2013 Toyota Avalon Review – Video

Next-gen product in search of next-gen customers

2013 Toyota Avalon Review  – Video
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Square in styling with a bland interior, the outgoing Avalon offered a mediocre transportation experience for the disaffected and uninspired Baby Boomer (or older) whittling away at a middling existence. It’s no wonder so many Toyota owners preferred to stick to the ever popular Camry or moved-up past the Avalon to the sharper Lexus ES.

FAST FACTS

1. Retaining its 3.6L V6 engine power is rated at 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque.

2. Toyota’s flagship sedan, the Avalon is available exclusively in the US and Canada.

3. Fuel economy improves significantly for 2013 with a 21/31 mpg (city/highway) rating.

4. For the first time Toyota will offer the Avalon with a hybrid option, delivering 40 mpg city and 39 mpg highway.

5. Available is a drive mode selector with an Eco, Normal and Sport mode to adjust throttle response and steering.

With the boomers now becoming seniors, Toyota has revamped its next-generation Avalon in search of the next generation of customers; those who grew up listening to Hip Hop, watching Kevin Smith movies and questioning the Gulf War: generation X.

While still delivering core large-car values to keep the faithful coming back, Toyota’s engineers also made “fun-to-drive” a priority while adding a dramatic change in style to help entice those for whom the Avalon name is entirely foreign.

MALE PATTERN BOLDNESS

When we first caught wind of the updated design back in January, we could see how the new Avalon borrowed some styling cures from the Lexus family while still maintaining a somewhat conservative Toyota presence.

Toyota’s Calty Design Studio is behind the redux. Not familiar with their work? Google the critically acclaimed Lexus LF-LC concept car that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year – it’s a thing of beauty.

A tremendous refresh in the right direction the Avalon now looks bold and unique with an impactful front fascia, a wider body, stylized wheels, HID and LED lighting and new paint colors like Moulin Rouge.

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LUXURIOUS AND FEATURE-FILLED

2013 Toyota Avalon Interior

Past Avalon models may have received criticisms in certain areas, but where the big car always excelled was in delivering a roomy interior and comforting features. The new car carries on this tradition.

More spacious than a BMW 5 Series, the overall cabin width is increased by a couple of inches with cushy seat bottoms though sportier seatbacks.

New interior trim options are showcased with ambient lighting, while Almond leather (replacing Ivory) as well as Light Gray and Black are the cabin choices on offer. Limited trim models get rear heated seats, though at a cost; the reclining rear seat feature has been discontinued.

2013 Toyota Avalon infotainmentThe driver’s needs are not neglected with detailed jewel-like gauges, paddle shifters, a leather steering wheel with audio controls and a center stack with advance digital displays. Included in the new technology suite are capacitive-touch controls (able to accommodate hands with long nails or gloves) for audio and climate settings along with a docking area for USB connections, smartphone charging/connectivity and placement for a new iPad mini. Optional is an 8-speaker JBL audio system while Toyota’s Entune system comes comprised of Bluetooth, HD radio, Pandora, iHeartRadio and much more.

While the base XLE grade comes nicely equipped with soft-touch materials, chrome accents, leather finishings, 17-inch wheels and LED lighting for $30,990, the Premium grade adds heated leather seats, a moonroof and heated mirrors for $33,195. Moving-up to $35,500, the XLE Touring model increases the wheel size to 18-inches, includes the Sport and Eco drive modes, paddle-shifters, leather finishings, premium tailor-made stitching, and a Display Audio system with Entune. But the real luxury cruiser (and our tester), is the Limited trim, encompassing 18-inch wheels, HID lighting, as well as premium leather and audio features, for $39,650.

Also available is a pre-collision system which can bring the car to a full-stop, a blind spot monitor, a rear cross traffic alert system, adaptive cruise ontrol and a back-up Camera.

Rear seat space is, as expected, expansive while trunk room is large at 16 cu-ft of space.

SPORT IS JUST A “MODE” AWAY

2013 Toyota Avalon 3Q High

Equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, the same unit as the Lexus ES350, it makes 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque though feels faster when pushed. Maintaining similar power numbers to the past, fuel economy has improved from 19/25 (city/hwy) to 21/31/25 (city/hwy/combined).

A stiffened suspension and chassis help deliver the ride you would expect with a dash of sport added to an experience that is luxurious and smooth, though on the verge of lazy. Body roll continues to be a trademark of this full-size sedan.

Aiding the enjoyment factor considerably is a Sport Mode that modifies the throttle response and steering, though perhaps excessively in regards to the latter. Feeling like too much work for a daily commute, it is a nice change of pace for the occasional bout of speed. Pick up the pace and the car’s maneuverability is challenged, though its curb weight of 3,500 lbs is less than hefty for its size.

For those not planning a more aggressive drive, the Eco mode performs with less throttle and more release in the steering power, affording a level of calming comfort found in hybrid vehicles. If neither modes are engaged, the vehicle runs in a conventional normal mode, half way between the two “extremes.”

THE HYBRID CONNECTION

2013 Toyota Avalon Headlight

There’s no need to just settle for a “hybrid-like” feel, however, with Toyota for the first time offering a gasoline-electric version of the Avalon. Equipped with the same 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine found in the Camry and Lexus ES hybrids, power is rated at 200 hp while several drive modes (EV, Eco, Normal and Sport) make the drive customizable.

Equal in size and luxury the obvious buying factor is fuel economy with a 39 mpg city and 40 mpg highway rating. Despite the downgrade in power and the car’s obvious dimensions, the hybrid still feels fully capable, especially in Sport mode with instant response from the electric motor.

The added fuel economy comes at an added expense, at roughly $2,000 more than gas models with the XLE Premium trim priced at $35,555, the XLE Touring at $37,250, and the Limited at  $41,400. The only other down side is reduced trunk space, though it suffers only minutely with 14 cu-ft remaining.

THE VERDICT

2013 Toyota Avalon Rear 3Q

More luxurious and more engaging (a feat achieved with little difficulty), the new Avalon is certainly an enticing proposition for its historic buyers, though it’s not clear if a new generation of buyer, which once putted around in the likes of the Hyundai Excel, has any interest in the large car segment. If they do, and the stigma of the Avalon as the Japanese Buick and the last thing you drive before you meet your maker hasn’t soured them, then Toyota may have a winning product.

That’s a lot of qualifications to meet in order to achieve success, though undoubtedly the Avalon has fewer hurdles to cross than the Buick LaCrosse, Ford Taurus or the outdated Nissan Maxima.

LOVE IT
  • New styling
  • Selectable Drive Modes
  • Hybrid option
LEAVE IT
  • Body-roll
  • Removal of rear reclining seats

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  • yo

    interior= awesome. Exterior..looks like it swallowed a harmonica…and is choking on it. 

  • http://twitter.com/alhmnci AUTO WORLD
  • Mike Stoddart

    This is what the Camry should look like. The styling is much better.

  • $29896495

    Looks like a direct copy of the Fusion. Have a look at your Japanese Toyotas, and see where it was really styled.

  • Coolsuaveguy

    Hyundai designers must be perplexed at this point in time. They have spent the last 20 years trying to imitate other brands, and now the top two Japanese car companies have decided to imitate Hyundai designs. First Honda made a 75% copy of the Genesis sedan, including a 100% replica of the 3/4 rear end for its best seller, the new Honda Accord. 
    Now Toyota has followed Honda, and has copied the Sonata’s front end, and the Azera’s rear end, super-sized it, and has called it The new American designed Toyota Avalon. This must be the end of the world, and maybe this is what the Aztecs meant when they made the solar Calendar. A picture is worth a 1000 words, but in this case, all I can say is…what the hell were they thinking?

  • Wille

    Review and examine your comment and then take a look at some of the design of some old Lexuses, like the 2006 IS, and other brands, especially luxury brands .  As you can see, Hyundai’s been taking Toyota’s design at the unawareness of trolls like you. The only thing is that people in general don’t have the time to reply to to those derp comments.  Take a look at the current Sonata’s design, the front is basically a mutation of the 2006-2012 Avalon if you have actually paid close attention.  As for the rear, I’ve seen Lexus have that kind of diagonal brake light style for years before Hyundai even came out with it’s first one in 2009. Hyundai’s been spending the last 20 years trying to imitate other brands?, well if you actually researched, it has tried to imitate successful brands for all it’s lifetime.

  • Wille

     Yeah, I don’t know what was Toyota thinking when they designed the Camry.  Just because that model is a hot sell, it doesn’t mean they should become careless and stoop down it’s innovation.   The same butchering that they’re doing with the next generation Corolla, in Japan which is already on market.  I sincerely hope that design of the Corolla will not be the U.S release as the 11th generation.  Hopefully the 2013 Avalon is the beginning of Toyota’s new innovative design.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XDUESBJWB7PVHBI7J3PCLZPZMA Jeffrey

    If this is the new bold styling, a goofy look a like camary with a big mouth.  Lord help us all

  • Frankenbeans

    My mussy wants one!

  • Guest

    The Azera it’s more beautiful than the Avalon with a better price, the tail light of the Avalon are a copy fron the Azera.

  • Jasper2

    This car is UGLY! Why does it need a grille the size of a Mack truck’s? And the lower grille serves no obvious purpose but to add revenue to Toyota’s body part business. One careless parker in front of you and you will cough up $500 (just under your insurance deductible) to replace it. A gaping mouth with a little moustache above it.

    From the side and rear it resembles an already dated Hyundai Sonata.

    But the real prize winner is the dashboard. No two parallel lines to be found. Even the center air vent is asymmetrical for crying out loud. Fake wood abounds. Does anyone seriously believe that fake wood looks real? I get dizzy just looking at it.

    This car is an aesthetic disaster. Toyota should be embarrassed. They went from bad to awful in this redesign. This is proof that the Avalon doesn’t deserve to exist. At best, it is merely a badly designed, bloated Camry (which in itself is no beauty prize winner!

  • $29896495

    Anybody got an idea why it has a Ford grill?

  • Jasper2

    In case you haven’t noticed, Hyundai IS a successful brand.

    Avalon has basically been the Buick for baby boomer import buyers for years but has never really found a market. It is now abandoning that small market for whom? Which market is this car targeting? The aesthetically challenged?

  • Jcarroll1906

    Im glad its not just me. I view the Avalon’s grill as looking like a big mouth with smiling teeth!

  • Tom D Smith

    We love our new avalon hybrid.Do not see any others on the road!

  • $29896495

    I keep thinking I’m looking at a Fusion when I see this car

  • JAK

    I cannot believe someone would say it’s ugly.  The car is beautiful.  I was going to get a ES350 but think this is far more beautiful.  And I’m 41 – not 91.

  • $29896495

    It’s not ugly, just derivative.

  • Huite999

    I have driven three avalons so far. And the more i look for my next car: I think I’m buying my 4ht Avalon when the time comes….. best sedan for the price.

  • Huite999

    Give them a test drive and you will see the diference..

  • Roman

    First Avalon ever, I am 55 my son is 16 with his G1 license. We both love it, from the ride quality and styling to the stares from passers-by. My son loves the look and does not think it is simply an older person car. We looked at many cars from the new Honda, new Cadillac ATS, Altima,etc and choose the Avalon right after its first test drive.

  • Doug

    I just recently purchased a 2013 Toyota Avalon XLE Premium Hybrid after looking for months. I waited because most dealers would not dicount the new Avalon. I found exactly what I wanted and a dealer that dicounted the car $3000.00. I traded a 2012 Camry XLE with 32,000 miles and got $500 above edmunds trade in value. As for the car I love the styling and the MPG is impressive. I have no buyers remorse and would do it again tomorrow. The Camry was a great ride but the Avalon is even better. The only thing I did not like about both cars were the tires. Toyota puts aperformancea tire with a Treadwear rating of 260 on these cars. The 260 Treadwear rating is about a 30,000 mile tire and my Camry tires were about worn out even though they were rotated every 5000 miles. So the first thing I did was replace the tires with a 640 Treadwear rating which is about a 70,000 mile tire. My wifes Cadillac has 640 Treadwear ratings tires and she has 46,000 miles on them and they have 5/32 remaining.

  • Sorry Toyota Buyer

    I’ve owned this car for less than a week and have 2 problems with it, the back of the driver side seat panel broke and the headliner is falling down. The sad part of this story is that Toyota knows about these problems and kept letting dealers sell this defective car. This is not an isolated incident, check Toyota Nation to read other owners with this same issue. Toyota is finally issuing a bulletin to the dealer on these problems. The dealer will fix it under warranty but I don’t feel the same, I expect a new car to be trouble free not have to be rebuilt.

  • Kerm

    Fusion! No way! I just bought this car. I’ve had it for 2 weeks and 1000 miles. Love it!! It’s smooth and fast. I tried the Fusion…it was so cramped inside, no leg room for the passengers in the back seat. This car is very comfortable and spaciuos inside. Plenty of leg room for the driver and passangers in the back. Love it! I’m glad I bought it.

  • George Boosh

    My main complaint is that the car MUST be tethered to a smart phone to use the Internet. No, you can’t use a cell phone hotspot (though I heard certain droids will work that way). I have a WiFi hotspot and it will not work with entune, which is lame.
    Also, the almond interior on most Avalons is unappealing. The one I bought has granite interior, much nicer.

  • billym67

    Unfortunately, these are known issues with the 2013 model that Toyota has fixed and do not happen on the new 2014 models (which I just bought an have 2K miles with no issues).

  • billym67

    “Optional is an 8-speaker JBL audio system…” Actually, I just bought one and this is not correct. The 8-speaker set-up is the base unit. The optional audio system, only available in the Limited, is an 11-speaker JBL Systhesis system, with amplifier, and a 7″ LCD navigation screen.

  • billym67

    In every review of the top five large sedans, the new Avalon is either number 1 or 2, while the Azera is 5 (with its Kia cousin number 4). Hyundai are much better than they use to be, but are still not tops yet.