2013 Toyota Avalon
By Laura Burstein
On Sale: Late 2012
Expected Pricing: Mid $30,000s
The fourth generation of Toyota's flagship sedan was unveiled at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, putting to bed some late and unreliable rumors that the model's name might be changed.
In a world where cars keep getting fatter, it's a surprise to learn the 2013 Avalon is more svelte than its predecessor. It's more than two inches shorter, a tad narrower and lower, and has shorter front and rear overhangs. Estimated curb weight will be about 3,500 pounds, more than 100 pounds lighter than the outgoing model.
The car gets retuned electric steering, along with a stiffer body structure and suspension components, which Toyota says will increase agility and reduce body roll. The new Avalon will roll on 17- or 18-inch wheels.
More aggressive styling aims the 2013 Toyota Avalon at a younger set than the model it replaces. With a hood line that looks like it could come from Honda and a huge lower front grille reminiscent of the all-new Ford Fusion, the 2013 Toyota Avalon looks like an amalgamation of many current mid-priced full- and midsize sedans already on or about to hit the market. The 2013 Avalon also uses styling cues we've seen in other recent debuts, including wraparound headlamps and tail lamps with LED lighting.
Toyota execs are mum on the powertrain, but industry insiders expect the 2013 Avalon to be powered by a V6 engine, although it's unclear whether it will use the same 3.5-liter used in the previous model. The Avalon will feature three drive modes: Normal, Eco, and Sport, which adjusts throttle response for either higher performance or better fuel economy. Eco mode also changes the A/C power usage to help save gas.
Other notable changes include a larger trunk and a quieter interior. Options will include those often found on luxury vehicles such as heated and cooled front seats and heater rear seats, as well as electronic driver aids like dynamic radar cruise control and a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert.
Toyota execs tout the new Avalon as an American car, noting the car was designed and engineered by teams in California and Michigan. The Avalon will be built at Toyota's assembly plant in Georgetown, Kentucky.
Pricing has not been announced, but based on the previous model, we expect the 2013 Avalon to start at around $35,000.