Darwin’s Theory Didn’t Take Into Account 4th-Generation Toyota Avalon
2013 Toyota Avalon Review
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The redesigned Toyota Avalon has lofty ambitions, not least of which is altering the natural course of human development.
As any anthropologist will tell you, human life passes through four stages: childhood, adolescence, adulthood and, finally, “May I show you a new Avalon?”At a media soiree here last week, Bill Fay, Toyota Division general manager, said the 2013 Avalon intends to move up in the evolutionary cycle.
“We will . . . (target) 40- to 60-year-old consumers in the premium midsize segment, with the goal of attracting buyers with a median age 10 years younger than our current customers,” Fay said – meaning a decade younger than 67.
Take that, Darwin!
This fourth-generation Avalon begins its metamorphosis by radically altering the first thing shoppers see: styling. Compared to its former rental-car look, the new Avalon’s appearance is off the charts.
Up front is a double-stack grille with the familiar Toyota wing on top and, totally unfamiliar to Toyota, an Aston Martin-esque gape below, accented by techy head lamps.
In profile is a racy roofline with a truncated but, nonetheless, smoothly integrated decklid.
Out back are slim, horizontal LED tail lamps, an integrated trailing-edge trunk spoiler and twin exhaust ports, all giving the aft end a wide, aggressive look.
Dimensionally, the new Avalon, though continuing to ride its predecessor’s 111-inch wheelbase, is slightly smaller overall. It’s 2.3 inches shorter between its bumpers, half an inch narrower between the door handles, an inch closer to the tarmac at the roofline and about 120 pounds lighter.
Available in XLE, XLE Premium, XLE Touring and Limited models, Avalon’s new interior, regardless of trim, is plush, with copious room up front and, in light of the shrunken exterior dimensions, commodious room in back. The rear seat no longer folds, however, due to standard rear side air bags.
Of course, all the expected 21st-century bells and whistles are included or available, among them 11-speaker JBL audio and Entune, Toyota’s smartphone-friendly multi-media system that enables, via various apps, everything from internet radio to the ability to order movie tickets from the car.
The front-drive Avalon’s standard drivetrain is familiar: a carried-over 3.5-liter, 268-hp V-6 and six-speed automatic. However, in a nod to that coveted younger buyer, selectable drive modes – Eco, Normal, Sport – are now included, paddle shifters are found on upper trims and suspension tuning has been tightened.Avalon hits 60 mph in under 7 seconds.
New among the greasy stuff is an available hybrid drivetrain, lifted from Camry. It provides EPA ratings of 40 city/39 hwy/40 combined – lofty, indeed, for a large sedan. The V-6’s mpg is 21/31/25.
Safety standards include 10 airbags, brake override and stability and traction control. Available are pre-collision mitigation and blind-spot monitoring.
Look for the new Avalon – designed, engineered and built in the U.S., by the way – to arrive in a few weeks. Prices start at $31,750 for a V-6, $36,315 for a hybrid.
Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer living in St. Louis. He also is a regular automotive contributor to Fox 2 KTVI-TV St. Louis. You can e-mail him at: email@example.com
2013 TOYOTA AVALON V-6 / AVALON HYBRID
TYPE: Five-passenger large sedan
DRIVE FORMAT: Front-wheel drive
BASE PRICE: V-6: $31,750; Hybrid: $36,315
ENGINE: V-6: 3.5-liter V-6; Hybrid: 2.5-liter I-4, 105 kW electric motor, Nickel-Metal Hydride battery pack
HORSEPOWER; V-6: 268 at 6200 rpm; Hybrid: 200 total-system hp
TORQUE: V-6: 248 lb.-ft. at 4700 rpm; Hybrid: 156 lb-.ft at 5700 rpm from gas engine, 199 lb.-ft. up to 1500 rpm from electric motor
TRANSMISSION: V-6: Six-speed automatic with manual mode; paddle-shifters available; Hybrid: continuously variable (CVT) automatic
SUSPENSION: Fully independent
AIR BAGS: Dual front, front side, rear side, front/rear side curtain, driver/front passenger knee
BRAKES: Four-wheel disc with ABS, electronic stability control, traction control, brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, brake override
EPA MPG: V-6: 21 city/31 hwy/25 combined; Hybrid: 40/39/40
WHEELBASE: 111 inches
LENGTH: 195.2 inches
FUEL TANK: 17 gallons
CURB WEIGHT: V-6: 3,461 lbs.; Hybrid: 3,585 lbs.
TRUNK: V-6: 16 cu. ft.; Hybrid: 14 cu. ft.
WHERE BUILT: Georgetown, Ky