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Business

June 16, 2013

Toyota Avalon steps up to new luxury

(Continued)

For the first time, Avalon is also available with hybrid drive, combining gasoline and electric power to optimize fuel conservation. The Avalon Hybrid starts at a list price of $36,360, about $2,360 more than gasoline-powered version with the same features and amenities. The big pay back comes from Avalon Hybrid’s fuel economy. It’s combined, city/highway fuel-use rating is 40 miles per gallon, compared to 25 mpg for a gasoline-fueled Avalon.

Horgan explained that the bold and expressive passion displayed in the new Avalon, along with its upgrade in richness and elegance, show the influence of Toyota’s recently appointed top executive in Japan, Akio Toyoda, who is grandson of the company’s founder. Toyoda has pledged to inject higher levels of passion and a new, more dramatic sensibility into Toyota models, while preserving the company’s traditional emphasis on quality and durability.

That new spirit arrives next in the redesigned, next-generation Toyota Corolla, due this fall as a 2014 model. Toyota worked up excitement about the car when it unveiled the new version in California last week.

While the large size and luxury leanings of the Avalon elevate its price and restrict it to a smaller slice of the car market, the Toyota Corolla is a populous mainstream model with a 47-year history. Therefore Horgan expects the updated Corolla to land with greater impact than this year’s Avalon.

But from the look of the Avalon, that impact will be something to see.

Jeffrey Zygmont is an author of fiction and non-fiction books, and a long-time auto writer. Contact him at www.jeffreyzygmont.com.

2013 Toyota Avalon Vehicle type: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-wheel-drive mid-size sedan Price range: $31,785 to $42,195 (plus options) Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles basic warranty; 5 years/60,000 miles powertrain warranty; 5 years/unlimited corrosion warranty; 2 years/25,000 miles free scheduled maintenance and roadside assistance Engine: 3.5-liter V6 Power: 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm; 248 lb.-ft. torque at 4,700 rpm Transmission: six-speed automatic Fuel economy: 21 mpg city; 31 mpg highway Wheelbase: 111 inches Length: 195 inches Width: 72 inches Height: 58 inches Weight: 3,461 pounds Fuel capacity: 17.0 gallons Turning circle: 37.4 feet

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