Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

March 26, 2013

Biggest Toyota sedan gets major changes

It's odd that Toyota uses words like "exciting," "dynamic," "emotional" and "potent" to describe its all-new 2013 Avalon.

Why is that weird? Because the Avalon has become a huge hit by doing just the opposite of those things.

The Avalon was originally designed as an alternative to the classic, all-American full-size sedans like the Ford Crown Victoria, Buick Park Avenue and Pontiac Bonneville — those spacious, softly sprung cars that made up the meat and potatoes of the American car market for decades.

Toyota did such a good job designing the Avalon — and, in fairness, the American car makers did such a lousy job updating their own large sedans — that today, the Avalon basically stands on its own in this class. The others have all died off.

The Avalon also faces the headwind of a changing marketplace. Today's buyers who want a spacious family car are more likely to look at crossovers than full-size sedans, so the newest Avalon had to add some spice to keep things interesting. One of the biggest departures is with the body.

While the last Avalon had styling that was so dull it was hardly even noticeable, the new one has more visual appeal. It's almost muscular, chiseled and athletic, the kind of flowing, sloped shape you would expect to find on a sports sedan but not something this large.

Inside, it gets even better. For a frame of reference, Toyota hasn't led the fit-and-finish races for car cabins lately. The American and Korean brands have upped their game enough to outshine some of Toyota's models in the past couple of years, and the Avalon — while feeling solid — had an interior that was just as bland as the rest of the car.

In the new, "dynamic" Avalon, though, things have changed in a big way. This cabin is now the best work Toyota's interior designers have ever done.

Not only is the new generation car more interesting on the inside than last year's model — with fascinating textures and shapes — but it's also reaching the kind of quality feel that Toyota pulled off so successfully years ago.

The new interior design looks more three-dimensional rather than flat, with a separate panel centered around the driver and soft-touch materials that are stitched by hand.  The Avalon has always been a premium car, as opposed to luxury, but this design comes awfully close to what you would expect in a Lexus.

From the driver's perspective, the Avalon formula hasn't changed all that much. It's still very much about the quiet, smooth experience.

The biggest difference is in fuel economy. For the first time ever, the Avalon is available as a hybrid model that is rated for 40 mpg in combined city and highway driving — an impressive number for a car this size. The ordinary Avalon is more efficient, too, earning a 31-mpg highway rating

Derek Price is a automotive columnist for CNHI News Service. Contact him at carcolumn@gmail.com.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.12.33 PM.png Gunshots narrowly miss TV reporter

    A reporter for a West Virginia television station narrowly escaped injury or worse Monday while covering a fatal weekend shooting in Beckley.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 25 hidden secrets in "Weird Al's" "Word Crimes" video

    Yankovic's 14th album was released this week, and it warms my heart containers that he's kept up his geeky brand of humor for so long. While he has written so many incredible songs, none have spoken to my love of proper grammar.
    Until "Word Crimes."

    July 16, 2014

  • State lawmakers tweak gun regulations

    Obtaining a concealed carry weapons license within the Commonwealth of Kentucky is not a simple task.

    July 16, 2014

  • When your doctor commits suicide, things get complicated

    When they call for appointments, patients are told they can't see their doctor. Ever. The standard line: "We are sorry, but your doctor died suddenly."

    July 15, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks