NY Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Toyota Avalon

In the past, we’ve characterized this biggest of all Toyota passenger cars as more Buick than Buick. It was a tribute—if you can call it that—to the Avalon’s quiet, competent operation, anonymous styling, and generally unobtrusive character. However, Buick has begun to shed its dowdy image, leaving the Avalon as perhaps the de facto ruler of a class definable as premium conservative large sedan. Or maybe upscale bland.

Now here’s a new Avalon, introduced at the New York auto show and characterized by Toyota’s U.S. general manager, Bob Carter, as “the most beautiful car I’ve seen in 20 years with Toyota.” That means Mr. Carter has seen four generations of Avalon, dating to model year 1995. He also characterizes the latest version as the beginning of a new era in Toyota design, dedicated to “more exciting vehicles.” Compared to Avalons of yore, yes, this new one is exciting.

The above is what Toyota calls the styling theme behind the new sheetmetal, which was executed entirely in the U.S. by Toyota’s Calty Design operations in California and Michigan. The all-American ethos also applies to the Avalon’s engineering, and will apply to its assembly in Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky, facility. The steeper angles of the windshield and rear window, shorter front and rear overhangs, and lower beltline, plus a 1.0-inch reduction in height (to 57.5 inches), do make the new car look a bit more sleek, despite a 2.3-inch reduction in overall length.

The wheelbase is unchanged at 111.0 inches and width has been reduced (from 72.8 inches to 72.2).The Avalon’s stance still looks more aggressive, thanks to its big two-tiered grille and modestly expanded track: 62.6 inches front and 62.2 inches at the rear, versus the current 62.2/61.6. The profile view, enhanced by conservative character sculpting down the sides, is set off by new aluminum wheel designs in 17- (standard) and 18-inch diameters.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

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