By Zach Vlasuk
KBB Expert Rating: 8.6
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 Miles on Thursday, February 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great looking inside and out"
Cons: "way too much road noise on the highway"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"This is a basic car but it is gorgeous inside and out. My only complaint, and to me it's huge, is there is a lot of road noise that comes into the cabin when you're on the highway. Totally my fault for not taking it on the highway to test it (only around town). I talked to the dealer about it and they said other Avalons were just as noisy when they compared them to mine. My gut tells me that Toyota really skimped on insulation for this car and if that is so, they just lost my business. I went from having a perfect 2004 Camry to what I hoped would be a step up, not two steps down."
By yukon on Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "solid feel and stable ride"
Cons: "hands free mode can be touchy"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"smooth ride, but uninspired. blind spot warning is very vaulable. Not a fan of radar cruise control. Tremendous value. Last avalon lasted 197000 miles and no major problems. Traded in for new model at wifes request."
By Twigster on Sunday, February 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Just what I needed"
Cons: "Nothing worth noting."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my "highway" car. Drove to NEPA Pocono Area with my electronic drums in the trunk. The July shakedown cruise to our yearly SummerJam proved the Avalon's capability. I tend to travel fast (above the speed limit) and got almost 30 MPG while feeling safe and in control. Love the transmission and the steering and despite what MT may say about "steering feedback" I didn't find that a negative since I didn't want a "sports car" or want to "feel the road". Spent almost three weeks driving around the N.E.P.A. area roads that I grew up driving on (I live in Tampa), these are what we call "driving! roads". Again, the car made it a blast - it went everywhere like it owned the road. Giants Despair Hill Climb road or Blue Ridge Parkway @ Shenandoah National Park. Day or night we (friends and family) had a blast just driving around and seeing "the old places". Paddle shifting was precise when used and the stereo performance with my iPod matched. (Sat radio? jury out.) Deer or possum attracted to the new car smell tried to jump aboard but the handling, brakes and headlights defeated them. THIS is just what I need in a car. I don't need to "make a statement" to anyone with the car I drive. I just need a car to carry my drums and wife safely to those people and places we love."
By Bernie on Monday, February 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,800overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "good looks and a sporty ride"
Cons: "Cubbies should be lined to reduce noise frm items"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After a rocky start with headliner issues, which have been corrected, I find the Avalon Ltd. to be a great vehicle with a very satisfactory resale vale. This automobile can compete with Mercedes and BMW in luxury, handling and style. I will definitely buy another one."
By Dan D Dan on Saturday, February 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drives, handles like a much smaller auto..."
Cons: "Some of the shiny trim on the dash needs to go...."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Had gone to the dealer to replace tires on my '09 Camry XLE & this '13 Magnetic Grey Limited was in the showroom & caught my eye. Test drove it & was immediately sold. This car handles great although if you're looking for the previous Avalon's plushy ride, it's definitely not here, it's a firm but solid ride, even quite more firmer than my '09 Camry. The seats are oversized, comfortable & have 3 cooling and 3 heating temperatures, a blessing when the weather turns really cold. The Limited is loaded with x-tras that really enhance the overall experience driving this auto. I like the auto headlight dimmers, Bluetooth, fantastic stereo, GPS, backup camera clear and fast to respond, auto wipers, etc., etc. Safety features such as lane departure warning, backup, side & rear & front impact warnings are spot on (I've tried all the warning systems & they are spot-on. Also, believe it or not, my insurance rate has dropped considerably over the '09 Camry because of all the safety features. Dollar for dollar, this is the best auto you can buy in today's market. I have over 2k miles and am looking forward to many more happy miles."
16 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By tvsteve on Friday, January 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "gas milage, roomy, performance, blind spot monitor"
Cons: "can't think of any"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have been a GM man all my life up until the Government bailed them out. And we lost Pontiac. I decided to try a Toyota Avalon Hybrid. I purchased it in Nov 2013 and have only driven it in winter.and only in town with one trip which I got over 40mpg. With leaving the car run a lot this winter because of brutal cold we have had and as my wife runs into the grocery store I'm still getting over 35mpg and that is checking by the actual gas I use, not the gage that tells you the amount, it is off by about 1 to 2 mpg. I really like this car its roomy and comfortable Memory seats are a plus for two drivers. I really like the sport mode because it makes the car feel like a 6cyl it surprised me when I used it for the first time, I like fast cars any way, so to have a hybrid that accelerate like does is a big plus. Now if you have four adults in the car in sport mode it does not perform like when i'm alone. I chose the Avalon over the Camry because of the trunk room and overall features. Love the blind spot monitors and back up camera. My wife had a hard time backing up a long drive way, now with a backup camera she does it like a pro."
20 people out of 20 found this review helpful