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2013 Toyota Avalon - Review

Bengt Halvorson, thecarconnection.com Modified: November 16, 2012 at 11:50 am •  Published: November 16, 2012
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Nothing in the new Avalon says farewell to the status quo more than the thoroughly modern instrument-panel layout, and its flush, capacitive (touch-based) dash switches—a feature that cleans up the look, and does away with physical buttons. They sit on a plane closer to the driver, above a layer that's trimmed with wood grain and an attractive striated surface, all framed in metallic trim. It's unique—not Camry knockoff like some previous Avalon interiors. Up close, cabin materials are superb, and also a full league above those in the Camry. The dash and upper door trim are covered in soft-touch material, and the grains actually match throughout the area in the driver's sight.

The Avalon offers a strong list of safety features, including separate rear side-thorax airbags and front knee bags. And at the top of the lineup there's the Rear Cross Traffic Alert system, which uses sensors in the rear quarter panels to help detect vehicles as they approach from the side and behind the vehicle—especially helpful if you're backing out of a driveway with an obstructed view. Additionally, all but the base Avalon XLE come with a backup camera system.

Parsing out the Avalon's pricing and feature set is a little more challenging than in past years. That's because the 2013 Toyota Avalon covers a wider price span, now coming in XLE, XLE Premium, XLE Touring, and XLE Limited trims—with Hybrid models for all but the base XLE. If you want us to distill the line of trims and models down to a single point, it would be this: You're essentially getting a Lexus-caliber feature set—and for the most part, Lexus ambiance—at a price that's at least a few grand less than the Avalon's Lexus ES cousin would be with some comparable features. Much of the lineup gets Entune, capable of running apps (Pandora, for instance) from your smartphone, using your data connection. Top Limited models cost around $40k but are luxury vehicles by the equipment list, with a Blind Spot monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, perforated leather upholstery, heated-and-ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, three-zone automatic climate control, a rear sunshade, 785-watt JBL Audio, HID headlamps, and LED daytime running lamps. Add the Tech Package, with Adaptive Cruise Control, a Pre-Collision System, and Automatic High Beams.