Monday, October 13, 2014

2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid tames N.C.'s Tail of the Dragon

2014 Avalon at a scenic boat ramp

The 2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is one QUIET driving machine.
Literally when you push the Start button, you cannot hear the car start up.
I will report that I am new to the hybrid market, but others around me have the same reaction.
Those standing outside the car, cannot tell when I have hit Start and when I turn it Off.
Reports of electric and hybrid cars being too quiet may be right on the money.
Then again, what can be deemed too quiet when touring the scenic N.C. mountains.

I tamed the Tail of the Dragon!
The 50th Anniversary meeting of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association brought me to Fontana, N.C. which includes a drive along The Hellbender 28. This curving road with steep inclines and declines is also known as the Tail of The Dragon for its serpentine-like pathway that continues for several miles. Driving this road in the 2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid was one of the finest driving experiences this middle-aged writer has ever felt. The quiet power of the vehicle and and the extreme comfort inside the auto combined for an exhilarating combo.
Pulling out of Fontana Village

Another calming effect on this driver is the 40 gallons per mile fuel economy that this Avalon registers when on these remote roads. There are not many gas stations in rural Swain County but that brings little worry when your auto doesn't need to stop for fuel too often. The dashboard speedometer is accompanied by a dial that shows when the auto is in eco mode, charge mode or power mode and gas mileage can also be selected to display.

Hybrid Dashboard View
Other points of interest include the handsome exterior of the Avalon which has been rounded at the truck, a definite improvement from the first Avalon models. The back seat is roomy with leg room for two adults, providing just a bit more space than a Lexus ES 350 in comparison. Adding features like satellite radio, navigation and cooling seats only make this hybrid a better product. Moderate temps while in Fontana allowed me to keep the sunroof open for maximum viewing of the leaves that were just beginning to show their fall colors.

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