The Toyota emblem on the grill is the same, but that is just about all that remains of the old Avalon when studying the 2013 Avalon. The new Avalon really is new, not just a refreshed version of the previous generations, and you notice it the minute you glance at this car. It is slightly smaller, it lost 170 pounds, and in an unusual move, Toyota lowered the price on the 2013 by $2210 from the 2012 model. Under the hood, you’ve got the tried and true 3.5-liter V6 that is producing a respectable 268-horses. Other than the hybrid version, there are no other optional powertrains. The Avalon comes with a smooth, 6-speed automatic transmission, and Toyota recommends using regular fuel, a money saver in times like this.
There are three drive modes you can select from the center console. You can choose from Eco, Normal, and Sport. In Eco mode, most cars are sluggish but the Avalon performs well when maximizing fuel economy. In Normal mode, it’s-well, normal. In Sport mode, you feel a major change and the performance and handling of the car is much different. Most people won’t switch modes a lot, but you can keep the Avalon from ever getting boring.
There is all-new sheet metal on the outside. The front end sports a large in-your-face grill intended to attract younger buyers. The rear end is contoured with a subtle spoiler, and 18” alloy wheels finish off what I consider to be the prettiest Toyota ever made. My tester is Attitude Black with gray leather, and it is striking. It is important to note that my press car is the XLE Touring Edition, not the top of the line Limited, and this car does not have a single option, everything I talk about here is standard equipment on this model. One thing everyone noticed right off the bat with previous versions of the Avalon was the boring interior and flat seats. That has all changed now. The new Avalon interior is exceptional. Comfortable, contoured seats make you feel like you are in a recliner. Wood and chrome accents are subtle but noticeable, but it is the hand-stitched leather throughout the cabin that is most impactful. Everything is easy to operate thanks to extra-large buttons that are a very nice touch, and something I wish more cars had.
Inside you get dual zone automatic climate control, heated seats, navigation system. Entune (Toyota’s app display to give you real-time information), bluetooth, rearview camera, power driver and passenger seat, leather steering wheel with audio, and voice command. Also standard is push button start.
Other standard items on the Avalon are a power moonroof, dual exhaust, 10 airbags, blind spot monitoring system, and anti-theft system. The new Avalon drives great and is not a soft as previous versions thanks to a new suspension system and electric power steering which is awesome. Avalon is unusually quiet inside, it corners well especially in Sport mode, and you don’t feel bumps in the road.
2013 Avalon has a very comfortable and large back seat, and trunk room is sufficient, in spite of the car being smaller this year. It is a joy to drive versus previous years that were just OK, ho-hum at best.
Although rated at 31 miles per gallon, if you can hold this car to 60 on the highway, it will deliver 35 MPG. At 65 it drops to about 33, and at 70 it will hold the stated 31 MPG. Very impressive for a car this size. For me, the XLE Touring is the right package to buy. If you go all the way to the Limited, you are within $2000 or so of the Lexus ES, which is problematic.
2013 Avalon is an exceptional value, especially in the package I am reviewing.
What I liked most: Interior luxury and overall value proposition.
What I would change: I would have the back seats fold down for extra cargo.
MSRP: $36,295 as equipped. Base model starts at $30,990.
Fuel Economy: 21 City/31 Highway
Warranty: 3 years/36,000 mile bumper to bumper. 5 years/60,000 miles on the powertrain, and roadside assistance. 2 years of free maintenance
2013 Toyota Avalon in a few words: Best Avalon ever BY FAR, a must-see in the full-sized sedan segment.
Car Pro Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.