2013 Toyota Avalon XLE (USA)

 photo Picture105_zpse560e27f.jpg  photo Picture061_zps4e3eb66d.jpg  photo Picture098_zps470f6a1d.jpg  photo Picture113_zpsd0c9cd2c.jpg  photo Picture104_zpsf4f60a3a.jpg  photo Picture097_zps3214fb4f.jpg
  photo Picture116_zpsd29abed2.jpg  photo Picture118_zps58821b02.jpg  photo Picture115_zps505a42c1.jpg  photo Picture114_zpsc9ca8f19.jpg  photo Picture054_zps08b09444.jpg
   photo Picture112_zpsad4d1dc8.jpg  photo Picture111_zps31064f6f.jpg  photo Picture016_zps875c4f73.jpg  photo Picture110_zps0a53688e.jpg  photo Picture109_zpsb9753953.jpg  photo Picture108_zps5a05693f.jpg  photo Picture106_zps404ea5fc.jpg  photo Picture103_zps9aac3895.jpg  photo Picture102_zps0b22df56.jpg  photo Picture099_zpse33ea0b2.jpg
   photo Picture096_zps0f23592e.jpg  photo Picture094_zps4b4ea4c9.jpg  photo Picture093_zpse5e6c737.jpg  photo Picture092_zps20009815.jpg  photo Picture091_zps02e3cbaa.jpg  photo Picture090_zps57bbe8ff.jpg  photo Picture089_zps2dfa91b1.jpg   photo Picture087_zpsa2aa2ba3.jpg  photo Picture086_zps6e7d91c9.jpg  photo Picture084_zps028c3ac2.jpg 
 photo Picture095_zps1515c7a1.jpg  photo Picture088_zps37f53e2a.jpg  photo Picture085_zpseae1f567.jpg  photo Picture078_zps6c7fc900.jpg  photo Picture082_zps54d1c51c.jpg  photo Picture077_zpsd07e7fdf.jpg  photo Picture076_zps8b2695e0.jpg
 photo Picture101_zpsf749e9e0.jpg  photo Picture100_zps9802c794.jpg  photo Picture074_zpsda813831.jpg  photo Picture043_zps779efb39.jpg  photo Picture072_zpsac747070.jpg  photo Picture071_zpse409a5f5.jpg  photo Picture065_zps231f69e5.jpg   photo Picture063_zpsb0444c21.jpg  photo Picture048_zpsad344dbb.jpg  photo Picture047_zpsb5f1b4ac.jpg
 photo Picture041_zps1c0ecc4e.jpg  photo Picture035_zpsb5b3d921.jpg  photo Picture034_zps51a83249.jpg  photo Picture012_zps2ecdb6b1.jpg  photo Picture032_zpsd09e5ba4.jpg  photo Picture031_zpsb0432dda.jpg  photo Picture019_zpsd37506e4.jpg
   photo Picture025_zpsacd5e256.jpg  photo Picture024_zps5c04d4b9.jpg  photo Picture023_zps7011fb7b.jpg  photo Picture001_zps50b4e7e0.jpg  photo Picture022_zps5edc2507.jpg  photo Picture021_zps199a1670.jpg  photo Picture020_zpsb1cce2f2.jpg  photo Picture018_zpsb4784f0e.jpg  photo Picture017_zps3f0fba39.jpg  photo Picture015_zps09ed901c.jpg  photo Picture013_zpsbe91fcc4.jpg   
In Europe, the largest Toyota saloon available these days is the D segment Avensis, but anyone familiar with the global car market should be well aware that  the full Toyota range has several saloon models that are larger. The huge selling Camry is doubtless the best known of these, but in America it has a bigger stablemate, the Avalon. Although this model is sold in some Middle Eastern markets as well, fundamentally this is an American made Toyota, designed for the American market. Based on an extended Camry platform, the first Avalons appeared in early 1994, as 1995 models, to take the place of the old Cressida model. With a bench front seat and column gear change, these V6 engined front wheel drive machines were roomy, well built cars which quickly gained a reputation for being utterly dependable and utterly dull transport. New generation models appeared in 2000 and 2006, each larger than the last, and as time passed, so the reputation of the car intensified: the sort of vehicle bought more often than not by the superannuated who might previously have bought a Buick leSabre or a Mercury Grand Marquis. Sales of the third generation were far weaker, down by approximately 50 % from those of the second generation model, but have remained steady, but never spectacular, achieving close to 30,000 cars in the US in 2012, or approximately 8% of the number of Camry that were bought. Even though the third generation model had slightly less restrained styling than the second, it was clear that this was not a car that was ever going to excite anyone other perhaps than a Toyota salesman. When rumours of a fourth generation model, planned for launch at the 2012 New York Show started to circulate, we were promised a radical overhaul, with completely different and supposedly “beautiful” styling, which they also said would be more “dynamic” and “appealing”. The 2013 cars finally went on sale at the very end of 2012, and it would appear that Hertz in Los Angeles took delivery of a batch of cars in the middle of March. Thanks to a shortage of cars in the class I had booked, I managed to get a test of one of these models without having to pay anything like the daily rental rate for which they usually get sold. The Hertz staff told me that customer feedback on them has been very positive in the two weeks they have been on fleet. So, did I agree?

 photo Picture033_zpsf6589200.jpg  photo Picture029_zpsfbb415d4.jpg  photo Picture028_zps31939cd2.jpg  photo Picture027_zps5a2bdc11.jpg  photo Picture026_zps90e94984.jpg

Let’s start with the styling. For sure, this XX40 model does look very different from its predecessors, largely thanks to the steeply sloping rear window and relatively short tail. It is slightly shorter and narrower, as well as an average of 120 pounds lighter than the XX30 model. Look a little harder, though, and you can spot virtually all the current Toyota design cues that have been seen in their other recent models. The much narrower projector like headlights feature on the latest RAV4 and the Auris, for instance, and the grille could be only be current Toyota, too. Even the rear lights show the same sort of thinking that has given us the Camry and RAV4. Does the design work? To my eyes, it is better than other recent Toyotas, but it is not exactly “beautiful” and I don’t think anyone would give it prizes in styling competitions. I recall talking to stand staff at the 2012 Los Angeles Show, when getting my first in-the-metal eyeball of the Avalon, and they said that there had been a lot of discussion about how not alienate the traditional Avalon buyer who remains important, and yet to try to extend the appeal, and that the feedback that they had both from existing owners and those who were still prospects was largely positive.

 photo Picture068_zpsfc428bc1.jpg  photo Picture060_zps929fe139.jpg  photo Picture064_zps4664b01d.jpg  photo Picture056_zpsfe0dc6ea.jpg  photo Picture059_zps850f9931.jpg  photo Picture058_zps3aa5089d.jpg  photo Picture042_zps575ef9c0.jpg
 photo Picture083_zps3dd9ae45.jpg  photo Picture081_zps78efcff0.jpg  photo Picture080_zps886e6bdb.jpg  photo Picture079_zps12e31caa.jpg  photo Picture014_zps06b6b6ab.jpg

Open the door and you can see that Toyota have tried hard with the interior, too. Gone is the sea of unremarkable plastic that used to characterise every Toyota interior, replaced by a dashboard and door casings that are predominantly leather faced, with some neat and discrete stitching to hold the pieces together over some complex surfaces. There are fillets of very dark wood which do not look too bad, and there are some very dark gloss grey plastics surrounding some of the centre of the dash elements. Chrome accenting is used relatively sparingly. Fit and finish is to a high standard, but where it all goes a bit awry is the overall design. There are some complex angles, with the central part of the dash jutting out more in the style you would expect in a minivan, and the area in front of the passenger, rather than being flush also has some convex curves on it. Keyless starting is featured, so as long as the key is in range all you do is press the button to the right of the wheel, with your foot on the footbrake. If you press it without the corresponding touch of the brake pedal, that will activate the accessory setting, One feature I had not seen before, which applies both to the audio unit and the climate control system is that rather than have explicit buttons to press, there are touch sensitive pads immediately above an array of illuminated sunken detent labels for each corresponding function or setting, and you just touch the specific area to select say a different direction of air flow or a new radio channel. The feature seemed to work well, though I have read that people have found that it is too easy to select something that you did not intend and there is no easy way of cancelling your selection. It is an interesting idea, though heaven help you if it ever goes wrong, as I suspect rectification is difficult and costly. The audio unit had a touch sensitive screen, though I was a little surprised to find that it lacked XM Satellite radio capability. The main dials are more conventional, though these are electronic, so only illuminated when the ignition is powered on. The fuel level and water temperature gauges are set in the base of the rev counter and speedometer and whilst the needle pointers are easy to read they are on a blue background of segments which blend into the true background making the gauge surprisingly hard to read accurately at a glance. The larger dials have white markings and present no such problems. There is a further problem and that is that in bright sunlight, I found that the chrome bezels to the dials could pick up bright reflections which were very unwelcome. Column stalks operate the wipers, indicators and lights. There are repeater buttons for the audio unit and telephone, as well as the on board computer displays on the steering wheel boss. A separate stubby stalk on the right of the column operates the cruise control. The overall effect is not overly complex, thankfully, even though there are quite a lot of functions and features available.

 photo Picture005_zpsdc40aac5.jpg  photo Picture004_zpse2de42b5.jpg  photo Picture010_zps3a499ae7.jpg  photo Picture008_zps616e143d.jpg  photo Picture011_zps5c02e644.jpg

I was aware that the refresh to the Avalon had concentrated more on the visual elements of the design, and less on the mechanical ones, so my expectations were that this car would doubtless still drive very much like any other Toyota. And in summary, it does. Biggest failing is the steering, which is far too light and vague, having very little feel at all. Doubtless this is exactly what the stereotypical Avalon buyer wants, but it did its best to ruin the car for me. That is a shame, as the other ingredients are markedly better. Propulsion comes from a 3.5 litre V6 engine which puts out 268 bhp, which means that despite the bulk of the Avalon, it is surprisingly nimble, offering rapid acceleration almost from any speed to any other. It is helped by a very smooth six speed automatic transmission, which changed gears almost imperceptibly. The trip computer showed an average of 24.9 mpg, but this was not zero-ed out from when I had taken custody of the car, and the instant numbers, and indeed the rate at which the fuel needle did not drop suggested I was achieving much better than this, and sure enough when I put in just 8.17 gallons having driven 260 miles, most of the at a steady freeway cruise, that computes to 31. 8 mpg US or 38 mpg Imperial a very impressive figure indeed. I suspect that the 24.9 mpg is more typical of what you would see if you subjected the Avalon to much in the way of urban crawling, though. On the freeway, it proved a comfortable cruiser, with almost no sound at all from the engine, and just a little road noise to compete against the sound coming from the radio. There is a moderate amount of body roll on corners, but it is quite well controlled, and the handling did not feel as mushy as I believe used to be the case in previous generations of the model. The still relatively soft suspension means that the Toyota rides quite well, and it seemed less troubles by the ridges and pot holes than more stiffly sprung test cars earlier in this trip had proved. I had no complaints about the brakes which worked well, with progressive stopping and only moderate pressure on the pedal required. A foot operated parking brake is fitted. Visibility is generally good, though judging the back of the car is difficult, as the angle of the rear screen does not help much, though using the door mirrors and remembering that the tail is quite short meant that getting out of tight car parking spaces was not that difficult.

 photo Picture009_zpsedd951d0.jpg  photo Picture046_zps0fb800fe.jpg  photo Picture051_zps515ea60a.jpg  photo Picture045_zps39091bff.jpg  photo Picture044_zps45ea3110.jpg

Gone are the days of the Avalon with front bench seat and the column change so you are not going to seat six adults in this generation of the car, but even so it is roomy vehicle. Front seat passengers will enjoy the large, comfortable leather seats, adjustable with electric motors in 8 directions, and for those colder mornings, no doubt will welcome the electric seat heaters operated by a pair of knobs on the centre console. Those who sit in the back won’t have much to complain about either, as there is plenty of space. Despite the sloping rear roof line, there is ample headroom, and leg room is particularly impressive, even with the front seat set well back, and the rather soft seats seemed comfortable from my brief test sitting on them for a few minutes. The Avalon is still quite a wide car, so three adults should fit easily across the rear seat. Rear occupants benefit from their own air vents, and there are cup holders on the upper surface of the drop down armrest. That swooping rear styling and short tail do mean that the opening for the boot is not particularly large, but in the petrol models, the capacity most certainly is. This is a commodious boot which stretches back a long way. The rear seats do not fold, but there is a ski flap through the rear armrest aperture. Inside the cabin., there is a moderate glovebox with two shelves in it, door pockets on all doors, a deep cubby under the central armrest and quite a deep further cubby in front of the gearlever with a nicely damped sliding cover.

 photo Picture006_zpsb6d76a2e.jpg  photo Picture007_zps76d548cb.jpg  photo Picture003_zps4ee2381a.jpg  photo Picture002_zpsa3cf52a3.jpg  photo Picture053_zps88d0cba9.jpg

The test car was in XLE spec, which is the bottom of the range.  Above this come  XLE Premium, XLE Touring, and Limited guises. XLE models come equipped with keyless entry/engine start, leather upholstery, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 17″ wheels, LED tail lights, and a touchscreen radio. XLE Premium adds keyless entry on the boot, rearview camera, and power sunroof. The XLE Touring includes 18″ wheels, a drive-mode button with Sport and Eco modes, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, a memory system for the driver seat and mirrors, and a touchscreen audio system. The Limited adds blind-spot alert, rear-cross-traffic alert, xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, rain-sensing wipers, heated and ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats, and it also sports a rather flash chrome surround to the lower air intake at the front, which does not improve the appearance, in my opinion. Starting price for an XLE is just a few dollars under $31,000, rising to very close to $40,000. As well as the V6 models, this generation of Avalon is available as a Hybrid, which brings a 2.5 litre petrol engine combined with the hybrid system.

 photo Picture070_zps17664e49.jpg  photo Picture069_zps107caeca.jpg  photo Picture075_zps892a8e45.jpg  photo Picture067_zps40f95a07.jpg  photo Picture066_zpse919c284.jpg  photo Picture055_zpsb53a04b3.jpg  photo Picture073_zpsf68f7bb4.jpg  photo Picture040_zps1944526e.jpg  photo Picture039_zps4afe01f6.jpg photo Picture107_zps1bf775a3.jpg

So, what did I make of the Avalon? I think its fair to say that it is a mixed bag. If you want a comfortable and roomy car in which to drive several hundred miles in a day, it will meet your requirements to a T. To be honest the old model – which I never actually got to drive – would probably have done that, too. Have the revisions made it any more appealing to the younger demographic whom Toyota was targetting? I guess only time and the sales figures will answer that one. The styling is certainly less dull, and this is probably one of the better looking Toyotas of the moment, but the vague steering does little to endear it, and once the novelty of those touch pads for the audio system wears off, I am not sure that anyone will see them as better than a gimmick. Indeed the traditional Avalon buyer could be quite alienated by the feature.  In summary, this is a perfectly acceptable large car, that offers good value for money, and is likely to remain reliable for years. Or you could look at it another way. This car actually shares much with the Lexus ES300, and yet costs around $6 – 7,000 less. In exchange for an arguably less prestigious badge, but slightly more adventurous styling, you are getting almost all of the Lexus experience, but for a value price. On that basis, you could say that has quite a lot of appeal. To Americans. Would it sell in Europe? Well, given the conspicuous lack of success that Lexus has achieved over the past few years, you’d have to say that it wouldn’t stand a chance. Hence, why Toyota’s largest European model is an Avensis.

 photo Picture063_zpsb0444c21.jpg  photo Picture062_zps109eb512.jpg  photo Picture057_zps1b8c13e4.jpg  photo Picture052_zps08b96e90.jpg  photo Picture050_zpsc7789fda.jpg  photo Picture049_zps1351f962.jpg  photo Picture038_zps1077710e.jpg photo Picture030_zps02cf3334.jpg  photo Picture037_zps9a6636d4.jpg  photo Picture036_zps69b87ba1.jpg

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS


Home Forums 2013 Toyota Avalon XLE (USA)

This topic contains 0 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Colin 4 years, 4 months ago.

Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #6253

    Colin
    Member

                     In Europe, the largest Toyota saloon available these days is the D segment Avensis, but anyone familiar with the global car market sh
    [See the full post at: 2013 Toyota Avalon XLE (USA)]

Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Pinterest