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2013 Toyota Avalon Limited Review & Test Drive

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2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Beauty Left HA Done Small

The all-new 2013 Toyota Avalon Limited leads the automaker’s new design philosophy of elegant and athletic styling with improved performance, greater refinement, higher levels of comfort and luxury including the latest infotainment and connectivity technology.  After testing the all-new Avalon Limited for seven-days I found that the car is more like a luxury sport sedan with all the comfort and luxury goodies found in any other sedan priced in the high $30,000.00 range.  The fully loaded Avalon Limited came with a price of $41,975.00.  The base price of a new Lexus ES350 is $36,470.00.  After now testing both sedans I would purchase the all-new Avalon Limited, and for good reason-it has it all-luxury styling, luxury interior, great performance and the latest in safety systems.

The all-new Avalon was designed, developed and manufactured in the U.S. to the highest levels of Toyota’s abilities.  The exterior design is elegant and athletic with a longer flowing roofline creating a more appealing silhouette with a lower vehicle beltline that shows a sense of motion with a road holding stance.  Its shoulders are carved into the side sheet metal that starts over the front wheels and creates a strong, fluid bodyside design cue adding to its athletic stance.

2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Beauty Right Wide Done Small

The overall exterior is designed to communicate to the consumer a greater sense of performance and agility to better match the car’s vastly improved dynamic capability.  The all-new Avalon is more compact and athletic with great styling sophistication that does not sacrifice interior comfort.  The car’s stance has also been improved with more taut and compact exterior dimensions.  Overall height has been reduced by 0.98 inch while the overhangs have been reduced by 0.59 inch at the front and 1.77 inch at the rear.  Filling the wheel well, the gap has been reduced by 0.27 inch and new 18X7.5 inch alloy wheels wrapped with 225/45R18 inch performance tires further help close the gap and add to its aggressive look.  The Avalon’s visual stance has been further enhanced by 1.29 inch reduction with of the rear side rails surrounding the rear glass to tighten the proportions of the greenhouse.  The new Avalon Limited uses the ‘industry’s-first’ Quadrabeam headlight cluster utilizing a sleek and compact double-eye PES headlight design with two square glass condenser lenses that have been adopted for the low beams and really light up the darkness.  Halogen and HID bulbs are used for low beam double-eye PES front lamps.  Also, Daytime Running Lights use six-LED bulbs further giving the Avalon a distinct and more modern image to the front of the car.  The front fascia is the most looked at part of a car and the Avalon shows a stronger, more expressive design with a larger grille opening surrounded with a chrome insert that creates a more aggressive and luxury look while enhancing cooling air flow and pedestrian impact protection.  The Avalon’s exterior turn-signal indicators have now been located at the lower section of the front bumper to contribute to the slim and sleek appearance.  Furthering the new more modern styling, the sleek and sculpted rear tail lights utilize LED lamps to help ensure visibility and reduce the gap of unlit dark area between the trunk and rear quarter panel.  The more sculpted and athletic exterior cuts through the air with a very low 0.28 coefficient of drag that enhances fuel economy and on-road stability.  The rear tapering design and the floor undercovers help enhance vehicle stability even more at speed.  Even the Avalon’s new aero-designed side mirrors further help with a reduction in wind noise and weight reduction of 14.6 ounces.  The side mirrors feature power-remote, heated, self-dimming and have puddle lamps for safe nighttime use.  Even the new Avalon’s more aerodynamic wiper design stays in contact with the window longer.  The new Avalon’s rear valance houses rectangular stainless steel exhaust outlets integrated into the rear bumper for a clean yet aggressive rear view.  I’ve gotten many positive comments from drivers when sitting at stop lights and when parked in shopping centers, the car looks nothing like it before.  Given the sleek, sexy styling the luxury side comes through with the front chrome Toyota wing, chrome pull-out door handles; full perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse and a wide chrome strip connecting the two rear lamp clusters.  The all-new Avalon is one of the most dramatic looking all-new entry-level luxury sport sedans on the road!

2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Dashboard Done Small

The interior of the new Avalon continues the elegant and athletic theme creating a premium comfortable and luxurious cabin that combines high technology and craftsmanship with an artistic level of sculpted surfaces never seen by this reviewer.  The sculpted dash panel and its concave surfaces in front of the passenger help to add to the sense of the cabin’s spaciousness.  This panel is covered in supple, hand-stitched premium soft-touch material with the seam adding creative flair as it goes across the dash panel with dark veneer wood down below.  The broad, low and layered dash-board design helps divide the panel area into a balance between an intimate driver space, with focused angles on the gauges and a wide open passenger space.  The instrument panel has been widened by 1.18 inches in the upper region and 2.56 inches in the lower region compared to last year, which helps enhance the interior’s spaciousness.  The driver cockpit features an Optitron-type combination gauge cluster which produces a sharp, high quality display and a 3.5 inch Thin-film Transistor (TFT) color multi-information display.  It is so easy to see and understand, day or night.  The new Avalon’s interior surfaces are finished in premium materials such as hand-sewn soft-touch material for the dash panel, unique smoke chrome trim surrounding the center panel and door armrests including high-quality glossy panel trim around the shifter.  All of this attention to detail to touch surfaces and subtle enhancements to texture and visual appeal are aimed at elevating the overall interior experience for me and my passengers.  A generous, dense-foam support is used beneath the supple-soft-touch material covering many of the interior’s touch surfaces, while a soft skin surface with a deep foam construction is used for many of the dash surfaces to create a greater sense of tactile quality.  The new Avalon’s front seats offer revised side bolstering using a lighter, denser foam material that helps improve body positioning for me and my front seat passenger.  In keeping with the road-trip oriented nature of this premium sedan, the seats still offer a high level of comfort and support for longer trips.  As for adjustment, Avalon’s seats are 10-way powered for me and 8-way powered for my front passenger.  My seat also featured a seat-cushion length extender with both front seats heated and ventilated.  The rear seats feature heating and all seats are covered with a fine grain, premium leather material that is so soft.

2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Front Seats Done Small

The door panels are designed to help enhance the elegant nature of the interior while offering improved armrest comfort by incorporating foam that is 0.23 inch thicker than on the last Avalon.  The door panel is also covered by durable synthetic leather with ornate stitching that matches that matches the dashboard.  Door panel pull cups are also covered in premium soft-touch material and LED lighting illuminates the door panel’s controls.  Smoked chrome bezels and plated accents adorn the inside door handles and power window switch bezels further help improve the luxury appearance.  More attention to detail in the new Avalon is that the power-window actuation is handled by a variable-rate window motor that slows the window as it approaches the top of the window frame to help reduce wind noise and add refinement.  All four of the windows are equipped with a window obstruction feature that reverses window operation when an object is detected.  All windows are express up/down.  Beyond styling, the Avalon interior remains highly functional with abundant and improved storage space.  Located beneath the HVAC controls in the center console is the eBin electronic storage tray.  This new tray design allows storage for two devices cellphones or iPod) side-by-side on a premium, highly friction surface.  Charging jacks are located below the tray that can be opened and closed with cables passing neatly through the cab slot cut into the bottom of the tray.  The tray is also illuminated by LED light for improved night visibility managing cables.  Beneath this tray is an electronics storage box where devices can also be stored completely out of sight while charging.  Two DC 12-volt power outlets, an AUX and a USB jack are accessible in the storage box.  Two chrome-decorated cupholders are located in the center console are lit by LED ambient lighting.  The lighting volume for the cupholders can be adjusted in three levels by operating the switch on the overhead console.  A large-capacity console box is big enough to store a tissue box and also includes a detachable sliding tray to store smaller items.  The convenient sliding armrest lid covering the storage box offers up to 1.61 inches of travel to more comfortably function as an armrest, and can be opened and closed in any position.  The storage box also contains another 12-volt DC outlet to facilitate charging or powering accessories.  To the left of the leather-wrapped/tilt/telescopic/heated beefy steering wheel is a coin box that can be actuated by push button control and utilizes a damper mechanism to help achieve smoother opening and closing.  The Avalon is equipped with a 0.24 cu.ft. glove box with detachable tray and that can be locked for security.  The glovebox is illuminated by LED light.  The rear seats also have a pull-down dual cupholder and armrest.  The trunk offers 16 cu.ft. of luggage space.  The interior cabin of the all-new Avalon is as comfortable, ergonomic, convenient and luxurious as any luxury sedan in the segment.

2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Back Seats Done Small

A great styled midsize sedan with a luxury interior doesn’t make any sense unless it is has good power with excellent driving dynamics.  The Avalon utilizes a 3.5 liter, 90-degree, DOHC, all-aluminum six-cylinder engine that features Dual VVT-I to help it quickly move the Avalon with authority.  By optimizing the intake and exhaust valve events the engine increases performance across the entire rev range.  This robust V6 produces 268hp at 6,200rpm and 248lb.ft. of torque at 4,700rpm that provides the new Avalon with a competitive acceleration time of 6.2sec. for a 0-60mph sprint.  The V6 powered Avalon features a hydraulic  automatic transmission that has been optimized for improved fuel economy and performance from a lightweight front-wheel-drive transaxle.  The transmission can be shifted from D mode into S mode on the shift gate, where shifts can be actuated with + or – shifts of the lever.  This sporty sedan also has a Sport mode that adopts a highly responsive upshift control and throttle blipping downshift control which are adopted for quicker shifting performance.  Steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters help actuate fast, responsive shifts while keeping both hands on the wheel.  The transmission response is further enhanced by utilization of a faster-locking torque converter that locks up early even in second gear.  The transmission is also kept at an optimal temperature for consistent performance with an automatic transmission fluid warmer.  The shift gate is actuated by a lever and shift knob that is covered in premium leather.  There are three drive modes-Eco, Normal and Sport.  The Eco Mode prioritizes fuel economy by balancing driving performance, air-conditioning function and fuel efficiency.  It reduces driving force when accelerating at low speeds to enhance fuel efficiency.  Sport mode helps create a more engaging, dynamic driving experience by enhancing the Electric Rack & Pinion Power Steering effort and a more direct, responsive steering feel.  It also adjusts throttle response to help increase the sensation of the engine’s torque response during acceleration.

2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Beauty Rear Done Small

Besides refining the steering response and effort, the Avalon’s road-going character has been revised with a dramatic new chassis.  The new Avalon offers a vastly elevated level of control and handling thanks to a revised suspension that benefits from a unibody that is 12% more rigid overall, and 23% more rigid at the rear than before.  To take advantage of the new platform’s increased rigidity, the suspension tuning has been dramatically revised.  The front independent MacPherson strut suspension is tuned to provide outstanding ride comfort over poorly paved roads by also exhibits flat cornering with enhanced agility.  Inversely would coil springs are match to dampers that help control the wheels with improved steering feel across a variable of surfaces.  The rigidity of the 25mm stabilizer bar and a 16mm rear bar promotes flatter cornering.  Unique, more rigid knuckles and lower control arms are adopted for the 18X7.5 inch wheels and performance tires.  The dual-link independent rear suspension design helps the car achieve an ideal balance between ride quality and handling precision.  This suspension design offers a reduced toe-in angle during turning and braking to help improve rear stability.  Pillow ball joints are adopted in one of the suspension arms to help enhance handling precision.  The electric rack & pinion system’s power assist has been optimized in response to vehicle speed to create a lighter effort sensation at lower speeds and increased effort and on-center feel at higher speeds.  Even though the new Avalon rides on a long, comfortable 111 inch wheelbase, the steering and suspension tuning helped me get the feeling of agility and nimble reaction to my inputs.  Amazing!

Quickly and safely slowing the new Avalon down from speed are large, power-assisted steel disc brakes.  Up front are 11.7 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 11.1 inch solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear.  Standard ABS, EBD, BA, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control and Smart Stop Technology all work together to keep me out of trouble when taking a curve too fast and keeping me in control of my desired direction when braking hard on wet and slick pavement.

2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Engine Done Small

My test Avalon Limited came loaded with standard features not mentioned above including Entune Toyota’s multimedia system which functions through a smart phone interface and brings applications such as Bing, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable and Pandora to the vehicle audio display.  This audio configuration also features real-time traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks.  Bluetooth hands-free phone system is also standard on the Limited.  More standard features in the Avalon Limited include dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors, grab handles above each door, map pockets behind each front seatback, one-touch moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, power rear sunshade, auto dimming rearview mirror, three-zone automatic climate control with air filtration, Premium HDD Navi/JBL Surround Sound Audio system with 11-speakers, 7 inch touch screen, HD Sirius Satellite Radio, two-driver memory, driver seat easy entry-easy exit, Smart Key entry with push button start/stop, thick cut carpeting, power door locks, trip computer, remote trunk release and rear seat reading lights.

Standard safety systems include Star Safety System with 10-airbags-Driver/Front Passenger front/side impact airbags, Driver/Front Passenger Knee airbags, front/rear side curtain airbags, rear seat-mounted airbags, 5-3-point seat belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, LATCH system for child seats, anti-theft system, tire pressure monitoring, rear camera with parking assist, Safety Connect, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door and Blind Spot Monitor/Rear Cross Traffic Alert.  Options included in my test Avalon Limited included the Technology Package which includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, automatic high beam and Pre Collision system, Rear Bumper Applique, Wheel Locks, and Carpeted Floor Mats front/rear.

The base price for the all-new 2013 Avalon Limited starts at $39,650.00 and my loaded model was priced at $41,975.00.  The all-new 2013 Toyota Avalon Limited is one of the best looking, best performing, comfortable, luxurious, connected with the latest in infotainment system along with the latest safety systems in the midsize entry-level luxury segment.  Take a test drive and you’ll agree.

COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Avalon XLE $31,800 / As-Tested Avalon Limited $41,975
  • Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC V6 268 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm / 248 ft-lbs. torque @ 4,700 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 111 inches
  • Total length: 195.2 inches
  • Total width: 72.2 inches
  • Total height: 57.5 inches
  • Track: f/r-62.6/62.2 inches
  • Ground clearance: 5.5 inches
  • Headroom: 38.5/37.6 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-42.1/39.2 inches
  • EPA passenger volume: 16 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,461 pounds
  • Turning circle: 37.4 feet
  • Fuel tank: 17 gallons
  • EPA mileage: 21mpg/city, 31mpg/highway
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
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