Like its Cressida ancestor, Toyota's Avalon has long focused on easy living comfort and value over sex appeal. Conservative sheetmetal, a cushy ride, space to spread out and general ease-of-use have historically made the brand's largest sedan popular among the elderly. But the new 2013 Avalon brings with it markedly more expressive styling that suggests Toyota is no longer content to cater to the end-of-life demographic. This shift away from a more traditional value set to edgier design and content is one the entire large non-premium sedan segment seems to be embracing – witness the newly upscale 2014 Chevrolet Impala, as well as the sculpted flanks of the 2012 Hyundai Azera and Ford Taurus.

The 2013 model's noticeably svelter sheetmetal, with its bolder front end and flowing greenhouse announce Toyota's intent, but it's features like a Sport mode and paddle shifters that really telegraph the Avalon's newfound vigor and more aspirational mission. And Toyota officials tell Autoblog that the already-shown V6 and hybrid models are just the beginning – a stand-alone sport model is also under serious consideration.

A trio of Avalon concepts is headed to SEMA this October, with two of them having been completed internally – unusual for Toyota.

According to Randy Stephens, the model's chief engineer, a trio of Avalon concepts is headed to SEMA this October, with two of them having been completed internally – unusual for Toyota. The pair of concepts conceived in-house will have a performance bent, with at least one featuring an off-the-shelf supercharger from the company's TRD parts bin in Australia (the same forced-induction setup used in the Lotus Evora S). The house-built Avalons are said to not be as outrageously styled as most SEMA vehicles tend to be, in large measure because Toyota plans to weigh public opinion with an eye toward a production run.

When asked if a sportier production Avalon model would be similar to the current Camry model's SE trim, Stephens quickly and decisively said, "No. It has to be more real." By "more real," Stephens means that a hotter Avalon would have to actually offer augmented performance. A production supercharged model? Highly unlikely. A performance tune of the Avalon's 2GR-FE 3.5-liter V6 (268 horsepower, 248 pound-feet of torque) is more plausible, along with a reworked suspension and appropriate visuals. With the 2013 model's switch to electric power steering, it would also be easy to remap the wheel's turn-in and weight.

The Georgetown, Kentucky-built Avalon hits dealers this fall in both standard and hybrid flavors. If given the green light, a performance will probably take another couple of years.


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  • 141 Comments
      desinerd1
      • 2 Years Ago
      I appreciate what Toyota is doing, but let's compare this to Genesis V6 for a second. Compared to Avalon, Genesis has a more powerful engine (333hp), 8 speed transmission, is RWD and comes with more standard features. I know they are not in the same segment, but if you are going to spend 35K, why not get a Genesis.
        Henry
        • 2 Years Ago
        @desinerd1
        Are you joking? You are comapring the Hyundai Genesis with a Toyota Avalon? I may bot care too much about Toyota products but comapring their products with Hyundai just does not hold water in my book.
          NightFlight
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Henry
          You are joking, right? It is obvious that you've never driven a Genesis in your life. It is in a whole different league compared to the Avalon. Everything about it is in a different league, don't forget that it is RWD vs. FWD.
          Toddley
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Henry
          Have you been living in a hole the last 5 years?
          Henry
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Henry
          @Toddley and NightFlight, hype and herpoble are overrated. You may not understand that statement but I will direct you to this link: http://www.autoblog.com/2012/06/20/j-d-power-initial-quality-study-highlights-infotainment-woes-p/. Then visit this: http://businesscenter.jdpower.com/news/pressrelease.aspx?ID=2011089. Now, after reading and analyzing the data assuming that you know what that means, tell me where Toyota and Hyundai rank. And we know what happened after Equus was ranked high in the Luxury division last year, don't we?
          cpmanx
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Henry
          This may be one of the most boring arguments I've witnessed on AB.
        Antonio Bailey™
        • 2 Years Ago
        @desinerd1
        Because you have a crystal ball and you know the full specification list of the new Avalon? Another fail of a troll.
      Aphidavis
      • 2 Years Ago
      Am I the only person who is totally turned off by the drap Gray interiors? Today at a car show I was so excited to see 50's and 60's cars with their beautiful colored interiors. Beautiful cars!
      Cruising
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sporty is nice but I'm looking forward to the hybrid model, supposidly it will get high 30s to 40 MPG, amazing.
      wylin923
      • 2 Years Ago
      i have a better idea bring back the mark 2 or mark X/ chaser/ cresseda the RWD mass produced non premium sedan and make it with a supercharged 3.5 liter v6/ 4 pot brakes/ and Torsen lsd for thje top trims.
      Mondrell
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not sure what the point is given the Avalon's current price spread. Anything beyond an appearance package is highly apt to take the asking price into the territory of cars with more established sporting credentials in terms of both engineering and/or history, meaning that as Mister Stephens more or less admitted, Toyota would almost certainly have to pursue substantial upgrades just to make a blip on the radar. Besides, Toyota already tried the Camry SE-esque treatment by way of the Touring trim, which apparently wasn't chosen often enough for Toyota to continue offering it after the '10 facelift. Having actually driven one, it handled well, but rode busily considering that large car buyers tend to hold athleticism as a secondary consideration at best. In my opinion, all-wheel-drive should be strongly considered. Most FWD-based cars offer AWD at $40k, and have shown us that while you may not match BMW 3s or Infiniti Gs for driving enjoyment, a decently-sorted system, whether front or rear-biased, can credibly extend both the car's performance and utility threshold. Both could come in handy if Toyota commits to a power increase, and while it would add weight, it'd be a more holistic approach to bettering the Avalon.
      Charcoal
      • 2 Years Ago
      Waiting for fish jokes...
      Bruce Lee
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm not sure what more horsepower is gonna do given that it's a FWD sedan...it's already pushing the limits of traction and torque steer as it is. Maybe if they implemented some sort of AWD that could send a lot of power to the rear, but unless they think they can sell real volume this isn't going to make any sense. Then again maybe they could modify their hybrid systems to allow the rear wheels to get driven by electric power and use a lighter weight and low mounted lithium ion battery pack to give it Model S-like handling characteristics. That would be pretty interesting actually.
      Ak74
      • 2 Years Ago
      BMW 5GT flavor
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Adrian
        • 2 Years Ago
        Because it's not a sporty car to begin with.
          Bruce Lee
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Adrian
          I don't get it, you haven't driven the new Avalon so how do you know how the base model drives let alone the sports version? And the base model doesn't have to be a sporty car for the souped up version to be great. The 1992 Taurus wasn't exactly a friggin' sports car but the SHO is still a legend. The haterade is stupid as hell anyway, if you don't like it don't friggin' buy it, how does Toyota making a sporty large sedan hurt actual auto enthusiasts?
          Adrian
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Adrian
          Wow, Max, someone hasn't gotten laid in a while. Back to the point, I agree with what MANARC100 said about this car...."This seems like an answer to a question no one asked." Seriously, who's looking for performance in their AVALON? Features like standard 10 mph under-the-speed-limit cruise control or a pill organizer on the dash would be more marketable to the Avalon shopper than performance. :)
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Adrian
          [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Adrian
          [blocked]
        Mr. Ortiz
        • 2 Years Ago
        I agree people are never happy, Toyota finally decides to change its model line up and offer something other then what they have in the past and people still moan and whine.
      wanderlust
      • 2 Years Ago
      Those new fangled Avalons sure are the bee's nee's, now if only they would come equipped with rocking chairs and denture holders.
        Adrian
        • 2 Years Ago
        @wanderlust
        I think we had the same image of the average Avalon driver, wanderlust.
      Adrian
      • 2 Years Ago
      Better install a defibrillator in it, then.....wouldn't want the average Avalon driver to suffer a heart attack going that fast, they're used to driving a vanilla snoozebox!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Adrian
        [blocked]
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Adrian
        [blocked]
          NightFlight
          • 2 Years Ago
          I've seen a handful of current gen SHOs at VIR and Summit Point. Don't underestimate them.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Ryan Allaman
        • 2 Years Ago
        The side skirts on my 4 cylinder Camry make it go super fast and handle like a lotus.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ryan Allaman
          [blocked]
        • 2 Years Ago
        [blocked]
        Bruce Lee
        • 2 Years Ago
        I own a Camry and I'd actually be pretty intrigued if they actually pulled it off. I've owned less appliance-esque cars before and driven totally impractical sports cars around but to be honest I wouldn't mind a car that had the ergonomics/comfort/reliability of a Camry but genuinely great driving experience. There are a crapload of FWD Audi's out there so it's not like this market doesn't exist. No car in this class is in the least bit sporty at the moment except *maybe* the SHO and that's self defeated by it's ridiculous 4400lb curb weight. It'll basically be Toyota's Regal GS and I never see anybody bitching about the fact that no Buick owners have really demanded a sports version either (seriously, your average Buick owner is way older than your average Toyota driver)
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