By Zach Vlasuk
KBB Expert Rating:
There was a time when large, comfortable sedans were about as ubiquitous as mobile phones. But the continued popularity of SUVs and a rather unfavorable association with the geriatric crowd has diminished the mainstream appeal of full-size sedans. The 2013 Toyota Avalon looks to change all that with a striking new design, responsive driving dynamics, and advanced, yet easy-to-use in-vehicle technology. And, for the first time ever, the Avalon nameplate offers a fuel-efficient hybrid variant alongside the standard V6 model. The Avalon required this significant overhaul to contend with such segment heavyweights as the Ford Taurus, Buick LaCrosse and Chrysler 300. All told, the 2013 Avalon represents a dramatic departure from its vanilla-flavored predecessors and deservedly holds down the spot as Toyota's flagship sedan.
If you have always appreciated the practicality and comfort of a full-size sedan, but long for the handling characteristics and fuel efficiency of a mid-size, placing the 2013 Toyota Avalon at the top of your list would be a wise decision. Given its class-leading resale value and stellar record for reliability, the new Toyota Avalon is a smart buy for value-conscious shoppers.
If your tastes are more sporting in nature, the Nissan Maxima or the 365-horsepower Ford Taurus SHO might be a better fit.
The completely redesigned 2013 Avalon ushers in a new era of style and refinement for the Toyota brand. This latest iteration preserves the high levels of luxury and comfort that made the Avalons of yesteryear such a success, but adds a dose of athleticism and panache to the mix.
Driving Impressions While its performance abilities may not leave you grinning from ear to ear, the 2013 Toyota Avalon delivers on its promise to provide a pleasantly sedate driving experience. The 4th-generation...Avalon benefits from improved steering feel, sharper suspension tuning and additional chassis rigidity without compromising the trademark ride quality. This newfound dynamism is complemented by a driver-selectable sport mode that quickens upshifts and increases steering weight, though we feel outfitting the luxury-oriented Avalon with features like downshift rev-matching and paddle shifters is bit superfluous. Road- and wind-noise suppression, a staple of the Toyota Avalon, is better than ever. And as the abundance of glass suggests, outward visibility is good from most perspectives, affording the driver a commanding view of the road. While we enjoy the V6 model, the new Avalon Hybrid is the star player in the lineup. For a marginal price premium, the 2013 Avalon Hybrid offers plenty of power for everyday driving and up to 40 mpg combined city/highway – impressive figures for a full-size sedan.
CAPACITIVE TOUCH SWITCHES
Similar to your smartphone's touch-screen, capacitive touch switches react to minor changes in electrical current generated by contact with a finger. Unlike conventional buttons and knobs, capacitive touch switches are free of moving parts, which provide the Avalon with a clean, contemporary dash layout.
REAR CROSS TRAFFIC WARNING
Although properly adjusted mirrors negate the need for trendy blind-spot monitoring systems, this "safety" feature paved the way for a useful technology called Rear Cross Traffic Warning. When backing out of a parking space or driveway with limited visibility, the available cross-traffic system alerts the driver of an approaching vehicle with a warning signal and an indicator light.
The 2013 Toyota Avalon offers perhaps the finest cabin in its class, with first-rate materials, user-friendly controls and impressive fit and finish. The general design is the same regardless of trim level, which only sweetens the Avalon's attractive $31K starting price. Toyota's latest batch of infotainment options such as advanced voice recognition, mobile application integration and hard-drive-based navigation should appeal to tech-savvy buyers. And, unlike the Ford Taurus, the Avalon's capacitive touch switches for the audio and climate control functions are responsive and straightforward. On a sour note, the 2013 Avalon might be the only vehicle on the market in which the multi-information display features a higher resolution screen than the standard touch-screen. In terms of comfort, the front seats are more supportive than in years past, while rear seat passengers are treated to an abundance of legroom and headroom.Exterior
The Avalon's masculine stance and sculpted bodywork were conceived by Toyota's Southern California-based Calty Design studio. The forward-raked C-pillar and sweeping roofline impart an almost coupe-like silhouette. Although it seems counterintuitive, this aggressive design actually improves rear-seat headroom. The headlights incorporate a pair of stylish square-shaped projector lenses, which Toyota calls Quadrabeams. This contemporary look is finished off with a set of 17-inch or optional 18-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights and dual chrome-tipped exhaust outlets.
The 2013 Toyota Avalon is offered in XLE, Premium, Touring and Limited trim levels with hybrid variants available in the latter three. In base form, the Avalon includes heated outside mirrors, leather-trimmed seats and steering wheel, smart key access and push button start, dual-zone climate control and a 6.1-inch touch-screen audio interface with an 8-speaker sound system. Premium models add a moonroof, rear backup camera and auto-dimming rearview mirror, while Touring trims include creature comforts like navigation, driver's seat memory control and Toyota's Entune infotainment system. Occupant protection consists of 10 airbags, a comprehensive suite of electronic stability aids, and front seats designed to help reduce the severity of whiplash-related injuries.
Since the majority of feature content is tied to trim level, the 2013 Toyota Avalon offers only one option package. Available exclusively on Limited models, the Tech Package includes a pre-collision system that prepares the car for impact when it senses an impending crash, automatic high beams, and an adaptive cruise control system that maintains a pre-selected distance behind the vehicle ahead.
The new Avalon gets its motivation from the carryover 3.5-liter V6 or a new Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder hybrid powerplant – the same system used in the latest Camry Hybrid. The conventional mill churns out a healthy 268 horsepower through a 6-speed automatic gearbox, while the hybrid system sends its 200 horsepower to the front wheels via a gearless continuously variable transmission. To the dismay of those living in the Snow Belt, the Toyota Avalon does not offer all-wheel drive.
268 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 mpg
2.5-liter inline-4 hybrid
200 net hybrid system horsepower
Engine: 156 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
Battery: 199 lb-ft of torque @ 0-1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 40/39 mpg
In an effort to bolster its value quotient, the 2013 Toyota Avalon carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $31,000, nearly $3,000 less than the outgoing 2012 model. The Avalon Hybrid starts right around $36,000, with range-topping Limited models opening closer to $41,000. The Chrysler 300 shares a similar starting price with the Avalon, while the Nissan Maxima, Hyundai Azera and Buick LaCrosse begin in the $33,000 range. Though it offers a shorter list of standard equipment, the Ford Taurus undercuts the Avalon's base price by roughly $3,000. To ensure you get the best deal on your 2013 Toyota Avalon, take a look at KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page. When it comes to the other side of the pricing equation, the 2013 Avalon is expected to retain the highest resale value in the segment.
By Schonedog (CA) on Friday, May 10, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 563overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Styling, Comfort"
Cons: "Excessive Road Noise, Entune System is no good."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I purchased this car and have put 563 miles on it with a road trip from LA to Palm Springs. It is only averaging 24.3 miles to the gallon way below what has been reported. The car does have quite a bit of Road Noise. Toyota needs to do a better job at dampening the noise. We wanted navigation in the car, so we were excited to get it with the entune system. Hoever, after purchase we found out that it is a trial offer for the first three years then you have to pay for it afterwrads. The apps are not very good as well. Entine works through you phones data plan so you better have unlimitted data. The syling of the car is top notch and it is comfortable to drive (road Noise Excluded). We bought it because of the styling and Toyotas reputatio for dependable cars. Time will tell on this point."
9 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Jack (PA) on Friday, May 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,350overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable and quiet; great car!"
Cons: "Seat pockets are not too useful."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I purchased the 2013 AVA Limited- Blizzard White for a trip to the southeast. The vehicle has performed well with a best mixed 30+ MPG from the V-6. I believe that handling dynamics are much better than my past Avalon. The new styling, quality and features far exceeded the Lexus ES350 and for less money. Many people comment on my new car and are impressed with the ride and luxury. The blind spot sensers, the interior and stereo are wonderful. I especially enjoy the tightness and directional stability of the redesigned suspension. I'm very happy with my purchase."
7 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By John (MA) on Tuesday, April 09, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,400overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "The car design is beautiful. Very quiet."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have the hybrid limited and am averaging 41.5 MPH. That is better than advertised. The cars technology is unbelieveable! Today while in cruise control the radar kept me 100 feet behind the truck ahead. Still in cruise I went over a high bridge and encountered rapidly slowing traffic. The car gently applied the bakes without any input from me. How cool is that. I am 6'5" and have no trouble being comfortable in this car. If I have any suggestion I would have the center arm rest open to the right."
18 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By Lyn (NH) on Tuesday, April 09, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Cons: "The passenger seat is bad."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I just bought a 2013 Avalon. I am disappointed in the car. Above 60mph the noise level is bad. The car is not stable at speeds above 65. It seems to wonder from slide to side. The instrument panel is not designed for older drivers. I do like the backup system and the avoidance program. I would avoid this car altogether."
11 people out of 25 found this review helpful
By Rick (ID) on Sunday, March 17, 2013
I want this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Stylish, roomy, quite and a great price."
Cons: "Lack of AWD and performance to match its looks."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"This is a great looking car and much improved over earlier years' models. It is roomy and stylish but unfortunately lacks attraction for those of us who enjoy a bit more in performance and handling. I've been driving Audis the last 10 years so I am spoiled. Toyota, however, has a marvelous opportunity to take the next step with the Avalon. I'd love to see an AWD option, more muscle under the hood and a tighter suspension choice. I understand not wanting to get too close to the Lexus brand but Toyota can go a little farther for those who love Toyotas but want more. Give the engineers the green light and let them follow through with a natural evolution. The Avalon will never replace a Lexus. So now all it needs is to get a few performance options to match its great looks. If these options were available, I'm convinced sales would jump. Further, an entirely new demographic would gravitate to the Avalon without the car loosing its mainstream buyers."
26 people out of 30 found this review helpful
By Lonnie (OR) on Sunday, March 10, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fantastic tech load, precision handling, enjoyable"
Cons: "Harsh ride for some people"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Unbeatable tech in my 2013 Avalon Limited. Very strong areas are looks, interior design, interior materials and steering precision. Except for the seats and the ride quality I don't think there is a better car available for under $80,000. The one blemish, in vastly improving the seats so that the seat holds you in place is that the seat bottoms are very firm. Perhaps too firm for some. The ride is very different as well. It's clear that the attempt was to approach the sport sedan performance in ride and handling. Like a BMW, the new ride is quite firm but that is what allows for superior steering/handling of a "driver's car". If you want to drive a little more aggressively (European) then the stiff chassis and rougher ride come with it. I enjoy a much more secure feeling when I take a corner at speed."
13 people out of 14 found this review helpful