For 2007, the Toyota Avalon slims down to a single trim line: instead of the Touring and XLS models of 2006, there is a single XLS trim line, with two available Premium Packages. Vehicle stability control and traction control, previously optional, are now standard equipment.

The Avalon is powered by a 3.5-litre V6, which Toyota says is the most powerful V6 engine offered in a North American Toyota vehicle, at 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque; zero to 100 km/h is achieved in 6.9 seconds on premium fuel. It’s mated to a five-speed automatic with sequential manual-shift mode.

Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, CD stereo with nine speakers and wheel-mounted controls, automatic dual-zone air conditioning, heated leather seats with eight-way driver and four-way passenger power adjustment, Optitron electronic gauges, tilt and telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, cargo net, tire pressure monitoring system, heated mirrors with auto-dimming driver’s side, fog lamps and power sunroof.

The Premium Package adds a premium JBL CD/cassette stereo with twelve speakers, rear subwoofer, wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel and rain-sensing speakers, while the Premium Package with Navigation deletes the cassette player, and adds a DVD-based navigation system with multi-functional steering wheel controls.

The Avalon is a solid car, with bank-vault doors, whisper-quiet operation and considerable room inside. Its styling is understated and doesn’t make a big splash on the street, but this is all about being behind the wheel: this is Lexus quality at a Toyota price.

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