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Toyota introduces a sleeker, more fuel-efficient 2013 Avalon

Toyota's 2013 Avalon

It was time for a new Avlaon. The last one first debuted in 2005, which in automotive industry time is nearly an eternity. Standing as Toyota’s flagship and largest sedan, the last Avalon was anything but aggressive and sporty. Eager to change that, Toyota outsourced the interior and exterior design of the 2013 Avalon to the Calty Design Research firm.

Calty came back with — we can all agree — a very striking Toyota sedan. Looking something like a Buick crossed with a Volvo with an inverted 2013 Ford Fusion front end, Calty was successful in separating the incoming model from the outgoing in a good way. It’s not just better looking; it’s more aerodynamic, too. With a drag co-efficient of 0.28, it’s very slippery for a big sedan.

The body isn’t just different looking, it’s been tightened up in more ways than one. The 2013 is 0.98 inches shorter. Various gaps and overhangs have been reduced and the tire tread has been widened. The front the 2013 Avalon features an industry-first Quadrabeam headlight cluster. Available in both Halogen and High Intensity Discharge (HID), the headlights are small but put out a great deal of light.

Under the hood, Toyota has given the Avalon two new powertrain options. The first: a 3.5-liter V6 producing 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a conventional six-speed automatic transmission, the Avalon is will accelerate from 0 to 60 in less than seven seconds. The V6 Avalon is estimated to achieve 21 MPG in the city and 31 MPG

More interesting, however, is the Avalon Hybrid; a first for the Avalon line. Powered by the same 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine found in the Camry Hybrid. The Avalon Hybrid gas engine employs the Atkinson cycle, which delays the closure of intake valves in order to reduce unnecessary energy loss. Producing 156 horsepower, the gas engine is attached to a hybrid application transaxle that splits power between the engine and the two electric motor/generators housed within the transaxle. Altogether, the gas engine and the motor/generators produce 200 net horsepower. While those power figures might seem low for a 3,585-pound four-door sedan, the Avalon Hybrid is capable of a 0 to 60 time of eight seconds. Most impressive, though, are its fuel economy figures. Estimates put the Avalon Hybrid at 40 MPG city and 39 MPG on the highway.

On the interior, Toyota, together with Calty, created a much more spacious, luxurious, and modern cabin. The dash is covered in a supple, material accented with hand-stitching. The passenger side of the dash has been made concave to give passengers the feeling of increased space. New, too, is an Optitron-type combination meter instrument cluster. Premium models feature navigation, Bluetooth cellphone connectivity, and an available 11-speaker JLB audio system.

Pricing for the 2013 Avalon starts at $30,990 and ranges all the way up to $41,400.