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Big Sedans Are Still Some Of The Safest New Cars On The Road 6
Jul
Posted by Carscoops Staff in Alfa Romeo Stelvio, EuroNCAP, Hyundai i30, IIHS, Lincoln Continental, Mercedes E-Class, Opel Insignia, Seat-Ibiza, Toyota Avalon, video, VW Arteon on 07 6th, 2017


Buying a new car? Even if it's not your top priority, you'll want to at least take safety ratings into account. Fortunately there are organizations dedicated to crash-testing every new car on the market and telling you how safe they are as a result.
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Aftermarket Toyota Seat Heaters Could Short Circuit, Spark Flames 14
Jun
Posted by Cristian Gnaticov in Recalls, TOYOTA, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Toyota FJ Cruiser, Toyota Highlander, Toyota Prius, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Sequoia, Toyota Sienna, Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Tundra, Toyota Venza on 06 14th, 2016


Owners of certain Toyota vehicles, equipped with aftermarket seat heaters, will have to take their rides back to the dealers, as these could burst into flames.
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Silver Toyotas Playbook: SEMA Edition Quintet Gets TRD Goodies 4
Nov
Posted by Andreas Tsaousis in Galleries, SEMA show, TOYOTA, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Highlander, Toyota Land Cruiser on 11 4th, 2015


Apart from the gargantuan Tundrasine, which is the required piece of extravaganza from every automaker in SEMA, Toyota also had five of its production vehicles on display.
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Top Ten Things I Learned Reviewing Automobiles in 2013 27
Dec
Posted by Chris Brewer in 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 S, 2014 Chevrolet Corvette, 2014 Corvette Stingray, Auto Addiction, Automotive, BMW M3, BMW M3 Lime Rock Park Edition, Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Volt, convertible, Corvette Stingray, Porsche-911, Scion FR-S, Scion tC, Stingray, Technical, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Avalon Hybrid, Toyota Sienna, Volt on 12 27th, 2013
2014-chevy-corvette-c7-stingray-z51

 

1. Although a few buttons on the steering wheel are convenient, more than six is confusing and makes you feel like you are riding around in one of those hover chairs in the second half of Wall-E.

2014-cadillac-cts-36-performance-collection-dashboard

2014 Cadillac CTS 3.6L Performance Collection Review and Test Drive

 

 

2. Speaking of…a contrasting-color-stitched-leather-wrapped-ergonomic-racing-inspired steering wheel may not make the car drive any faster or handle any better, but it sure feels like it does.

2014 Scion tC

Toyota Returns to the Spirit of the 70′s Import Sports Car: The 2014 Scion tC

 

 

3. While illuminated shift knobs look cool, they are not a necessary upgrade. On the other hand, radar or assisted cruise control is totally worth the extra cash.

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-feature

2013 Toyota Avalon Limited Hybrid Review and Test Drive

 

 

4. Nobody cares about gas mileage on the first day of a week-long car review. Everybody cares about gas mileage on the sixth day.

2013-chevrolet-volt-badge

2013 Chevy Volt Quick Driving Impressions

 

 

5. You do not always get what you pay for. There are cars that cost less than $30k that I would rather own and drive than many that I have driven that cost $60k plus. 

2013 Scion FR-S 10 Series

First Drive: 2013 Scion FR-S Review – Hype Approved

 

 

6. The more fun a car is to drive, the less chance you have of getting a ticket for being on your smart phone.

2013-bmw-m3-lime-rock-park-edition-front-22013 BMW M3 Lime Rock Park Edition Review and Test Drive

 

7. Although I am a standard transmission kind of guy, many of the new automatics are simply amazing. I do not care if you are a professional rally driver, no one can shift as quickly and efficiently as the PDK automated manual transmission in the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S.

2013-porsche-911-c4s-dashboard2013 Porche 911 Carrera 4s Cabriolet Driving Impressions

 

8. Even though it probably will not get any thumbs up at the traffic light, the Toyota Sienna mini-van is a nice way to drive your entire family around town or on long trips.

 

9. Driving the new 2014 Corvette Stingray makes you proud to be an American.

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2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray Quick Spin & First Impressions

 

10. If your ten-year-old daughter tells you that there is no back seat, it does not matter what the manufacturer claims, those seat belts are simply there to hold groceries in place under hard braking.

2013-porsche-911-c4s-interior2013 Porche 911 Carrera 4s Cabriolet Driving Impressions



2013 Toyota Avalon Limited Review & Test Drive 3
Dec
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, Test Drives, TOYOTA, Toyota Avalon on 12 3rd, 2013
2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Beauty Left HA Done Small

2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Beauty Left HA Done Small

The all-new 2013 Toyota Avalon Limited leads the automaker’s new design philosophy of elegant and athletic styling with improved performance, greater refinement, higher levels of comfort and luxury including the latest infotainment and connectivity technology.  After testing the all-new Avalon Limited for seven-days I found that the car is more like a luxury sport sedan with all the comfort and luxury goodies found in any other sedan priced in the high $30,000.00 range.  The fully loaded Avalon Limited came with a price of $41,975.00.  The base price of a new Lexus ES350 is $36,470.00.  After now testing both sedans I would purchase the all-new Avalon Limited, and for good reason-it has it all-luxury styling, luxury interior, great performance and the latest in safety systems.

The all-new Avalon was designed, developed and manufactured in the U.S. to the highest levels of Toyota’s abilities.  The exterior design is elegant and athletic with a longer flowing roofline creating a more appealing silhouette with a lower vehicle beltline that shows a sense of motion with a road holding stance.  Its shoulders are carved into the side sheet metal that starts over the front wheels and creates a strong, fluid bodyside design cue adding to its athletic stance.

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The overall exterior is designed to communicate to the consumer a greater sense of performance and agility to better match the car’s vastly improved dynamic capability.  The all-new Avalon is more compact and athletic with great styling sophistication that does not sacrifice interior comfort.  The car’s stance has also been improved with more taut and compact exterior dimensions.  Overall height has been reduced by 0.98 inch while the overhangs have been reduced by 0.59 inch at the front and 1.77 inch at the rear.  Filling the wheel well, the gap has been reduced by 0.27 inch and new 18X7.5 inch alloy wheels wrapped with 225/45R18 inch performance tires further help close the gap and add to its aggressive look.  The Avalon’s visual stance has been further enhanced by 1.29 inch reduction with of the rear side rails surrounding the rear glass to tighten the proportions of the greenhouse.  The new Avalon Limited uses the ‘industry’s-first’ Quadrabeam headlight cluster utilizing a sleek and compact double-eye PES headlight design with two square glass condenser lenses that have been adopted for the low beams and really light up the darkness.  Halogen and HID bulbs are used for low beam double-eye PES front lamps.  Also, Daytime Running Lights use six-LED bulbs further giving the Avalon a distinct and more modern image to the front of the car.  The front fascia is the most looked at part of a car and the Avalon shows a stronger, more expressive design with a larger grille opening surrounded with a chrome insert that creates a more aggressive and luxury look while enhancing cooling air flow and pedestrian impact protection.  The Avalon’s exterior turn-signal indicators have now been located at the lower section of the front bumper to contribute to the slim and sleek appearance.  Furthering the new more modern styling, the sleek and sculpted rear tail lights utilize LED lamps to help ensure visibility and reduce the gap of unlit dark area between the trunk and rear quarter panel.  The more sculpted and athletic exterior cuts through the air with a very low 0.28 coefficient of drag that enhances fuel economy and on-road stability.  The rear tapering design and the floor undercovers help enhance vehicle stability even more at speed.  Even the Avalon’s new aero-designed side mirrors further help with a reduction in wind noise and weight reduction of 14.6 ounces.  The side mirrors feature power-remote, heated, self-dimming and have puddle lamps for safe nighttime use.  Even the new Avalon’s more aerodynamic wiper design stays in contact with the window longer.  The new Avalon’s rear valance houses rectangular stainless steel exhaust outlets integrated into the rear bumper for a clean yet aggressive rear view.  I’ve gotten many positive comments from drivers when sitting at stop lights and when parked in shopping centers, the car looks nothing like it before.  Given the sleek, sexy styling the luxury side comes through with the front chrome Toyota wing, chrome pull-out door handles; full perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse and a wide chrome strip connecting the two rear lamp clusters.  The all-new Avalon is one of the most dramatic looking all-new entry-level luxury sport sedans on the road!

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The interior of the new Avalon continues the elegant and athletic theme creating a premium comfortable and luxurious cabin that combines high technology and craftsmanship with an artistic level of sculpted surfaces never seen by this reviewer.  The sculpted dash panel and its concave surfaces in front of the passenger help to add to the sense of the cabin’s spaciousness.  This panel is covered in supple, hand-stitched premium soft-touch material with the seam adding creative flair as it goes across the dash panel with dark veneer wood down below.  The broad, low and layered dash-board design helps divide the panel area into a balance between an intimate driver space, with focused angles on the gauges and a wide open passenger space.  The instrument panel has been widened by 1.18 inches in the upper region and 2.56 inches in the lower region compared to last year, which helps enhance the interior’s spaciousness.  The driver cockpit features an Optitron-type combination gauge cluster which produces a sharp, high quality display and a 3.5 inch Thin-film Transistor (TFT) color multi-information display.  It is so easy to see and understand, day or night.  The new Avalon’s interior surfaces are finished in premium materials such as hand-sewn soft-touch material for the dash panel, unique smoke chrome trim surrounding the center panel and door armrests including high-quality glossy panel trim around the shifter.  All of this attention to detail to touch surfaces and subtle enhancements to texture and visual appeal are aimed at elevating the overall interior experience for me and my passengers.  A generous, dense-foam support is used beneath the supple-soft-touch material covering many of the interior’s touch surfaces, while a soft skin surface with a deep foam construction is used for many of the dash surfaces to create a greater sense of tactile quality.  The new Avalon’s front seats offer revised side bolstering using a lighter, denser foam material that helps improve body positioning for me and my front seat passenger.  In keeping with the road-trip oriented nature of this premium sedan, the seats still offer a high level of comfort and support for longer trips.  As for adjustment, Avalon’s seats are 10-way powered for me and 8-way powered for my front passenger.  My seat also featured a seat-cushion length extender with both front seats heated and ventilated.  The rear seats feature heating and all seats are covered with a fine grain, premium leather material that is so soft.

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The door panels are designed to help enhance the elegant nature of the interior while offering improved armrest comfort by incorporating foam that is 0.23 inch thicker than on the last Avalon.  The door panel is also covered by durable synthetic leather with ornate stitching that matches that matches the dashboard.  Door panel pull cups are also covered in premium soft-touch material and LED lighting illuminates the door panel’s controls.  Smoked chrome bezels and plated accents adorn the inside door handles and power window switch bezels further help improve the luxury appearance.  More attention to detail in the new Avalon is that the power-window actuation is handled by a variable-rate window motor that slows the window as it approaches the top of the window frame to help reduce wind noise and add refinement.  All four of the windows are equipped with a window obstruction feature that reverses window operation when an object is detected.  All windows are express up/down.  Beyond styling, the Avalon interior remains highly functional with abundant and improved storage space.  Located beneath the HVAC controls in the center console is the eBin electronic storage tray.  This new tray design allows storage for two devices cellphones or iPod) side-by-side on a premium, highly friction surface.  Charging jacks are located below the tray that can be opened and closed with cables passing neatly through the cab slot cut into the bottom of the tray.  The tray is also illuminated by LED light for improved night visibility managing cables.  Beneath this tray is an electronics storage box where devices can also be stored completely out of sight while charging.  Two DC 12-volt power outlets, an AUX and a USB jack are accessible in the storage box.  Two chrome-decorated cupholders are located in the center console are lit by LED ambient lighting.  The lighting volume for the cupholders can be adjusted in three levels by operating the switch on the overhead console.  A large-capacity console box is big enough to store a tissue box and also includes a detachable sliding tray to store smaller items.  The convenient sliding armrest lid covering the storage box offers up to 1.61 inches of travel to more comfortably function as an armrest, and can be opened and closed in any position.  The storage box also contains another 12-volt DC outlet to facilitate charging or powering accessories.  To the left of the leather-wrapped/tilt/telescopic/heated beefy steering wheel is a coin box that can be actuated by push button control and utilizes a damper mechanism to help achieve smoother opening and closing.  The Avalon is equipped with a 0.24 cu.ft. glove box with detachable tray and that can be locked for security.  The glovebox is illuminated by LED light.  The rear seats also have a pull-down dual cupholder and armrest.  The trunk offers 16 cu.ft. of luggage space.  The interior cabin of the all-new Avalon is as comfortable, ergonomic, convenient and luxurious as any luxury sedan in the segment.

2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Back Seats Done Small

A great styled midsize sedan with a luxury interior doesn’t make any sense unless it is has good power with excellent driving dynamics.  The Avalon utilizes a 3.5 liter, 90-degree, DOHC, all-aluminum six-cylinder engine that features Dual VVT-I to help it quickly move the Avalon with authority.  By optimizing the intake and exhaust valve events the engine increases performance across the entire rev range.  This robust V6 produces 268hp at 6,200rpm and 248lb.ft. of torque at 4,700rpm that provides the new Avalon with a competitive acceleration time of 6.2sec. for a 0-60mph sprint.  The V6 powered Avalon features a hydraulic  automatic transmission that has been optimized for improved fuel economy and performance from a lightweight front-wheel-drive transaxle.  The transmission can be shifted from D mode into S mode on the shift gate, where shifts can be actuated with + or – shifts of the lever.  This sporty sedan also has a Sport mode that adopts a highly responsive upshift control and throttle blipping downshift control which are adopted for quicker shifting performance.  Steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters help actuate fast, responsive shifts while keeping both hands on the wheel.  The transmission response is further enhanced by utilization of a faster-locking torque converter that locks up early even in second gear.  The transmission is also kept at an optimal temperature for consistent performance with an automatic transmission fluid warmer.  The shift gate is actuated by a lever and shift knob that is covered in premium leather.  There are three drive modes-Eco, Normal and Sport.  The Eco Mode prioritizes fuel economy by balancing driving performance, air-conditioning function and fuel efficiency.  It reduces driving force when accelerating at low speeds to enhance fuel efficiency.  Sport mode helps create a more engaging, dynamic driving experience by enhancing the Electric Rack & Pinion Power Steering effort and a more direct, responsive steering feel.  It also adjusts throttle response to help increase the sensation of the engine’s torque response during acceleration.

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Besides refining the steering response and effort, the Avalon’s road-going character has been revised with a dramatic new chassis.  The new Avalon offers a vastly elevated level of control and handling thanks to a revised suspension that benefits from a unibody that is 12% more rigid overall, and 23% more rigid at the rear than before.  To take advantage of the new platform’s increased rigidity, the suspension tuning has been dramatically revised.  The front independent MacPherson strut suspension is tuned to provide outstanding ride comfort over poorly paved roads by also exhibits flat cornering with enhanced agility.  Inversely would coil springs are match to dampers that help control the wheels with improved steering feel across a variable of surfaces.  The rigidity of the 25mm stabilizer bar and a 16mm rear bar promotes flatter cornering.  Unique, more rigid knuckles and lower control arms are adopted for the 18X7.5 inch wheels and performance tires.  The dual-link independent rear suspension design helps the car achieve an ideal balance between ride quality and handling precision.  This suspension design offers a reduced toe-in angle during turning and braking to help improve rear stability.  Pillow ball joints are adopted in one of the suspension arms to help enhance handling precision.  The electric rack & pinion system’s power assist has been optimized in response to vehicle speed to create a lighter effort sensation at lower speeds and increased effort and on-center feel at higher speeds.  Even though the new Avalon rides on a long, comfortable 111 inch wheelbase, the steering and suspension tuning helped me get the feeling of agility and nimble reaction to my inputs.  Amazing!

Quickly and safely slowing the new Avalon down from speed are large, power-assisted steel disc brakes.  Up front are 11.7 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 11.1 inch solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear.  Standard ABS, EBD, BA, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control and Smart Stop Technology all work together to keep me out of trouble when taking a curve too fast and keeping me in control of my desired direction when braking hard on wet and slick pavement.

2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Engine Done Small

My test Avalon Limited came loaded with standard features not mentioned above including Entune Toyota’s multimedia system which functions through a smart phone interface and brings applications such as Bing, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable and Pandora to the vehicle audio display.  This audio configuration also features real-time traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports and stocks.  Bluetooth hands-free phone system is also standard on the Limited.  More standard features in the Avalon Limited include dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors, grab handles above each door, map pockets behind each front seatback, one-touch moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, power rear sunshade, auto dimming rearview mirror, three-zone automatic climate control with air filtration, Premium HDD Navi/JBL Surround Sound Audio system with 11-speakers, 7 inch touch screen, HD Sirius Satellite Radio, two-driver memory, driver seat easy entry-easy exit, Smart Key entry with push button start/stop, thick cut carpeting, power door locks, trip computer, remote trunk release and rear seat reading lights.

Standard safety systems include Star Safety System with 10-airbags-Driver/Front Passenger front/side impact airbags, Driver/Front Passenger Knee airbags, front/rear side curtain airbags, rear seat-mounted airbags, 5-3-point seat belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, LATCH system for child seats, anti-theft system, tire pressure monitoring, rear camera with parking assist, Safety Connect, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door and Blind Spot Monitor/Rear Cross Traffic Alert.  Options included in my test Avalon Limited included the Technology Package which includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, automatic high beam and Pre Collision system, Rear Bumper Applique, Wheel Locks, and Carpeted Floor Mats front/rear.

The base price for the all-new 2013 Avalon Limited starts at $39,650.00 and my loaded model was priced at $41,975.00.  The all-new 2013 Toyota Avalon Limited is one of the best looking, best performing, comfortable, luxurious, connected with the latest in infotainment system along with the latest safety systems in the midsize entry-level luxury segment.  Take a test drive and you’ll agree.

2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Beauty Left HA Done Small
2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Beauty Right Done Small
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2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Front Seats Done Small
2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Back Seats Done Small
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2013 Toyota Avalon Ltd Engine Done Small

COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Avalon XLE $31,800 / As-Tested Avalon Limited $41,975
  • Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC V6 268 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm / 248 ft-lbs. torque @ 4,700 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 111 inches
  • Total length: 195.2 inches
  • Total width: 72.2 inches
  • Total height: 57.5 inches
  • Track: f/r-62.6/62.2 inches
  • Ground clearance: 5.5 inches
  • Headroom: 38.5/37.6 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-42.1/39.2 inches
  • EPA passenger volume: 16 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,461 pounds
  • Turning circle: 37.4 feet
  • Fuel tank: 17 gallons
  • EPA mileage: 21mpg/city, 31mpg/highway
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds


2013 Toyota Avalon Limited Hybrid Review & Test Drive 18
Oct
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, hybrid, Test Drives, TOYOTA, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Avalon Hybrid on 10 18th, 2013
2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid

The all-new 2013 Toyota Avalon parts ways from its monotonous appeal once thought as being reserved for the older-aged. With a new design for 2013, the Toyota Avalon puts on a new enthusiastic exterior look with an inspiring and spacious interior. Additionally, the new Avalon puts its best efficiency efforts forward in a new Hybrid variation that I had the pleasure of driving for a week.

My initial expectations of the new 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid were freshly based off the heals of the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Prius Hybrid, and rightfully so as those vehicles have forged the hybrid segment for many years.  With Toyota being the pioneers of main-stream hybrid vehicles in America, the new Avalon should be nothing short of spectacular in the realm of being a dedicated transportation appliance that happens to proudly wear its efficiency (hybrid) badges. No big surprises here, the 2013 Toyota Avalon Limited Hybrid proved to be just that.

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-side

Not to place the 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid high on a pedestal, it can’t be helped to mention how the new Toyota Camry Hybrid and Lexus ES300h are close relatives that share just about every drivetrain trait only to subtly hide it under completely different sheet metal and interior lacings. Sharing the drivetrain underpinnings is not a bad thing, considering how well the new ES300h is perceived in the entry-luxury segment and even for those well adapted to living in the lap of luxury.

The new 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 156 horsepower and 156 ft-lbs. of torque in conjunction with an electric motor. The 141 horsepower electric motor aids in efforts to prove a good deal of instant torque and a supercharged-like thrust of power at midrange when ‘assisting’ the gas engine. Working is sync, the two units together offer up 200 horsepower and a limited benefit of instant torque from the electric motor during initial acceleration.

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The engine and electric motor work in a smooth transition to direct power through a CVT transmission to the front wheels. The CVT (continuously variable transmission) unit is well adapted to a series of intricate mechanisms aided by several processing units to keep all of the commotion behind the scenes. The Hybrid synergy drive for the new Avalon Hybrid works virtually seamless. Though, you can still decipher when the engine kicks on from a solo burst of electric motor power, the transition hardly ever upsets expected power delivery. Even still, the system quickly reacts to your infinite gas and brake pedal placements enacting situations where the engine and electric motor are needed to propel the Avalon Hybrid to 60 mph from a dead stop in about 8 seconds. That 0-60 mph figure is far off from the V6 Avalon, about 2 second, just as you would think when you consider the V6 trim has an additional 68 horsepower to play with. This is not to say the new Avalon Hybrid is slow, it still proves to be capable of sprinting around town giving you enough confidence to jump out into traffic and overtake vehicles on the highway with ease. The Avalon Hybrid mainly suffers from its extra bit of weight to carry around due to the battery, in addition to it being slightly down on power when pitted against the 3.5-liter V6 in the gas-powered Avalon getting 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.

I found that during my drive in the new Avalon Hybrid, efficiency takes a front seat in all drive mode settings. Just like many Toyota and Lexus offerings, a select drive mode (Eco mode, Normal mode and Sport mode) adapt the vehicle to your driving style. In normal and eco modes the steering wheel effort is light while in sport mode it firms it up just a tad, or just enough to notice. Sport mode also advances the throttle position for a livelier feel through low to mid-range gas pedal modulation. A virtual shift pattern is adopted when you put the gear selector in the sport-manual mode, while an analog rpm gauge is displayed in the center LCD cluster information display. Working with the CVT the manual shift mode simulates shift points throughout the rpm band. It is quite the novelty item for enthusiasts but may prove to give everyday commuters the most excitement they would get out of the Avalon Hybrid, aside from scoring astounding 40-plus mpg figures.

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-badge

Speaking of fuel economy, my new Avalon Hybrid returned excellent fuel economy throughout my drive in mixed interstate traffic and downtown exploring. I saw an average of 39.1 mpg on the highway and an amazing 44 mpg in the city. The Avalon Hybrid’s battery charges up quickly when steadily cruising near or at highway speeds. Around downtown streets the battery quickly drained as it switched over to full EV mode with my soft acceleration, but yielded mpg figures as high as 51 mpg on a full downtown 20-minute excursion. Simply put, the Avalon Hybrid does what it is supposed to and the EPA estimates, 40 mpg city and 39 mpg highway, are easily attainable, if not bettered by conscience ‘hybrid’ driving. After 275 miles of driving, the 17 gallon gas tank was still well-over half way full.

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-dashboard

The new Avalon Hybrid rides great with the right amount of suspension damping and balance of firmness while obeying all speed limit laws. Of course the civility of the Avalon Hybrid remains well intact until you start to push near its limits. After nearly breaching limits of the efficient 17-inch tires’ quiet treads with a slight howl, things tend to get a bit dicey as the Avalon Hybrid’s weight starts to really show its face. Of course the Avalon Hybrid is not a performance vehicle by any means and it is not shy about remind you of this in an affirming manor with tire screeching and upsetting body roll. Nonetheless, the new Avalon Hybrid’s firmer suspension proves to be the compliant trait to make it a bit more lively and adept on those back curvy roads.

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-front-seats

The all-new 2013 Avalon Hybrid touts ample interior room in the front and back seating areas. Legroom in the rear, over 39 inches, nearly rivals long-wheelbase luxury sedans, and the plush leather interior of the Avalon Hybrid Limited trim beckons to question why you would pony up any more cash for a luxury-branded vehicle in the same class. Fit and finish to the eye is superb but to the touch some of the finished plastic dashboard pieces diminish your initial perception. Nevertheless, the dashboard is pieced together with long-lasting quality in mind. The new control layout for the 2013 Avalon Hybrid Limited trim feature touch-capacitive buttons for most of the infotainment, ac/heater and vehicle setting controls. The touch-buttons are not overly sensitive but you may mistakenly press a button at times when making adjustments to the analog dials on the dashboard. Overall, the button placements and easy of usability is spot-on.

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-rear-seats

One of the more interesting aspects of the Toyota Avalon Hybrid’s usable space is the trunk, which also houses the hybrid battery. Surprisingly, even with the hybrid battery placed just at the rear of the rear seatbacks, you have enough space, 14-cubic feet, for several bags. Other features placing the Avalon on the same pedestal as some luxury brands are the heated and ventilated front bucket seats, heated rear-outward seats, optional technology package including radar cruise control w/ pre-collision system and automatic high-beam headlights. The other notable option equipped on my Avalon Hybrid Limited test vehicle is an eBin wireless charging storage tray for wirelessly charging mobile phones with compatible eBin wireless charging capabilities. Don’t expect to get use out of this with your new iPhone, unless you foot the bill for a compatible wireless-charging case. Still, you will be able to pair your smartphone via Bluetooth and stream your music wirelessly.

2013-toyota-avalon-hybrid-trunk

As a full-sized sedan with an efficiency edge, the new 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid has the proven EPA fuel consumption numbers as to not deviate from its hybrid badges and over-all purpose. The choice of a new Avalon Hybrid over a Camry Hybrid, or any other eco-minded full-sized vehicle, comes down to usable interior space, which the Avalon takes to a new dimension – literally. The use of the same Camry hybrid drivetrain in the new Avalon Hybrid, also found in the Lexus ES300h, is a major emphasis on Toyota’s proven hybrid system, which they are not afraid to utilize in several vehicles. As an added value factor, the Avalon Hybrid starts at just $36,365 for the XLE Premium trim, which is just over $3,000 less than the platform-sharing Lexus ES300h hybrid. My Avalon Hybrid Limited test vehicle loaded up with the Tech package comes to an as-tested price of $44,485 including a $760 delivery, processing and handling fee. In retrospect, the new Toyota Avalon Hybrid is one offering that cannot be matched in terms of its large size and exceptional fuel economy for such a starting price.

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Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Avalon Hybrid XLE $36,365 / As-Tested Avalon Hybrid Limited $44,485
  • Engine: 2.5-liter 4-cylinder (156 horsepower) with two hybrid electric motors for total output of 200 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm / 199 lb.ft. of torque
  • Wheelbase: 111 in.
  • Overall length: 195.3 in.
  • Overall width: 72.2 in.
  • Overall height: 57.5 in.
  • Track: f/r-62.6/62.2 in.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.6/37.9 in. with glass sunroof
  • Legroom: f/r-42.1/39.2 in.
  • EPA cargo volume: 14.0 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,638 lbs.
  • Fuel tank: 17.0 gallons
  • Turning radius: 40.0 ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 8.1 seconds
  • EPA fuel economy: 40 mpg/city 39 mpg/highway
  • Range: 680 miles city / 663 miles highway


2012 New York Auto Show: 2013 Toyota Avalon Thwarts off Senior Citizen Connotation 5
Apr
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in auto show, Automotive, New York auto show, New York International Auto Show, TOYOTA, Toyota Avalon on 04 5th, 2012

Just as much as sex sells to the internet public, a sporty image sells well among enthusiastic automotive consumers. Unfortunately, it has taken some time for Toyota to take advantage of enthusiasts seeking sporty automobiles. It seems with the introduction of the all-new 2013 Toyota Avalon at the 2012 New York Auto Show, Toyota is taking notice to such buyers by adding sports-appeal to their large flagship sedan.

The new 2013 Toyota Avalon looks to shake off that notion of only those who have retired from their second career job. The new design captivates sports appeal while at the same time offering a spacious, luxurious interior laced with the latest technology.

Toyota is being mull on the details that we like to spill such as what is under the hood. We expect it could be the same powerplant used in the new Lexus GS possessing 306 horsepower. From the looks of things, Toyota may be looking to reclaim their prestige and ability to create stunning designs and not demolish thoughts of frumpy designs. In other words, we can hear Hyundai giving Toyota a hat tip saying “we see what you did here”.

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Hit up the full press release for additional information on the new 2013 Toyota Avalon

The Sensational New 2013 Toyota Avalon Makes World Debut at the 2012 New York International Auto Show

• New model offers captivating styling, a spacious, luxurious interior experience, and premium technology
• Regionally-focused design, engineering, and manufacturing effort
NEW YORK, (April 5, 2012) – Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. revealed the all-new 2013 Avalon premium mid-size sedan today at the 2012 New York International Auto Show. The new Avalon is re-conceived for the premium mid-size sedan segment with a progressive and emotionally styled exterior design.

When it arrives to dealerships late this year, the new Avalon will offer improved dynamic performance, a greater degree of refinement, and a highly spacious, comfortable interior experience with an abundance of outstanding convenience technologies.

The new 2013 Avalon is the result of a North American-focused design and engineering effort. The new sedan’s dramatic exterior and interior design was conceived by a youthful and talented team at the Calty Design Research Inc. facilities in Southern California and Michigan. The car’s engineering development was principally led by a passionate and dedicated group based at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Continuing a North American focused theme, the 2013 Avalon will be assembled at Toyota’s facility in Georgetown, Ky. True to the future product mission set forth by Toyota Motor Corporation President, Akio Toyoda, the new Avalon’s more stylish, bold, sporty exterior design and luxurious interior styling are matched by an enhanced dynamic package, a combination that foreshadows the more compelling and passionate nature of future Toyota products.

Enhanced Avalon Dynamics
In addition to its stunning design, numerous structural and chassis improvements were made to the new Avalon to enhance the ride quality, straight-line stability and handling. The body structure gains improvements in torsional rigidity thanks to additional and strategically placed welds, improved body bracing, and high-strength steel in key areas in order to provide a stiffer chassis and optimize suspension performance. The new Avalon suspension relies on MacPherson struts with advanced valving and rebound springs to balance handling and agility with ride comfort. Coil spring rate and front and rear sway bar stiffness was increased from the current model to help improve body control and body roll. The Avalon’s electric power steering (EPS) system has been tuned to help deliver enhanced controllability and vehicle agility while also realizing superior linear stability.

The new Avalon offers three distinct drive modes that help tailor dynamic performance to the driver’s needs. The drive modes – Normal, Eco, and Sport -are made available through driver-selectable switches. In Sport mode, throttle response is enhanced and steering effort is weighted from center to offer a sportier character. Eco changes throttle response and A/C power usage to help improve fuel economy. Steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters help provide a sportier drive while in the D or S Mode, where the revised throttle helps improve shift response to help maximize engine power and vehicle performance.

Dynamic Exterior Styling
The new Avalon’s dynamic exterior styling defines a sleek and expressive profile that helps communicate a sense of motion for the vehicle even when it is at rest. The beltline has been lowered to accentuate a strong stance. Compared to its predecessor, the new Avalon is a bit more compact yet displays better proportions with a longer, sloping roofline, flared front fenders, and reduced front and rear overhangs, lower vehicle height, and reduced body-to-tire gap. New 17-inch and 18-inch alloy wheel and tire combinations fill the wheel well to enhance the vehicle’s dynamic exterior expression.

Key exterior design elements include the square Double-eye PES (Projector Ellipsoid System) headlamps with HID (High-Intensity Discharge)and elegant DRL (Daytime Running Lights) feature available that provide excellent night time visibility while helping define a narrower, more taut and muscular exterior expression. A wider, more assertive grille design provides a bolder front perspective. At the rear, high-performance LED combination tail lamps are adopted which are more integrated with the revised rear-body styling. The dual rear tailpipe outlets further the more cohesive design theme.

Modern Interior Experience
Design elements enhancing comfort, convenience and technology help create the luxurious experience that will prove tempting to buyers of the next Avalon. The 2013 Avalon offers a modern, spacious, premium interior highlighted by abundant rear seat legroom, while featuring a myriad of available features. Beyond mere dimensions, the new Avalon’s interior design enhances the cabin’s sense of spaciousness and comfort. The front seat’s hip point has been lowered by 10 millimeters (0.4 inches) to help create improved headroom. The new power front seat design with increased side bolstering is more supportive and offers an expanded range of downward adjustment. In addition, the structural components of the sunroof and the headliner design have been optimized to help increase the cabin’s roominess. A concave dash panel design, located in front of the passenger, helps create an expansive feeling. While the rear overhang has been reduced by 1.7 inches, the luggage compartment capacity is 16.0 cubic feet, an increase of 1.6 cubic feet as compared to the outgoing model.

The Avalon’s premium interior attains a high level of refinement by reducing wind, engine and road noise inside the cabin. The resultant interior is even significantly quieter and more comfortable than the current Avalon and it creates an ideal environment to enjoy conversation, music or Toyota’s available multimedia system, Entune™. Sound absorbing materials have been strategically placed around the cabin and body structure while not inhibiting a reduction in overall vehicle weight. The windshield and front side-glass panels utilize acoustic glass that helps control sound intrusion into the cabin. Reductions in wind noise have been realized by optimizing exterior shape, specifically cowl and louver sealing, outer mirror shape and position, and wiper-blade position, which have all been developed to dramatically reduce wind noise generation. Exterior gaps and steps have also been minimized to reduce wind noise around the door glass areas.

The new Avalon’s interior utilizes premium materials and a high degree of craftsmanship to offer an upscale experience. Rich, supple leather trims the steering wheel, shift knob, and seat upholstery helping add visual and tactile appeal. Hand-crafted, decorative stitching is adopted for the steering wheel, and soft-touch materials on the dash panel and door trim elevate the vehicle’s sense of tactile luxury. Smoked chrome-metallic accents are applied to the instrument panel, center console, door panel, and steering wheel surfaces to help add distinction and exceptional feel. Available push-button controlled soft white ambient lighting illuminates key regions of the interior to help convey the sense of luxury. The new Avalon’s center console includes a convenient console tray that is ideal for the storage of electronic hand held devices. The new Avalon’s console area is equipped with a USB port, AUX input terminal and three 12-volt power outlets to help facilitate device interface and charging.

The new Avalon will offer innovative technologies such as advanced capacitive touch switches with positioning and sensitivity that makes them ideal for vehicle system controls. Other premium in-car technologies include three color display screens that support the multi-information display, the audio/navigation interface, and the climate control panel. An easy to use Display Audio system with 6.1 inch touchscreen is standard on the new Avalon; while a JBL Synthesis Premium Audio system, HDD Premium Navigation with 7″ screen, dynamic radar cruise control, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a three-zone air conditioning system are also on the list of available features and equipment.

Safety
Like all Toyota models, the new Avalon will feature Toyota’s Star Safety System™ standard, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist, and Smart Stop Technology brake-override system.

The new Avalon helps to prioritize occupant safety with a best-in-class10 airbags system. A Pre-collision system is also available that is designed to “sense” an impending frontal collision and can help mitigate damage. A variable ratio brake pedal is adopted that varies the initial and final pedal effort ratios to help realize excellent brake pedal feel.

In addition to a rearview monitor, Avalon offers an available Blind Spot Monitoring system which is designed to help detect vehicles behind the outer mirrors and to help alert drivers in addition to a new Rear Cross Traffic Alert system (RCTA) that can alert drivers of cross traffic when they are backing up.

Key Dimensional Comparison

2013 Avalon 2012 Avalon
Overall Length 195.3 in. (4960 mm) 197.6 in. (5020 mm)
Overall Width 72.2 in. (1835 mm) 72.8 in. (1850 mm)
Overall Height 57.5 in. (1460 mm) 58.5 in. (1485 mm)
Wheelbase 111 in. (2820 mm) 111 in. (2820 mm)
Front Tread 62.6 in. (1590 mm) 62.2 in. (1580 mm)
Rear Tread 62.2 in. (1580 mm) 61.6 in. (1565 mm)
Front Overhang 38.8 in. (985 mm) 39.4 in. (1000 mm)
Rear Overhang 45.5 in. (1155 mm) 47.2 in. (1200 mm)
Curb Weight 3,497 lbs. (estimated) 3,616 lbs. (Avalon model)



2011 Toyota Avalon Limited Review – Affordable Luxury 27
Apr
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, featured, Test Drives, TOYOTA, Toyota Avalon on 04 27th, 2011

Toyota has introduced a newly redesigned Avalon for 2011 incorporating silky smooth V6 power and a spacious cabin that evokes subtle elegance. The newly styled Avalon combines practicality while offering a soft luxury feel to driving Toyota’s largest sedan. The outside is distinctively styled bringing a fresh new look to the front and rear fascia.

The new 2011 Toyota Avalon is sometimes referred to as the “Buick” of Toyota. Anyone thinking that very thing would not be too far off of the boat considering the new Avalon has a soft, (but well damped over large bumps), suspension that could literally put you to sleep on the highway. As you can imagine, handling is not the Avalon’s forte, but being a full-sized practical sedan is.

The Avalon now comes in just two trim levels, the base Avalon and the Avalon Limited. All Avalons come equipped with leather seats, eight-way power driver seat, backup camera, dual-zone climate, moonroof and 17-inch alloy wheels. My Limited trimmed test vehicle included cooled/heated front leather bucket seats, rain-sensing variable-speed wipers and smart-key (unlocks the doors with the touch of the door handle or locks with a push of the door handle button) with push button start. My test vehicle was also equipped with an optional voice-activated touch-screen navigation system and JBL Synthesis stereo. The sound from stereo system was decent with clear audio coming from all 12 speakers. Bluetooth music streaming was also included on my test vehicle allowing me to seamlessly sync my iPhone’s music and phone dialing/answering functions.

You may catch a few distinctive design changes on the outside of the new 2011 Avalon, such as the new self-leveling projector HID headlights. The Avalon continues a tradition of having a long wheelbase of 111-inches. In a way the new 2011 Avalon has a sportier look than earlier models. At one time, many consumers thought the Avalon was specifically targeting buyers of Buicks but I can honestly say those who want a slightly bigger Camry may find the Avalon appeasing.

The new front bumper now has fog lights trimmed in chrome accents with an extremely wide illumination. If Toyota was ever targeting the middle aged to older demographic, then they will have no problems in that area. With forward illumination at night between the HID projector lamps and wide-angle fog lights this may make our Avalon more enticing. The low-slung side skirts of the Avalon give it a lowered stance appearance. The doorsill chrome strips add a luxury appeal as does the flat trunk.

Inside of the large 106.4 cubic-feet passenger volume cabin you will find a contemporary feel and design. The wide long-running dashboard gives away to a big-car vibe to everything you see up front. The plastic trim pieces are not cheap but unfortunately they are not expensive either, after you start getting all feely-touchy with the new Avalon. This is even more apparent with the faux wood trim. Let’s just say mediocrity still overtakes the Avalon’s dashboard with the exception of a few elements such as the newly styled gauge cluster and center-stack LCD touch screen. The controls and dials are clearly marked making it easy to operate basic vehicle functions. The new Optitron gauges with white needles are easy to read in the daytime and night.

Rear seating volume is plentiful, providing almost 41-inches of legroom and comfortable perforated leather seating surfaces.  Even with the front seats fully adjusted out, rear passengers still have plenty of room.

Toyota has such a tradition of building reliable family oriented sedans that cars like the Camry and new Avalon can be called ‘driving appliances’. The cabin of my new Avalon test vehicle was extremely quiet with no rattles or foreign sounds what-so-ever. The soft suspension is a bit too ‘bouncy’ for my taste, but those looking for an affordable full-sized sedan may find the Avalon’s ride to be just fine. Take the Avalon into a turn too hot and you are quickly reminded that this vehicle was simply not designed for spirited driving.

The 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque V6 engine provides plenty of power. If you lay down your right foot, you get a surge of power, which will quickly engage the traction control to intervene as the front wheels begin to lose traction. Torque steer is another concern outside of the Avalon’s limited sports-car-like handling abilities. The smooth 3.5-liter V6 is overly eager to inject enough power for the 6-speed transmission to direct more power to one front wheel than the other. It would be wise to keep both hands on the steering wheel under wide-open-throttle or you could end up putting this 3,616 pound sedan in a ditch.

0-60mph times come in a surprising 6.2 seconds. Luckily the Avalon still manages to get 20mpg in the city and 29mpg on the highway, and you do not have to pay extra for premium fuel. I saw a consistent 24mpg during my daily commutes to the office, which is a mixture of highway and light-traffic city driving. The 2011 Avalon is certified as an ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle).

Steering feel is somewhat light and neutral providing very little feedback from the road. This gives you a smooth ride over poorly paved roads. The Avalon’s brakes are firm and eager to stop the vehicle. You can feel the electronic brake force distribution during panic stops with very little noticeable fade when they are heated up.

The new 2011 Avalon continues a tradition in providing several standard safety features such as driver and front passenger airbags, seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags in front and rear, driver’s knee airbag, side-impact door beams, front/rear crumple zones, tire pressure monitor, daytime running lights, front seat load limiters/pretensioners, and seat anchors for child car seats.

The new 2011 Toyota Avalon Limited ventures into its already-familiar luxury car territory once again now with an even better styled full-sized luxury-car demeanor. My loaded-up 2011 Toyota Avalon Limited test vehicle has an as-tested price of $37,884 while the base Avalon starts at $32,595. The new Toyota Avalon remains to be competitive where a comparably equipped Buick Lucerne or Ford Taurus would have a sticker around $38K. The 2011 Toyota Avalon is for anyone at any age looking for a full-sized, contemporary but not bland, luxury sedan that does not break the bank.

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Copyright: 2011 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base $32,595 As-Tested $37,884
  • Wheelbase: 111 inches
  • Total length: 197.6 inches
  • Total width: 72.8 inches
  • Total height: 58.5 inches
  • Track: f/r-62.2/61.6 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-38.9/37.5 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-41.3/40.9 inches
  • EPA passenger volume: 106.9 cu.ft.
  • Cargo volume: 14.4 cu.ft.
  • Turning circle: 36.9 ft.
  • Fuel tank: 18.5 gallons
  • Curb weight: 3,616 lbs.
  • 0-60mph: 6.2 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 20mpg/city, 29mpg/highway


2011 Toyota Avalon Limited Review & Test Drive 18
Jan
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, featured, Test Drives, TOYOTA, Toyota Avalon on 01 18th, 2011

Toyota introduces a newly designed Avalon Limited sedan that teams its 268hp V6 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission for higher fuel economy, while evoking a time when travel was sophisticated, elegant and comfortable.  This new 2011 Avalon, the Toyota ‘flagship’ large sedan, combines a distinctive new exterior design and a restyled interior rich with premium touch points and practical new technologies making it an excellent choice for the smart consumer.

The 2011 Avalon is available in two grades, Avalon and Avalon Limited.  Both come well equipped with standard leather-trimmed seats and interior, eight-way power driver’s seat, back-up camera, dual zone automatic climate control with air filtration, electric moonroof, and 17X7in. alloy wheels wrapped with 215/55R17in. all-season Bridgestone radial tires.  The Avalon Limited, that I tested, adds cooled/heated front bucket seats, an eight-way power passenger seat with lumbar support, driver’s seat cushion extension, rain-sensing, variable-speed intermittent wipers/washers, and Push Button Start/Stop with Smart Key that automatically turns on the interior lights, and unlocks the front doors with your keyfob in your pocket or purse.  The Avalon grade can be optioned with a JBL Synthesis sound system and heated front seats.  The Toyota touch-screen color navigation system is optional for both grades.

The all-new Avalon was designed at the Toyota Calty Design Research Center in Newport Beach, California, projecting a new elegant and outgoing presence.  A wider, more substantial grille ties into the standard projector headlamps, HID lamps come standard on the Limited, and ‘light pipes’ are used to create a signature night-time appearance.  The front foglamps, now integrated into a trapezoidal front bumper are trimmed with chrome and provide a wider illumination.

From the side the 2011 Avalon features steeply raked A-pillars, flared fender wells, and is further enhanced by the additional use of a full-perimeter chrome strip surrounding the greenhouse, chrome pull-out door handles, and a full-length chrome strip just below the door sill.  The rocker panels and the glare-resistant power-remote/heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, are also redesigned.  The Limited adds new 17in. wheels with a ten-spoke design with a mirror finish. The flat trunk features a subtle lip spoiler at the end increasing downforce.

At the rear dual exhaust tailpipes are integrated into the cutaway trapezoid shape of the lower bumper for a modern image.  Reshaped taillights reduce turbulence at the rear helping to further reduce the car’s coefficient of drag.  The new taillights integrate stop, turn and side marker lighting functions in one combined lamp.  LED light pipes with dark aluminized sides and both clear and red lenses project the Avalon’s more modern appearance.  From any angle the all-new design gives the car a sleeker, flatter and wider style, even more elegant with additional chrome highlights.

The all-new 2011 Avalon also shows off a new contemporary style inside as well.  The new interior remains generously spacious and elegant, fitted with comfortable seating for up to five, with thoughtful integrated amenities.  Coordinated colors and rich new wood grain style and soft-touch materials convey the rich elegance of a large luxury sedan and shows Toyota’s ability to execute an excellent application of fit and finish.

A new instrument cluster incorporates visually attractive and easily readable vacuum fluorescent Optitron gauges that use graduated white illumination with white pointer needles.  These are set inside smoked lenses and deep chrome rings that add depth and a sense of luxury.  The metallic toned center stack holds all of the climate and audio controls neatly arranged in order using large, high-quality buttons and dials to set the dual-zone automatic climate control and premium JBL audio system.  The Avalon Limited’s elegant, manual tilt/telescoping, wood/leather wrapped steering wheel feels great in your hands and provides fingertip controls for Bluetooth hands-free phones, the audio system, climate control system and the vehicle information center.  Standard leather-trimmed front seats and seatbacks on the Avalon Limited are fitted with ventilation systems and an enlarged perforation area to help keep them cool.  Thicker stitching on the seats provides a stylish accent to the interior design.  For safety, active front headrests are also standard.  All controls, switches and levers are within easy reach for ease of use and fully illuminated for safe nighttime driving.

The rear seating area is configured to seat three passengers comfortably, with ample legroom, a flat floor, and reclining rear seats that are unique in the segment.  The rear headrests have also been reshaped and enlarged for better support, and a convenient flip-down center armrest provides storage and dual-cupholders when the middle seat is not in use.  A power rear sunshade, activated by a one-touch lever, filters direct sunlight coming through the rear window.  The sunshade, which helps to protect rear seat passengers from unwanted light and heat, automatically retracts when the driver selects reverse gear.  Also found in the rear seating area are map pockets behind each front seatback, air-vents located behind the center console.

Beyond the luxury of its spaciousness and obvious amenities, numerous details throughout the Avalon enhance the driving experience and passenger comfort.  You’ll notice that the dual-zone climate control system has nine airflow modes for more precise control of the interior environment, and a clean-air filter removes dust and pollen.  The vehicle doors use three stop positions instead of two for easier entry and exit; a lockable glove box has a pneumatic-door damper and inner box illumination.

The front console box features a sliding armrest that moves 4.7 inches front to rear to accommodate a wide range of driver positions; the elegantly stitched top is padded with a double density cushion material for softness.  Inside the console box, there is a 12-volt outlet in addition to the USB and auxiliary audio terminals.  Dual cupholders under a flip-up top provides even more storage, as does the storage area just below the front console storage box.  The Avalon even comes with a full-size spare tire on an alloy wheel, a rarity in any segment.

The 2011 Avalon presents the driver and passengers with a comprehensive array of user technology for enhanced function and connectivity.  New standard equipment includes Bluetooth hands-free phone and music streaming to the audio system from a compatible device, XM satellite radio, and both USB and 1/8 inch auxiliary connections for iPod and other audio devices.  Each of the three available audio systems can control iPods seamlessly using switches located on the steering wheel and display track information.

Toyota’s latest DVD navigation system has a newly adopted database and now has easier search and address input functionality.  The navigation system also offers new displays for road icons and points of interest, and keyboard screen arranged in the same way as a personal computer.  The Avalon grade’s standard nine-speaker system offers excellent sound quality, while the Limited grade features a standard 12-speaker, 660-watt JBL premium Synthesis audio system with enhanced two-coil sub-woofer.  The JBL system uses a 12-channel digital amplifier to deliver exceptional rich, full sound to all seats.

A re-view monitor function is standard in the rear-view mirror or with the available navigation system.  The rear-view mirror image includes on-screen back-up guides that help you to back into parking spaces or driveways.

More standard equipment in the Avalon Limited, not mentioned above, includes dual map lights, dual, lighted vanity mirrors, memory settings for the driver’s seat and side mirrors for two drivers, cruise-control, grab handles above each door, storage slots in each door, aluminum scuff plates at each door bottom, flip-down sunglass holder in the overhead console, all one-touch up/down windows, power door locks, gated, chrome/leather/wood stick shifter, thick cut-pile carpeting with front/rear floor mats, remote releases for the fuel filler door and trunk that also includes a light in the trunk with full carpeting.

I was totally impressed with the design of interior space, its standard comfort, luxury and amenities that brings that brings the new Avalon close to a full-blown luxury sedan, but how does it match up in power, performance and ease of driving?

Very well because under the hood is a 3.5 liter, DOHC, all-aluminum, 24-valve, V6 with VVT-i electronic valve control that ensures a broad powerband, while requiring less fuel and generating fewer emissions.  This potent engine generates 268hp at 6,200rpm and 248lb.ft. of torque at 4,800rpm.  That’s plenty of power to easily merge into fast-moving freeways, and quickly maneuver around slower traffic on crowded city streets.

For 2011, with the addition of a new, smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shifting mode, the Avalon’s EPA ratings improve to 20mpg/city and 29mpg/highway, which is outstanding for the class and is better than some midsize six-cylinder models.  The 2011 certified as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV).

Handling this large sedan around city traffic, at speed on the freeways or when cornering is a easy with the fully independent MacPherson strut coil spring suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars that delivers a sophisticated blend of smooth ride quality and precise driving control in all situations.  The power-assisted rack & pinion steering combines with the front-wheel drive setup and optimized steering gear for an easy, natural handling feel.  It gives you quick response to your steering inputs with a great feel for the road.  You get an excellent smooth ride on poorly paved roads and the standard traction control and stability control systems keep you in control when driving over slick road surfaces or when cornering at high speeds.

Quickly and safely slowing the new Avalon down from speed are large, power-assisted steel disc brakes.  Up front are 11.7in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 11.1in. solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers.  Standard ABS, EBD and BA help you stop quicker with more control.

Standard safety features include driver and front passenger airbags, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, driver’s knee airbag, side-impact door beams, front/rear crumple zones, direct tire pressure monitor, daytime running lights, 3-point safety belts for all seating positions with front seat load limiters/pretensioners, anti-theft system with engine immobilizer, and child seat anchors.

After one week behind the wheel of the all-new 2011 Toyota Avalon Limited I would have to say that I was impressed and that it achieves more than near-luxury in all areas that smart consumers are looking for when shopping for a full-size luxury sedan.  It does blur the line between near and full luxury in today’s modern sedans.

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COPYRIGHT:2011:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base $32,959 As-Tested $37,884
  • Wheelbase: 111 inches
  • Total length: 197.6 inches
  • Total width: 27.8 inches
  • Total height: 58.5 inches
  • Track: f/r-62.2/61.6 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-38.9/37.5 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-41.3/40.9 inches
  • EPA passenger volume: 106.9 cu.ft.
  • Cargo volume: 14.4 cu.ft.
  • Turning circle: 36.9 ft.
  • Fuel tank: 18.5 gallons
  • Curb weight: 3,616 lbs.
  • EPA mileage: 20mpg/city, 29mpg/highway






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