By: James Nelson examiner.com
Following our first drive of the new 2013 Toyota Avalon, we think that Toyota has really stepped up with their new premium mid-size sedan both in the gas and the hybrid versions. We liked what we saw and drove and we think the consumer is going to as well.
Toyota has long needed a new, fresh and vibrant look for their Avalon mid-size sedan. Earlier this year they gave us a first look at what they felt was going be a game changer and put passion back into the Toyota brand. We were pretty impressed with the new styling, upgraded materials inside and the selection of technology that Toyota intended to include.
The proof was going to be in the first drive of the new 2013 Toyota Avalon.
From our drive of the factory beta prototypes this last week, we think they have made their mark and will definitely create a new excitement as they re-position themselves to a slightly younger demographic in the premium mid-size segment with the new Avalon.
Some design and styling cues that impressed us were the subtle yet expressive improvements to the body styling front, rear, sides and roof line plus a new bold grille opening, wider wheel stance front and rear and the new Quadrabeam headlight cluster.
The newly designed interior is highlighted by a sculpted dash panel with concave surfaces that accent the features and functions of the accessories and instrumentation while giving a feel of a spacious custom interior.
The design of the dash and instrument cluster elements almost eliminate the traditional “center stack” look giving a more distinctive almost custom separation of the driver side from the passenger side of the front seating areas of the cabin. The hand stitched premium soft touch materials are nicely matched and compliment the balance of the interior finish materials well.
The interior cabin space is improved, in particular, by the addition of the WIL (Whiplash Injury Lessening) engineered front seating that enables a thinner seat back with actually more protection and support for the driver and passenger while giving more leg/knee room to the rear passengers.
The all-new Avalon will be available in two grades (XLE and Limited), but will have seven trim level models that cover a competitive price range that will make the new Avalon even more attractive to a broader range of consumers.
For 2013, this new five passenger flagship sedan is available with gasoline V6 Front Wheel Drive (FWD) or the Hybrid Synergy Drive power train.
The Avalon V6 model is powered by a 268 hp, 3.5 liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic that helps the car offer a combined EPA-rating of 25 mpg (21 city mpg, and 31 mpg).
The Avalon Hybrid is powered by a Hybrid Synergy Drivetrain that includes a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle, four cylinder engine, an electronic CVT that contains two electric motors, and a 244.8-volt battery that help produce an overall system output of 200 hp. The Avalon Hybrid is EPA-rated at a combined 40 mpg (40 mpg city/ 39 mpg hwy).
Both of these power train combinations performed exceptionally well in our test drives. Power, acceleration and ride were definitely premium level responsive for all the models and trims. The new Avalon cabin was very quiet in all the drive situations we experienced, a notable improvement in cabin ambiance from the earlier generations.
In particular, the Drive Mode System is well tuned to the power train, steering and suspension of the new Avalon. The settings for the V6 model are ECO, Normal and Sport. For the Hybrid, the settings are EV (to stay in electric drive mode at low speeds), ECO and Sport
The trim levels for the Avalon are gas – XLE, XLE Premium and XLE Touring. For the XLE Hybrid, the trim levels are Premium and Touring. The Limited model has a single trim level only and is available with both gas and Hybrid power trains.
MSRP pricing for the new 2013 Avalon line is as follows:
XLE Premium $33,195
XLE Touring $35,500
XLE Premium $35,555
XLE Touring $37,250
Toyota has designed and engineered the new Avalon to provide the most standard equipment and functionality at each trim level price.
Toyota has packed the new Avalon with standard equipment by trim level as follows:
XLE – 2-door Smart Key, 17-inch Alloy Wheels, Heated Outer Mirrors, Leather Seats, 6.1-inch Touch Screen Display, Audio with 8-Speakers, Heated Front Seats, Outer Mirror Turn Signals and Power 8-way Driver Seat & 4-way Passenger Seat.
XLE PREMIUM – adds to the XLE features the following: 3-door Smart Key, Backup Camera, Auto-dimming Mirror w/ Compass, Moon roof, Garage Door Opener and the 3-button Eco Switch for the Hybrid.
XLE TOURING – adds Fog Lamps, Display Audio w/ Navigation & Entune audio system with 9 Speakers, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Outer Mirror & Driver Seat Memory, 18-inch Alloy Wheel (gas model), 3-button Eco Switch (gas) and Paddle Shifters (gas).
LIMITED – adds HID Headlights, LED DRL’s, Premium Perforated Leather Seats, Auto-dimming Outer Mirrors, Puddle Lamps, Rain Sensing Wipers, Ventilated (cool) Front Seats, Heated Rear Seats, 7-inch High-resolution Touch Screen Audio w/ Navigation, Entune & JBL 11-Speaker with two Subwoofers Audio System, Color HVAC Screen, Power 10-way Driver Seat & 8-way Pass Seat, Sunshade, Rear Seat HVAC, Ambient Lighting and the Toyota Safety Connect system.
In fact, in the effort to provide the customer the most value for the money without confusing extras and optional packages to consider, Toyota is offering only one optional package (Technology Package – $1,750) on the Avalon Limited gas and Hybrid model only. This package includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Automatic High Beams and Pre-Collision brake assistance system.
This new Avalon will also enable Toyota to sell into a new market, Car Service/Livery, where Toyota believes the new Avalon will provide exceptional value, reliability and comfort for operators and customers of the Car Service industry. Toyota has created a special edition Avalon L model (in both gas and Hybrid) based off the XLE to address this market segment.
The V6 Avalon and Avalon Hybrid arrive in dealerships at the beginning of December.
We think Toyota has a winner here and look forward to being able to take a longer test drive on the new 2013 Toyota Avalon premium mid-size sedan.