In its redesign of the Avalon for the 2013 model year, Toyota built upon years of customer satisfaction with significant changes that improve on nearly all aspects of the brand’s biggest sedan.
From fresh designs inside and out to improved handling to near-luxury cabin materials, Avalon ups its visual and tactile appeal while still delivering the comfort, quality and performance owners have grown to expect.
The most noticeable change is one thing the previous version lacked – taut, up-to-date styling. The Avalon is now sleek instead of stodgy, sophisticated as opposed to sleepy.
The spacious interior in our top-of-the-line 2014 Limited tester also received a full reimagining, with unusual shapes forming a useful and ergonomic dash with chrome-rimmed modules and wood-grain accents. The center stack houses a 7-inch touchscreen display for audio, nav and systems settings with HVAC control buttons stretched out below. A backup camera is standard on all models.
The leather-wrapped, French-stitched seats are multi-adjustable, guaranteeing a perfect fit for driver and front passenger. In the rear, there’s generous space for the long-legged. Assisting in their comfort are rear climate controls and a power rear-window shade.
Nearly all cabin surfaces that are typically touched are crafted of soft materials that share the seats’ fancy stitch work, extending the upscale feel.
Powering all Avalons is a gem of a V-6 spinning out 268 useful horsepower and driving the front wheels through a six-speed automatic. This duo pushes the big sedan forward with subtle potency, while delivering an agreeable, EPA-rated 31 mpg on the open road on regular unleaded.
Toyota has tightened up the Avalon’s suspension tuning, which now reacts more quickly to steering inputs and delivers more responsive handling than you might expect. While not as quite as creamy as earlier versions, driver and passengers will still enjoy a quiet highway ride, with ample absorption of all but the sharpest bumps.
Our Limited tester featured a bundle of high-tech, safety-oriented equipment for added confidence.
Previous Avalons largely attracted older folks, but current upgrades should broaden the appeal to anyone seeking space, style, performance and economy.