EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


June 16, 2013

Toyota Avalon steps up to new luxury

We already know that Toyota can build a top-level luxury car. Toyota makes and markets Lexus cars, the prestige brand that recently reigned as the most coveted luxury line in America.

Meanwhile, the company’s main, Toyota brand embeds itself deeply into every far-roaming nook of the mainstream auto market. Standing on a reputation for sturdy, faithful and long-lasting vehicles, Toyota sells pickups and SUVs, wagons, sedans, small cars, passenger vans, sports cars and a whole family of fuel-saving hybrids.

In the new, 2013 Toyota Avalon, the car maker unites its two identities in a single vehicle. The new Avalon is undeniably luxurious, with a posh interior, pampering road manners, a rich supply of equipment, and a luminous, stand-out appearance. But Avalon isn’t a Lexus. The large, five-passenger, front-drive sedan is sold by Toyota dealers alongside mass-appeal models like the economical and practical Toyota Corolla, the best-selling Toyota Camry, and the brawny Toyota Tundra pickup truck.

This year’s Avalon is a redesigned and re-engineered, next-generation version of Toyota’s largest sedan. The new model was launched in the fall. It is such a stunning departure from the prior Avalon that public awareness is still catching up with the car, stated Emmett Horgan, owner of Rockingham Toyota Scion Honda in Salem, N.H. It’s almost like the 2013 Toyota Avalon is a totally new arrival on the auto scene, without a predecessor to place it in public consciousness.

“The awareness level is rising, but right now there’s still a lot of people almost bumping into the car,” without prior knowledge of it, said Horgan.

The new model’s bold and distinctive exterior makes it easy to notice. In press material describing the 2013 Avalon, Toyota writes that designers strove “to communicate a greater sense of performance and agility.” The model is lower, trimmer and more streamlined than its predecessor, sculpted into an athletic posture that a wide, forward-striving grille and prominent side creases enhance. At the same time, the car’s stretched silhouette, aided by a long, gracefully flowing roofline, creates an unmistakable aura of ease and luxury.

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