2013 Toyota Avalon Review and Road Test

2013 Toyota Avalon now this is the closed sister ship to the Lexus ES 350 and es 308 because the Lexus ES is no longer a camry based vehicle instead it’s an Avalon based vehicle [Music] up front we have a more chiseled nose than the last generation Avalon we have all-new LED light pipes and an all-new headlamp arrangement as well really very little of this vehicle other than the
drivetrain is shared with the last

generation Avalon and the one part of the drivetrain that isn’t shared is that all new Avalon hybrid the designers were obviously following that latest trend in 4-door sedans which is design them to look sort of like four-door coupes although at least Toyota doesn’t call the Avalon such we have a fairly sloping rear windshield and we have a fairly short trunk lid as a result I think that the overall rear end styling of the Avalon is more pleasing to my eye then the current lexus ES although I do kind of like the Lexus spindle grille the Avalon is definitely a little bit more demure a little bit less look at me since our Avalon is the limited edition

we have dual exhausts well integrated

into the rear bumper under the hood you’ll find the same two engine options as that Lexus ES things start out with this 3.5 liter 268 horsepower v6 mated to a 6-speed front-wheel drive automatic transaxle that’s borrowed from the Toyota Camry as well as the tota Camry hybrids 200 system horsepower Hybrid Synergy Drive system which uses a 2.5 liter atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine and of course Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive transaxle the interior of the Avalon has been completely redesigned for 2013 and it’s largely why a number of reviewers have been saying they prefer this Toyota Avalon to the Lexus ES I’m definitely one of those reviewers and here’s why because in the Lexus ES the entire dashboard is injection molded and then stitched so you heard me right there they just injection mold the entire dashboard the injection mold fake seems like you see in this tiny bit of the Avalon dashboard right here the injection molded putting fake seams in it and then they run over it with a hand

sewing machine so they are definitely
hand stitching it in a way in the Lexus ES but it’s a bit of false advertising if you ask me because the dashboard isn’t multiple pieces of anything being stitched together it’s one piece of something that has then had stitches put in it by a sewing machine guided by hand on the flip side we have this Toyota Avalon and these days portions of the Avalon interior on the door is on the dashboard all the way across here as you can see these are multiple pieces of actual pleather fabric and they are actually stitched by a sewing machine to hold them together it’s really obvious when you look at them side by side and that’s available here in the Avalon because this bit is of course stitched like that multiple piece of stitched together and then right up here on this instrument cover we have the injection molded bit with stitching right on top of the injection molding the Avalon designers definitely took more styling risks on this cabin than the Lexus designers did with the Lexus ES that’s something that I appreciate as well over here we have

this somewhat interesting looking side

window defogger vent it’s definitely an architectural feature of the dashboard it’s very large it’s very bold they have a lot of chrome going on in the dashboard we have large expanses of fake wood although the fake wood does look pretty good we have a very nice steering wheel essentially shared with the Lexus ES as the rim is very similarly designed although the button modules and the airbag modules are different the stitched pleather work continues all the way across the passenger side airbag and then all the way across the door as you can see now as is all the latest rage in cars these days we have touch buttons for our climate as well as our infotainment system because the system uses touch buttons you won’t find a Lexus remote touch controller down here in the dash like you will find in the Lexus ES instead you’ll find more
conveniently located cupholders as you

can see here rather than having one up
here and one over there as you would in the Lexus ES right here you’ll see our heated and cooled seat controls and under here you can see we have two power ports and the USB and auxiliary input for the radio if you opt for the optional add-on package you can get a wireless charging mat right here in the center console although there aren’t too many devices that support it getting in and out of the Avalon is pretty easy and that’s because although the Avalon has this coupe-like profile they have cut fairly large door openings step over height isn’t too bad in the Avalon either this rear seat is a little bit close to the floor for adults and a little bit close to the floor for my personal taste as you can see a little bit of room there between my thighs and the seat bottom cushion all the seat back angle is fairly good and I do have a decent amount of headroom back here our particular model is equipped with the sunroof and that does restrict Headroom just a teeny little bit here in the back but because the Avalon is so long that that reduction in Headroom doesn’t
really start till right about here if

you can see that
the video so for most people it’s not going to cause too much of a problem in the back moving over to the middle seat which is relatively comfortable course not as comfortable these two outboard seats I still have a decent amount of headroom at 6 feet tall more than the average vehicle for sure and compared to the Chrysler 300 there’s almost no center hump here because of course this is a front-wheel drive vehicle that means that it’s an awful lot more comfortable to fit five people in the Toyota Avalon than the Chrysler 300 people in the rear of our limited model also get heated seats as well as a three zone climate control system we also get a center armrest with fake wood trim and two cupholders one option that toad had deleted for 2013 that made me a little sad are the reclining rear seat backs they were a manual in the old Avalon and they were optional but I really did like them unlike most cars the trim on the doors doesn’t get worse as you go rearward this is exactly the same setup as the front door we have a soft touch upper this stitched pleather middle and a stitched leather armrest large trunks

are getting a little bit hard to find in
America but the Avalon still delivers one this is the largest roller bag you can carry on a domestic flight so you can see you can fit quite a number of them in the trunk fairly easily it can also fit a journalist in the trunk with two or three of those bags you know in case you don’t like this review and you decide to just off me and throw me in here now under this hatch you will find a real honest-to-goodness spare tire not a full sized it’s still a doughnut but at least it’s better than a can of fix-a-flat in the center of our dashboard we have a 7-inch color touch screen LCD and that’s because we’re in an Avalon limited all other versions of the Avalon get the 6.1 inch which is one inch smaller Toyota display audio system with or without navigation if you’d like to know how that system operates then you can click over to our toteit Acoma video because the software that drives that system is completely different from this system if I’m honest I like that system just a bit more than I like this system the display is a little bit smaller but I think that some of its operations and modes are a little bit

more intuitive especially the menu

system in that display audio system now this 7 inch touchscreen that we have here has touch buttons on either side of the display and these are shortcut options for setup for your phone entering destination taking you back to that map over to our info and our apps screen because of course the system does have smartphone app integration that works with your Android phone or with your iPhone 5 like I have right here over here on the media tab we have access to our USB our iPod or Bluetooth audio and our auxilary input there’s also a CD option in this system and you can see this display flips over to close it you close like that that’s also how you would update the navigation software in the system is through that slot there over on the radio tab we have XM satellite radio and of course we have the usual AM and FM radio as well or here we’re ever track up and down buttons our volume and power button and our tune and scroll button over here the media navigation screen should look fairly familiar to you if you use any recent tota or Lexus products as all of their upper end navigation systems have the same interface we have full access to our playlists our artists or albums our songs etc through the screen and the
responsiveness of the system is pretty

good because all of all of that data is actually downloaded from your device and then cashed in this particular system but in addition to that interface there what’s new for this year is the voice command ability to use voice commands to navigate your music library a shortcut menu command say help at any time for additional instructions play music play music say a music command play artists pardon say a music command play artists play artists say the artist name Toby Keith Toby Keith is that correct as you can see you do have the option of touching buttons in that voice command interface and you would also noticed that in that that voice command interface the option for play song was not available and that’s because my itunes library has more than about 3,000 songs in it and this system is not capable of voice commanding specific tunes from your library if your library is that large although you do still have that option for album and artist commands below the infotainment screen we of course have the touch button climate control system it’s a dual zone climate control in our avalon limited touch buttons are becoming all the rage in the luxury and near luxury set and these buttons are fairly responsive and do work very well so you
can see the display dims their

highlighting the particular option that
you’re adjusting at the moment out on the road the Avalon drives like a large front wheel drive American sedan something that I’ve always had a soft spot for since I’ve owned two chrysler LH series cars in the past 268 horsepower under the hood of course with a 6-speed Automatic transmission that took our Avalon from 0 to 60 in just under six and a half seconds that’s pretty good for a vehicle of this size and it’s a little bit better than the Chrysler 300s with its 280 horsepower v6 and that 8-speed rear wheel drive transmission with moderately soft Springs a long wheelbase in a well tuned chassis the Avalon delivers a very composed very civilized ride it’s very different than the ride in the Chrysler 300s however the 300s is more dramatic more muscular feeling definitely has a bit more Road feel feels a little bit tighter a little bit more precise and of course has rear-wheel drive driving dynamics compared to the Lexus es350 the Avalon certainly holds its own it actually quarters better than the ES 350 and that’s thanks to both being lighter as well as having wider rubber in terms of overall comfort the ES 350 and the Avalon are very similar because they share very similar seating positions the seat itself is very similar actually the inner workings of the seeder are pretty much identical between the Avalon and the ES 350 meaning in terms of driver
fatigue and driver comfort they’re

pretty much the same when you put your pedal to the floor the Avalon does have that definite front-wheel-drive feel with a little bit of torques here but it is very well controlled in the Avalon as you would find in most modern Buicks with their advanced or strut suspension the Avalon runs between 2,500 and 4500 dollars or so cheaper than the Lexus es350 now for that price you get essentially the same vehicle you get the same drivetrain same engines of course you get the same seats in the vehicle the same amount of interior room you don’t get real wood trim you don’t get the dealer experience that Lexus has been known for and you don’t get the slightly longer warranties that Lexus is known for as well however you do get a nicer interior in my opinion you get a slightly easier to use navigation system and of course you get a cheaper car overall again I’m Alex dykes that’s been our quick take at the 2013 Toyota Avalon if you’ll take my advice you’ll just cross that Lexus ES off your shopping list and you put the tota Avalon there instead and that’s mostly because I’m kind of cheap and twenty five to forty five hundred dollars is a decent chunk of change to be saving on a vehicle that I personally find nicer on the inside a
little bit easier to use and in almost

every other aspect is essentially the
same vehicle we of course don’t get that Lexus logo on the front and that is important to a decent number of people so those people might still want that Lexus instead now compared to something like the Chrysler 300

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