By KBB.com Editors
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
By Smitty on Monday, January 12, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "see above!"
Cons: "not soft ride, be sure to check this out."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Traded my 14 year car on this beautiful auto. Safety features are 10+. Will explain - This wonderful car was wrecked on Dec. 18 with 1,200 miles. We are sick. Someone ran stop sign and hit front end. All air bags came out, headliner system worked. My wife was not seriously hurt. If she had been driving the 2000 - I just don't know. The only feature I didn't like about car was ride. On my test drive I didn't take it over any ridges, or typical streets in this state. My bad! I know I will be looking at different tires on my replacement and may view some other brands for better ride. Hard car to pass up. Great handling, get up and go - you better believe it! Nice comfortable, heated seats, Bluetooth - Nice."
11 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Doc on Sunday, January 11, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Luxury feel, the smooth ride, the acceleration"
Cons: "The front is so low that we must be curb aware."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We have owned high end Hondas for many years. This car is light years ahead of anything we have ever owned. The ride is wonderful... not mushy, not hard but responsive and it is fun to drive. I am not young but I love the ride, the comfort of the seats and interior. And, I feel safe in this car. I can assure you that we will get another one in a few years. Everyone who rides in my car love it. This is an amazing accomplishment. Keep it up! Thanks."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Frosch on Wednesday, January 07, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Confortable, well-built and attractive"
Cons: "As stated in review."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"THe only complaint I have is the control panel and navigation system. The touch buttons are much too sensitive and easily changed inadvertently. The navigation system is not intuitive and I find frustrating to use. Toyota needs to hire someone who knows ergonomics."
2 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Scorpion on Wednesday, January 07, 2015
I don't own this caroverall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Safety features."
Cons: "Terrible riding car."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Having owned an Avalon XLS for 6 years I wanted to upgrade for the safety features. How could a new Avalon Limited not beat out a 6-year old car? It failed miserably. I was used to a nice soft ride with minimal distraction on railroad tracks and bumpy roads. No longer. The Avalon now feels as if it always on a washboard road. Both my wife and I agreed not to buy. Instead we drove a Camry which reminded us of the way the Avalon used to feel on the toad. As it was considerably cheaper, even with all the doodads, we purchased it as it was a no-brainer in comparison."
8 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Mtn. Man on Tuesday, January 06, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Cons: "Noisy and very uncomfortable."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Car's seats are very uncomfortable. On long trips it is very uncomfortable after couple hours. Toyota's comfort in their flagship sedan is very poor. All seats are of poor quality and very very uncomfortable . The car is very noisy due to road noise and air leaks. This is my third avalon and ranks very poor in comfort in comparison of the prior avalons."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By disgusted on Friday, January 02, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks nice"
Cons: "Quality is not up to modern standards"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I own this 2013 Avalon. It developed a vibration at speeds over 65 mph. Toyota says it is normal. NCDS is in the pocket of the car companies and is a waste of time. Toyota stops you short when complaining so you cannot get enough attempts to repair the vehicle that the lemon law requires, so I am stuck with an expensive vehicle that is worthless on the open freeway. the car is just one year old and I have only 8500 miles on it. The vibration began at about 6500 miles. Trying to trade a car one year old for another make requires a a great loss to the pocketbook. I was a loyal Toyota owner for many years but their quality is lacking now and soon they will not be able to ride on their previous reputation."
16 people out of 28 found this review helpful