Once upon a time, there was a Toyota Avalon whose looks only appealed to the Geritol Set. Fast forward to present day, 2013, the once fuddy-duddy ride has morphed into a jock daddy on wheels –hot, sexy, sleek, classy with shut-yo-mouth road manners. So what’s the 411 on the latest and greatest Avalon? Let’s take a look see….
The 2013 Toyota Avalon’s exterior makes ya look…a few times. First impression, you’d swear on a stack of Martha Stewart Living mags that the Avalon is a dead ringer for the Jaguar XJ. The car’s average buyer is reportedly way over AARP start age, so Toyota has been working overtime to lure younger customers to the Avalon, perhaps Gen-Xers, who are still able to get their freak on without RX aids.
Even Ray Charles can see that the Japanese automaker snatched a few design cues here and there from other brands. The trapezoidal wide-mouth lower front grille: can anyone say “Ford?” Peep the rear, squint, and you’ll see snippets of the Mercedes-Benz S Class and the Jaguar XJ.
But despite the bites, the Avalon’s total exterior package is a hit. And to all of its competitors — who are chugging down on hateration right about now — we say, “Keep guzzling”, because the Avalon has certainly got it going on in the looks department.
There is room to roam inside the Avalon, which sports a look that’s somewhere between hoighty-toighty and comfy-cozy. Taller drivers won’t have to rearrange their body parts in order to feel accommodated in the Avalon. Folks sitting in the rear of an Avalon will feel as if they’re being driven in a vehicle-for-hire as the space that surrounds them is more than generous.
The premium, three-color scheme interior has soft touch surfaces and refined stitched detailing. An interesting touch: dash panels that appear to be floating, one on top of the other, pulled together by chrome flashing. Nice touch. The do-dads throughout are not only intuitive, but also ergonomically right, and the dash instrumentation layout makes total sense.
Seating comfort in a Toyota is pretty much always a non-issue. My test vehicle, the Avalon Limited came equipped with heated and cooled seats which were bolstered to a fare thee well. The ultra comfortable seating (10-way power for driver; 8-way power for passenger) reduces long-distance driving stress on the tush and back. The padded center console and door armrests are also easy on the elbows.
Safety features in the Toyota Avalon are a-plenty, like a backup camera, blind spot monitor, 10 airbags all about the cabin, anti-lock braking system, traction control, LATCH (with anchors and tethers for your pint-sized ones), and Safety Connect (roadside assistance). Limited models are also available with a pre-collision system, which detects when your front end is about to connect in a bad way with the vehicle ahead. The brakes are applied automatically, and the front seat belts are retracted, to minimize damage to passengers.
Honorable mention goes to the Avalon’s instrumentation screen with large graphics that are so sharp you won’t evah have to squint.
Hitting the open road in an Avalon is a real “let your hair down” experience. The vehicle gets all A’s as far as composure for its manners on the road. The Avalon’s ride is enjoyable from the time you press the smart-key push button start, right up until you have to part company with the vehicle. The Avalon Limited is fitted with a 268 horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed automatic transmission that can hold its own against many of today’s luxury brand sedans. But let’s not get it twisted: the Avalon is a lady yes, but she is also all-too-capable of giving you plenty of pearl-clutching, dramatic moments on the road when you need to haul butt and pass a Sunday driver or two.
The Avalon’s steering also gives a nice road feel, and the brakes are very responsive. There are driver-selectable modes (not on the base XLE), including a Sport mode that kicks up the driving experience by changing the throttle response, steering feel, and the way the automatic transmission shifts. There’s also an ECO button that does almost the exact opposite in an effort to make you wave as you pass the pumps. And speaking of fuel economy, the Avalon’s estimated fuel economy stands at 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined (which is not all that impressive but who’s complaining)?
And with all that, the Avalon’s transformation is complete: poof, be gone! The Social Security set will have to feast their cataracts in on another vehicle, as the 2013 Toyota Avalon has a new set of fans with Similac still on their breath.
Prices start at $30,990 for the 2013 Toyota Avalon base XLE.