Toyota launches fourth-generation Avalon for 2013 model year

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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Toyota's Avalon full-size sedan has often been lauded for its Lexus-like levels of refinement and comfort, though it isn't quite as popular as the Japanese automaker's mid-size Camry and compact Corolla sedans. For the 2013 model year Toyota will usher in a new fourth-generation Avalon, and the updated car is expected to go on sale later this year. With its modern new styling and available hybrid powertrain, the 2013 Avalon appears poised to become a more attractive prospect than its predecessors ever were.

Under the hood, the new Avalon features a 3.5-litre V6 engine with 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. The engine comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and Toyota says that when compared to the previous model the 2013 Avalon offers improved performance, better fuel economy and superior shift feel.

To get the most out of the powertrain the new Avalon features driver-selectable Eco, Normal and Sport driving modes. While Normal mode is suited to typical motoring use, Eco mode sets a priority toward fuel efficiency by reducing power application at lower speeds and running the air-conditioning system in an energy-conserving manner. Sport mode provides increased acceleration response by employing altered engine control unit programming. The electronic power steering system is also adjusted in Sport mode to provide more direct and responsive steering, which provides enhanced steering feel.

New for the 2013 Avalon is a hybrid drivetrain option that uses a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle gas engine and a pair of electric motors. (Photo: Toyota)   Toyota has also opted to offer its new Avalon in hybrid guise. The 2013 Avalon Hybrid uses a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine with two electric motor/generators, a 244.8-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack, and regenerative brakes. The engine is mated to an electronic continuously variable transmission to handle shifting duty, and the total system output of the Avalon Hybrid's powertrain is rated at 200 horsepower.

Like its gasoline-powered counterpart, the Avalon Hybrid also has three driving modes. In EV mode the Avalon Hybrid can operate solely on electric power and Toyota claims a driving range in EV mode of 1.6 km at speeds up to 40 km/h. Eco mode engages the Avalon Hybrid's gasoline engine but reduces throttle response and climate control output in order to improve driving efficiency. Like the gasoline-powered Avalon, the gasoline-electric Avalon Hybrid's Sport mode offers greater performance by altering throttle response and enhancing steering feel.

Toyota's 2013 Avalon will likely arrive later this year and will contend with the likes of Nissan's Maxima, Chrysler's 300 and Buick's LaCrosse.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sedan, Toyota, 2013, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid,

Organizations: Toyota

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