2013 Toyota Avalon: A Favorite Vehicle Keeps Improving

By Jo Ann Holt Created: January 27, 2013 Last Updated: January 31, 2013
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2013 Toyota Avalon (Courtesy of Toyota)

2013 Toyota Avalon (Courtesy of Toyota)

The 2013 Toyota Avalon 4-door XLE Touring sedan I drove recently proved the company is still trying to improve one of my favorite cars. I have always loved the Avalon, which is the top of the line for Toyota if you don’t plan to “graduate” to a Lexus, and I loved this model even more. 

The “Attitude Black Metal/Gray leather” model I drove was a beautiful example of an elegant but still affordable vehicle that gets good gas mileage (21 mpg in town and 31 on the highway for an average of 24 mpg, producing a savings of $600 in fuel costs over five years). 

The Avalon is just so effortless to drive, with the controls all where you want them to be and instructions so easy to understand it makes driving the car a very pleasant experience. And to my way of thinking, peace of mind is worth a lot—maybe even priceless!

The 2013 Avalon combines improved performance, more exciting styling, and even greater refinement to help reposition Toyota’s flagship sedan as a premium mid-size sedan leader. Called the “most American Avalon” yet, having been designed, developed, and manufactured in North America, the athletic styling shows a glimpse of the future for Toyota. 

It’s also the first Avalon to offer Hybrid Synergy drive, although my test model was not equipped with this hybrid drivetrain, (which attains an enviable average of 40 mpg) but a 3.5-liter V6 DOHC engine with six-speed automatic transmission. 

This Avalon is no sissy, but drives very competitively if you feel like zipping in and out of traffic. There are three drive modes: Eco, normal, and sport, but I tried to be good and stayed mostly in Eco mode.

The Avalon’s interior combines the elegance of the vehicle with high technology and craftsmanship for a great-looking, comfortable sedan.

“The 2013 Avalon showcases Toyota car-building prowess and infuses the Avalon nameplate with new levels of excitement, dynamic capability, and refinement,” said Bill Fay, Group Vice President and General Manager Toyota Division. 

The Avalon’s interior combines the elegance of the vehicle with high technology and craftsmanship for a great-looking, comfortable sedan. 

The instrument panel has been widened by 1.18 inches (30 mm) in the upper region and 2.56 inches (65 mm) in the lower region to enhance the interior’s spaciousness. The Optitron-type combination meter produces a sharp, high quality display and 3.5-inch Thin-film Transistor (TFT) color multi-information display. 

The steering wheel also helps add to your confidence behind the wheel, thanks to its shape and tactile feel. Premium leather and padded foam helped give my model’s steering wheel a great grip. 

The four-direction audio switch enhances operations, with a cruise control switch, DISP (Display) and TEL (Telephone switch). The steering wheel offers buttons for available voice recognition, and vehicle-to-vehicle distance switch for Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. 

Large paddle-shift toggles attached to the steering wheel, on the V6-powered XLE Touring and Limited Avalon models, also help the driver feel more “in control” when in sport mode.

Blind Spot Monitor

My Avalon was equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, standard on V6-powered XLE Touring and Limited models. It also came with a Blind Spot Monitor, a nifty feature that uses radar to detect vehicles in the adjacent lane where drivers may be challenged to see them. 

Inside the 2013 Toyota Avalon (Courtesy of Toyota)

Inside the 2013 Toyota Avalon (Courtesy of Toyota)

The same radar technology has been adapted to offer a Rear Cross Traffic Alert, to detect low-speed cross traffic behind the vehicle. 

The Blind Spot Monitor indicators are on the outside mirrors’ surfaces with a display that also appears on the color display, and can be activated from the blind spot monitor switch on the instrument panel. 

The Avalon’s Rear Cross Traffic alert uses the sensors in the rear quarter panels that sound a buzzer when cars are approaching from behind. The Avalon also includes a back monitor display as part of the available back-up camera system. 

Like all Toyota models, the Avalon features the STAR(TM) Safety System, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop brake-override Technology (SST). 

The 2013 Avalon is available with a pre-collision system that helps mitigate the effects of vehicle impact. The first stage of the pre-collision system tightens the seat belts and prime hydraulic brake system, and the second stage can compensate for inadequate brake pedal pressure by applying optimal brake system effort. 

Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and against corrosion with no mileage limitation. 

The hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for eight years/100,000 miles.

The 2013 Toyota Avalon 4-door XLE Touring sedan I drove had a MSRP of $35,500 plus destination charge of $795 for a total price of $36,295.

To learn more about the all-new Avalon, visit

Jo Ann Holt is a journalist and auto writer based in Dallas, Texas, and a member of Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA).

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