Toyota Avalon Highlights:
The fourth-generation Avalon has been redesigned for the 2013 model year. This is the first Toyota vehicle to be both designed by Americans and built in America. It’s obvious based upon the sexy Sonata-like side exterior profile, which was also designed by an American car designer. This is the first Toyota product to truly offer a wow factor — as it relates to both style and pizzaz.
Also in a consumer focus group conducted by Toyota, the redesign Avalon rated higher with African Americans than with any other segment of the population. With that being the case, look for a sizable part of the Avalon marketing budget to be spent toward this demographic.
Toyota Avalon History:
When the Avalon was first introduced in 1994, it was supposed to be the stop gap between those yearning to step-up from the midsize Camry and those not ready to step into the premium priced Lexus ES. The Toyota Cressida was the last large car to fill the gap for Asian brand, before the Avalon came on the scene. The Avalon, which slots into the large car segment, goes head-to-head with the 2014 Chevy Impala, the Chrysler 300, the Ford Taurus, the Hyundai Azera and the Nissan Maxima.
Toyota Avalon First for 2013:
For the first time, the Avalon will be available as both a hybrid and gasoline model. The Avalon will become the first Toyota to offer a blind-spot alert system with a cross-traffic alert. Upon backing-up, the Avalon will alert the driver of objects crossing its path via audible alerts. Furthermore, the Avalon hybrid, which is a new addition to the Avalon family, is expected to achieve 40-mpg, this is a first for any vehicle in the large car segment. In fact, there aren’t too many small vehicles that could lay claim to this.
Moreover, the Avalon grows from two trim levels to four. The 2013 gasoline model will be available as a Base, Premium, Touring, and Limited model, while the hybrid will be available in a Premium, Touring or Limited model.
The Avalon also has projector style front headlights. And the 2013 Avalon now offer both a collision protection system and a radar cruise control system.
Standard Features on Avalon:
The following features are available on the standard gasoline Base model: 17-inch wheels; 10 airbags; the same 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine from 2012; power front seats; 8-speaker AM/FM/CD player with MP3; leather trimmed tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel; a push-button keyless starter; Bluetooth compatibility; and cloth seats.
Pricing for the Avalon:
The price for the 2012 Avalon gasoline model kicked-off at $33,195, before destination charges, while pricing for the spanking-new 2013 Avalon is slated to have a starting price of $30,990. The 2013 Avalon will no longer offer bench seats, a shifter on the steering column or partially reclining rear seats, a fan favorite in some of the previous generations.
Avalon’s Initial Drawbacks:
While we’re in awe of the sexy exterior, the interior’s center stack, which houses the radio, with the huge knobs, seems to cater to an older crowd. Ironically, the exterior design seems to appeal to a younger generation of car buyers, with its Sonata-like side profile and Jaguar-like rear profile. Also why is XM satellite subscription-based radio not a standard feature on the Base model? At $30,000, this feature should be standard. Added to that, a sexy vehicle like this should offer dual sunroofs or at least a panoramic roof to compliment the fresh design. A standard size sunroof doesn’t do the vehicle justice.
Since 2009, Avalon sales peaked near 30,000 units annually. With the redesign, Avalon is counting on moving 70,000 of their flagship vehicles annually – again. The last time it hit those numbers were back in 2007. We believe Toyota will have no problems accomplishing this. In fact, some potential Camry buyers may decide to move up a notch to buy a new Avalon, while some potential Lexus ES buyers may decide to downgrade.
While the Avalon is no sports car, it continues to provide the road feel and manners one expects from a fullsize vehicle. Depending upon the trim, the Avalon is now available with paddle shifters and a sport drive mode, improving the overall driving dynamics. Look for a more extensive review in 2013 once we’re behind the wheel for at least a week, as opposed to a few hours.
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him http://twitter.com/#!/JeffCars/.