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by Tony West and Jamar Lee
The Toyota Avalon stepped its game up for 2013. The Avalon has a new look, premium features and fuel efficiency. When I peeped this mid-sized whip at the Chicago Auto Show, “Toyota’s Let’s Go Places” ride-and-drive, I was excited to get the Avalon out on a date. The ride is smooth but it gets up, and the interior is spacious and schwazy. Toyota hopes this new design will help its flagship sedan compete in the premium mid-size segment among the Audi A6, Lexus ES, and the Acura TL.
The 2013 Avalon has a slick new look. A longer roofline paired with a stout muscular body gives the Avalon a sportier look. Though the dimensions have been reduced a little the Avalon doesn’t compromise space. The 2013 Avalon has the first ever HID Quadrabeam headlight cluster with a double-eye headlight design and LED daytime running lamps. And the cool new grille design and 18-inch alloy wheels add more agility and better aerodynamics. The redesigned side mirrors also aid aerodynamics reducing wind noise. The side mirrors feature a turn signal, heater, puddle lamp, and the Blind Spot indicator.
I got chased down on the road and complimented at least 5 times whipping the Avalon. Many people didn’t recognize what it was. That’s a testament to how attractive the redesign of this whip is. Toyota has done a great job really anticipating the aesthetic that the youthful consumer will go for.
The Avalon was the first Toyota I’ve tested that felt like an everyday car that suited my need for speed and didn’t kill my wallet to refuel. The 2013 Avalon is luxury just like I like it-straightforward with a few surprises. The 2013 Avalon has a 3.5 liter V6 engine with 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. Engine variable valve timing gives this whip more power and efficiency. I like how the Avalon got up in traffic. I was speeding in and out of lanes on I-57. The Avalon goes from 0-60mph in less than 7 seconds. The Avalon also has paddle shifters behind the steering wheel that encouraged my speed demon.
The front-wheel-drive Avalon has three drive modes, another great feature for optimized performance. Sport, Normal, and Eco modes regulate everything from air conditioning and Electric Power Steering, to throttle response. I enjoyed how the modes were displayed in color codes on the instrument cluster, shifter, and the infotainment screen. In Eco mode I was able to conserve gas, reduce unnecessary engine revving , and regulate climate for efficiency. Sport mode was for when I opened up the Avalon on the expressway-with more agility, tighter steering and rigidity. The Avalon has McPherson strut suspension and dual link rear suspension. And with a combined EPA of 24mpg (21/31) the Avalon is a great in all three drive modes.
Tech Sexy Cool Interior
I was impressed how the interior of the Avalon was spacious, luxurious, and unisex. In the past, I thought the Avalon was more feminine and small on the inside. Now the leather and chrome trimmed cabin comes with a lowered sculpted dash and wider instrument panel creating more space. While the 3 spoke steering wheel and LED lighting on the cup holders and storage tray give it a cool sporty look. The Avalon is available in three interior colors –light grey, black, and almond. Leather heated and ventilated seats are 10 way adjustable in the front and 8-way on the passenger seat. The Avalon also has 3-zone climate control, power moonroof, and power rear shade.
The 2013 Avalon has a ton of cool interior features like the 6-inch TFT dash with all the useful info for the Avalon. There’s also a 7-inch hi-res touchscreen that displays Sirius XM satellite radio, navigation, and radar systems. The Avalon is one of the few cars with a great radar system. Up to the minute traffic and other updates enhanced my adventurous drive. An 11-speaker audio system with 2 subwoofers and 12 channel amplifier goes hard. I also like how the controls for the audio and driver dash are on the steering wheel. I didn’t have to look away to adjust many things. The 2013 Avalon also features the Entune multimedia system which utilizes Bing, iHeartRadio, Movietickets.com, OpenTable, and Pandora, along with fuel prices and sports.
Along with the a back-up camera the new Avalon has a lot of useful safety features like the Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Vehicle Stability Control, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Smart Stop Brake Override, and the pre-collision system.
I’m sure Toyota intentionally planned for the Avalon to take a figurative dump on the Camry. The 2013 Avalon is $42,000 after all. The new Avalon plans to smash the Hyundai Genesis and the Honda Accord. The 2013 Avalon is everything a person needs for a fun ride with infotainment, cool tunes, and fuel efficiency.