome, and the XSE Nightshade's rear spoiler is also gloss black. Enhancing the bold aesthetic are a black Toyota emblem in the back of the car and black AVALON lettering. If it's not clear by now, black accents are part of what sets the Nightshade apart from the other trims. The XSE Nightshade has black window trims, door handles, shark-fin antenna, and exterior mirrors.

The XSE Nightshade has some other upgrades that aren't just for looks. It comes standard with a power moonroof, and it has an available sport-tuned exhaust. Rather than having twin exhaust tips, it has quad tips, and it rides on 19-inch black wheels.

Seats inside the XSE Nightshade use the same SofTex material found in the XSE Hybrid, but they have the addition of Ultrasuede inserts in some areas. With the Nightshade edition, interior trim is upgraded to genuine aluminum, and there are aluminum pedal covers. The Nightshade has HomeLink technology embedded into its rearview mirror, which means it can be used as a garage door opener.

Compare the 2021 Toyota Avalon XSE Nightshade vs XSE Hybrid Trim Level. What is the Difference?

When comparing the XSE Nightshade and XSE Hybrid, the main differences are related to the engine as well as some stylistic details. The XSE Hybrid uses the same 2.5-liter engine and electric motor as described above. It's similar to the XSE Nightshade in terms of the number and type of amenities, though it doesn't have all of those black highlights seen in the Nightshade. Rather than using 19-inch wheels, it has 18-inch versions.

Compare the 2021 Toyota Avalon XSE Hybrid vs TRD Trim. What is the Difference?

Moving up to the TRD trim takes the Avalon back to a V6 engine rather than the hybrid powertrain. There is a track-tuned suspension system as well as a premium brake system on the TRD that take the driving experience up a notch.

As a sporty, edgy version of the Toyota Avalon, the TRD trim has special red badging, a black roof, stainless steel exhaust tips, and gloss-black side mirrors and aero skirts. The seat belts are red, and there are red TRD logos stitched onto the headrests. More red stitching is found on the steering wheel. When someone goes to turn on the TRD's engine, a TRD animation pops up on the seven-inch information display behind the steering wheel. Toyota didn't miss a beat when designed the TRD, as it also put it a black leather shift knob with a TRD logo on it, aluminum pedals, and TRD floor mats.

Compare the 2021 Toyota Avalon TRD vs Touring Trim Level. What is the Difference?

Running on the same engines, the TRD and Touring feel somewhat similar, but the Touring has what many would consider to be more standard brakes and suspension. Both trims do have Active Cornering Assist to improve handling. The Touring has four driving modes as opposed to the TRD's three driving modes. The standard modes are Eco, Normal, and Sport, and the Touring has Sport+ to amp up the responsiveness.

A big change is seen in the cabin, as the Touring has navigation as a standard component and an available 360-degree camera. Plus, its infotainment system includes 14 speakers made by JBL. The Touring can really provide a quality listening experience, as it has mechanisms that can reduce the amount of outside sound that's heard in the cabin.

The seats on the Touring are trimmed in perforated SofTex, and the two seats in front are heated and ventilated. Further, the rear seats are heated, which cements the Touring's position as a luxury vehicle. One more heating element is found in the steering wheel. Some little touches can make a big difference in how the cabin feels. For instance, the Touring has ambient lighting and a frameless rearview mirror.

On the outside of the Touring, there are some key elements that have a wow factor. The dynamic turn signals can attract a lot of attention on the roads, and the adaptive cornering lights can do a great job of lighting up the road. And, the side mirror on the driver's side can automatically dim when bright lights are detected.

Compare the 2021 Toyota Avalon Touring vs Limited Trim. What is the Difference?

When looking at the Limited trim, one thing mentioned previously comes back into play. The Limited, like the XLE, can come with two different engines. It can run on the same V6 that many of the other trims have under their hoods, or it can run on a 2.5-liter engine. This smaller engine doesn't have the same level of horsepower that the larger one does, but it does come with all-wheel drive.

Slight modifications are made to the Avalon as the trim jumps from the Touring to the Limited. The Limited has a dark gray insert in its front grille, and it has color-keyed exterior mirrors. It rides on 18-inch chrome alloy wheels, and this exemplifies how some of the sporty features seen in the Touring have been replaced with more refined elements.

The Limited is the only trim to have premium leather seats. Making things more convenient for the primary driver of the Avalon is a memory function in the driver's seat. The steering wheel can be programmed to remember a favorite position as well. On the Limited, the leather seats are complemented by a wood interior trim. Again, navigation is standard.

The safety package remains unchanged when moving from the Touring to the Limited. In fact, the safety package is fairly consistent when looking at all of the trims. Both the Touring and the Limited can be upgraded with automatic braking that can engage when the vehicle is about to back up into cross traffic.

Compare the 2021 Toyota Avalon Limited vs Limited Hybrid. What is the difference?

As seen with previous trims, the most noteworthy difference between the Limited and the Limited Hybrid lies with the powertrain. The Hybrid is a smart option for anyone who wants all of the premium components that the Limited trim has but also wants to reduce fuel consumption.

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Which Trim to Choose?

There's a lot to think about with the 2021 Toyota Avalon. From the XLE to the Limited Hybrid, there is a wide range of trim levels, but the good news is that all of them are fully equipped with advanced technology and driver-assist systems.

Considering the growing demand for hybrids and the company's experience in the field, it makes sense that Toyota has designed a few hybrid versions of the Avalon. If efficiency matters to people and they like the size that the Avalon sedan has to offer, these hybrids would be excellent choices.

When it comes to trim, people have to decide how many features they really need and ask themselves some important questions. Is the SofTex material nice enough, or are seating upgrades preferred? Is all-wheel drive necessary in the winter months? Do the stylistic details matter that much?

The Toyota Avalon isn't the most budget-friendly of vehicles with its starting price of over $35,800. Given the need to take affordability into a customer's decision-making process, the XLE is the recommended trim. It has all, or nearly all, of the high-tech components that most consumers are looking for, and it has plenty of convenient features and modern touches that would make it a pleasure to drive. Perhaps most importantly, it comes with competitive starting price and a choice of engines.

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Previous Toyota Avalon Trim Configurations:

Compare the 2020 Toyota Avalon Trim Levels