In 2013, Chevrolet and Toyota both debuted new generations of their full-sized models: the Impala and Avalon. Both have near-equal performance, interior space and starting prices. They even have similar rooflines. So which is the better pick?
What the Chevrolet Impala Gets Right
The Impala's 2013 overhaul was its first since 2006, and it transformed it into a thoroughly modern car with clear references to its corporate history. The dual-cowl shape of the dashboard, for instance, echoes classic Corvette design. The muscular front fascia borrows some Camaro cues, as does a character line that works up the rear fender.
The top power plant choice is an optional 3.6-liter V6 good for 305 horsepower and an EPA rating of 19 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. The base LS model comes with a slightly more efficient 195-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder -- it's surprisingly responsive, but might prove less so when loaded with five passengers and their luggage in a generous 18.8 cubic-foot trunk.
What the Toyota Avalon Gets Right
Unlike the Impala, Toyota's Avalon sports a standard V6 throughout the range, though without the Chevrolet's direct injection and a lower 268-horsepower rating; its efficiency is better, at 29 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, and the Avalon weighs 300 pounds less than the Impala.
The Avalon's cabin has measurements that closely match those of the Impala. Its dashboard uses the quirky asymmetrical shapes Toyota has introduced through much of its line. The sporty front fascia has hints of Scion's FR-S coupe.
Which is the Better Full-Size Pick?
The Avalon offers the same oomph as the V6 Impala while delivering the same mpg ratings as the four-cylinder Impala. The Toyota also offers multiple modes -- eco, normal and sport -- that give drivers extra performance or economy. Avalon buyers can also opt for a 40 mpg hybrid.
Our Verdict: Toyota Avalon
The new Impala is a vast improvement on the car it replaces, but the new Avalon is an even better version of the old Avalon.