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 Nemo on Tuesday, December 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "power train, mileage, navigation, features, room"
Cons: "ride, front seat comfort"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I have owned two previous models of the Avalon, and been extremely happy with both. I was initially drawn to the 1st Avalon because of the interior room and price for the features available - I have bought the top of the line in each case. Toyota has substantially improved the road handling of my 2013 over previous models, but at the expense of driving comfort. The ride is very harsh, and the front seats are very hard for distance travel. The dealer was unable to offer any suggestions for improvement. I contacted an upholstery shop which installed additional padding in the seat. This helped, but does nothing for the harsh ride. We also bought a new RAV4 Limited shortly after we bought the Avalon, and it has more miles on it than the Avalon simple because it rides better. I am very pleased with the Avalon's drive train performance, mileage, luxury features, navigation,room, and handling, but due to the ride, it has been primarily driven locally."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By RedRider on Saturday, November 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great gas mileage, hi-tech comfort and convenience"
Cons: "No folding rear-seat or pass through"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"A short time ago I would have scoffed at the idea of owning a Toyota Avalon decades before retirement. And then came the new generation Avalon. I had been looking at the Lexus ES 300h but didn’t want to pay the “status” premium. The 2014 Avalon Hybrid Limited has many of the same high-tech comfort and convenience features found in a luxury sedan but is wrapped in a fluid-dynamic body that looks more like a sports sedan than a family sedan. The Avalon is a big car but strikes a good balance between handling and ride. The Avalon’s hybrid synergy drive is no V-6 but accelerates the car well enough to merge or overtake slower vehicles at highway speeds. Transmission gear shifting has been eliminated by the ECVT resulting in a smooth, linear acceleration. The hybrid synergy drive seamlessly switches between gas and electric modes as though it were a single power source and the regenerative brakes are easy to modulate. I am most impressed by the gas mileage the hybrid delivers for a full size sedan; I average between 38 and 41 MPG. Fit and finish is top notch and the ride is very quiet except for an occasional annoying vibration coming from the dashboard when traveling over concrete or rough pavement. Overall, I am very satisfied with the 2014 Avalon Hybrid and my daily commute is much more tolerable and at times even made fun by seeing how long the Avalon will cruise in electric mode."
8 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Dan on Thursday, November 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,800overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good gas mileage."
Cons: "Uncomfortable and poorly designed."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Outside temperature display difficult to see. Numbers are too small and too dim. Instrument displays are at too much of an angle. Angle of windshield over displays totally washes out display when the sun shines. Reflection of dashboard in side view mirrors is distracting when sun shines. Rear window screen edge in down position is black while rear window deck is tan. When sun shines, all you can see is a black bar across the entire rear window. Gas guage is very difficult to read as the display is very faint. Analog speedometer and digital speedometer don't match. There is a two to three mile per hour difference. At higher speeds, you don't really know how fast you are going. Seats are thinly padded and very uncomfortable when driving any distance."
11 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By John on Tuesday, October 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive & great adaptive cruise control"
Cons: "Low tire warning doesn't say which tire low"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Better Than my Lexus GS's or Jaguar. No slouch in acceleration just don't mash the accelerator in sport and she is FAST! Great fuel economy my best tank 48.3 mpg. Spacious and comfortable on daily commute and 600 mile trips without refueling stops. The AC is magical cooling instantly when you push the start button. Back seat legroom is incredible as are back door openings. Comfortable ride but well put together no floater here. The Moulon Rouge Mica color turns heads everywhere."
16 people out of 26 found this review helpful
By stamboy on Monday, October 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,600overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "mileage, cost, comfort"
Cons: "12 volt battery is weak!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I like my 2014 Avalon Hybrid very much overall. But there's just one problem: the 12 volt battery keeps dying when I park the car for 4 or 5 days. I try to start it and the battery is dead. Called AAA a few times, took it to the dealer 5 times and left the car up to a week. One time they replaced the battery. Otherwise they say no problem: a lot of their cars have dead batteries after a few days. Finally bought a portable charger battery pack and use it whenever I need a boost. Other than that the car is great and mileage is awesome."
10 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Gary the Car Guy on Sunday, October 26, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Toyota quality; great ride; good value."
Cons: "A sense of style is lost."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The new "bold" Toyota designs are obviously targeted to a younger demographic. Unfortunately, these large mouth grills are just not resonating with this audience. Following the move to a more aggressive design on the Lexus with its sharper angles, the Toyota Avalon designers decided to adopt an overly exaggerated grill. As a prior owner of four Toyota Camry which were all excellent cars, I was looking to step up to the Avalon this year. Looks like I'll need to hold off a couple years until Toyota's designers come to their senses."
3 people out of 8 found this review helpful