2013 Toyota Avalon Review

It’s the one that’s bigger than a Camry but cheaper than a Lexus ES

By Shahzad Sheikh

Toyota Avalon

I have a problem with the Avalon, I don’t really understand why it exists.

Okay, mathematically the product guys at Toyota undoubtedly know exactly why and where it exists. Priced between AED128k-154k, it sits suitably clear of the Camry (AED86k-105k and with only a 2.5-litre engine – Avalon is 3.5) and slots in just beneath the base model Lexus ES250 (AED155k 2.5-litre then AED180k-220k for the ES350).

Toyota Avalon

So price-wise it neatly plugs a gap in the Toyota-Lexus range. But does it really fill a niche? Were there actually hoards of buyers leaving Toyota frustrated at not being able to spend more money, yet coming away from the Lexus showroom slightly embarrassed at a shortfall in budget.

Toyota Avalon

The way I see it, those wanting to buy large Japanese saloons are either fleet buyers looking to transport travellers and guests, or those rich enough to want to set themselves apart from Camry-owners, even though they sneakily quite like the daily-grind no-nonsense special.

Toyota Avalon

But okay, let’s get back to the Avalon, and if you’re a loyal Avalon owner and have owned a previous version, prepare to have your world rocked. Compared to previous iterations that looked a bit like William Shatner’s more portly Captain Kirk from the movies, this one looks like Chris Pine’s Kirk from the latest movies.

Toyota Avalon

It’s slimmer, tauter, sleeker, altogether a far more smarter and appealing car than it’s ever been before. Let’s not elevate it to beautiful, but it’s certainly handsome, and it would be even more distinctive if it weren’t for the number plate obscuring the guppy-grille.

Toyota Avalon

The impressive leap in style continues on the inside, with a clean and modern dashboard, featuring upmarket materials and of course excellent build quality – although ergonomics seem to have suffered somewhat as the right side of the steering wheel obscures part of the centre console and I’m not sure those matte smooth touch buttons work as well as, well, real buttons.

Toyota Avalon

But it’s certainly comfortable and spacious, with the capacious theme certainly extending into a generous rear compartment, although I would maintain that the extraordinary VW Passat still is king of the saloons with its limo-like rear legroom.

Toyota Avalon

On the go, the performance is of course more than adequate thank to 270bhp and 250lb ft of torque through a six-speed auto sending the power to the front wheels, all of which results in a 0-100kph time of an impressive 6.5seconds for a large comfy saloon, and a top speed of around 217kph, all accompanied by a meaningful V6 thrum.

Toyota Avalon

But this is not a sports saloon. It’s rapid, but it’s a bit of a wallowy barge, there’s quite a bit of play in the steering and corners are met with traditional understeer – definitely a slow-in, slow-out, and then-accelerate sort of car.

Toyota Avalon

But while you’re taking your time around the bend, All told, if you objective is to get from A-to-B in comfort with a good you can marvel in your well equipped surrounds including standard leather seats, sunroof, a crips 6.1 inch touch screen with all the usual audio connectables, electric front seats, climate control, traction control and 17-inch alloy wheels – all that’s standard.

Toyota Avalon

SE (AED134k) gets sat-nav and a better audio, SE+ (AED149k) adds seat cooling and heating, electric rear sunshade, steering-wheel mounted paddle shifts, remote starter, better leather upholstery and improved headlights. The range-topping Grande (AED154k) adds crash alert systems and adaptive cruise control.

So it’s well kitted out then, and if that’s what you’re after, then go for it. Personally I still maintain that a Camry does all of this just as well and actually features slightly sharper more satisfying handling. Plus you’ll save a load of money.

Toyota Avalon
Specs
Price:
S – AED128,000 ($34,800)
SE – AED134,000 ($36,450)
SE+ – AED149,000 ($40,500)
Grande – AED154,000 ($41,900)
Engine: 3.5-litre V6, 273bhp @ 6200rpm, 250lb ft @ 4700rpm
Performance: 6.5secs 0-100kph, 217kph (est), 10L/100
Transmission: six-speed auto, front-wheel drive
Weight: 1606kg

4 responses to “2013 Toyota Avalon Review”

  1. Rojy says:

    Shahzad, It certainly looks inside out premium tham Honda Accord V6 which retails at almost the same price.

    But is it better to drive than Accord V6 ?

    • admin says:

      [Shahzad] Accord would be slightly better to drive, more responsive steering for a start. But Avalon is more spacious inside. So depends what you’re after.

  2. Haytham says:

    Hi,
    I am looking for a new car and very confuse to choose ,what do you recommend between these options :
    1- Accord full options V6
    2- Avallon
    3- Cafillac CTS
    4- Charger R/t full house
    5- VW passat

    • admin says:

      [Shahzad] Personally I would put them in this order: Charger/Accord/Passat/Avalon/CTS (new CTS out next year)

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