2014 Avalon Hybrid New Car Test Drive
The Toyota Avalon has been completely redesigned for the 2013 model year. We thought the previous-generation Avalon (2005-2012 models) was commendable for its smooth ride and easy operability. The all-new 2013 Avalon builds on this, offering more responsive handling while maintaining excellent ride quality. A smooth, powerful V6 engine comes standard, while a hybrid gas-electric powertrain is optional for better fuel economy and extremely low emissions. But what makes the Avalon great is that it's so easy to operate, a refreshing trait in a world of complicated, vexing cars and gadgets. The interior is comfortable and attractive, with leather standard. We found it very easy to live with the all-new 2013 Avalon.
For a brand long known for its high quality and plain vanilla design, Toyota sent shock waves through the industry when it first displayed the all-new Avalon. When compared to the latest-generation Camry midsize sedan, the 2013 Avalon full-size sedan looks like it came from another company entirely. But the 2013 Avalon is precisely what Toyota's top executive, President Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the company's founder, had in mind when he promised to pump new passion into the brand.
The 2013 Avalon is visually striking, with the sort of cutting-edge styling you might expect from the latest Ford or Hyundai, or even Mercedes-Benz. The new design clearly gives the new Toyota a much more expensive look and feel.
The overall look of the 2013 Toyota Avalon is more muscular and refined than the old, lumpen box, with a coupe-like roofline that is somewhat reminiscent of the striking Audi A7. The interior, meanwhile, boasts an almost luxury-class level of refinement, with upgraded leather that is now being hand-stitched to deliver a visual sense of craftsmanship. The large touchscreen adapts the latest version of Toyota's EnTune infotainment system and the LCD screen atop the center stack replaces most traditional knobs and buttons. The rest migrate to a capacitive system that can be operated with barely a touch.
The redesigned 2013 Avalon is available with two distinct powertrain options, the most popular of which is likely to be the 3.5-liter, 90-degree, DOHC, six-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence that produces 268 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 248 pound-feet of torque. The 3.5-liter V6 delivers surprisingly good fuel economy considering the size of the new Avalon sedan and the power it pumps out. We found it smooth and powerful. Toyota says the Avalon with the 3.5-liter V6 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, which is quite quick.
Those who want to maximize mileage will be drawn to the Avalon hybrid models, which use the latest iteration of the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive and are expected to get up to 40 miles per gallon. That's impressive for a full-size sedan, and all the more impressive considering the minimal sacrifice in performance. The 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is estimated to launch from 0 to 60 mph in around 8 seconds, which is average acceleration performance. The 2013 Avalon is the first full-size Toyota sedan to offer a hybrid gas-electric powertrain.
The 2013 Toyota Avalon is produced at Toyota's plant in Georgetown, Kentucky. The new Toyota sedan is, in fact, the most American car the Japanese maker has ever offered, the design work being handled by Toyota's advanced styling studio in Southern California, while the primary engineering work was done in suburban Detroit.
The 2013 Toyota Avalon comes in XLE and Limited grades and several sub-trim levels. Avalon XLE ($30,990) comes standard with heated, leather front seats, eight-way power driver's seat, four-way power front-passenger seat, 6.1-inch touch-screen display, two-door Smart Key, heated mirrors, mirror turn signals, 17-inch alloy wheels. Avalon XLE Premium ($33,195) adds a rearview camera and moonroof, three-door Smart Key, auto-dimming mirror with compass, garage door opener, three-button Eco Switch. Avalon XLE Touring ($35,500) includes fog lamps, 18-inch alloy wheels, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, navigation system, paddle shifters and EnTune Display Audio.
Avalon Limited ($39,650) upgrades further with premium perforated leather heated and cooled front seats, 10-way power driver's seat, eight-way power front-passenger seat, heated rear seats, three-zone climate control, 7-inch high-resolution touch-screen audio, with navigation, Entune and JBL, JBL Premium HDD audio, color HVAC screen, Safety Connect, rain-sensing wipers, rear sunshade, HID headlamps, LED Daytime Running Lights, puddle lamps, ambient lighting, auto-dimming outside mirrors.
Avalon Hybrid XLE Premium ($35,555), Avalon Hybrid XLE Touring ($37,250), and Avalon Limited ($41,400) are similarly equipped. (All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices and do not include $795 destination charge.)
The optional Technology Package ($1,750) for Avalon Limited and Hybrid models adds Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, automatic high beams, and Pre-Collision System.
Safety features standard on all Avalon models include Toyota's Star Safety System, 10 airbags, whiplash-lessening seats, three-point seatbelts, LATCH child-seat anchors, child-protector door locks, anti-theft system with alarm and engine immobilizer. Optional safety features include Safety Connect, Pre-Collision System, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.