The Avalon—Toyota’s luxury sedan—debuted in 1995 and rode on a stretched Camry platform. Throughout its life, the Avalon underwent many changes, some good and some bad. After a third generation that lasted seven years, Toyota finally updated the Avalon and even added in a hybrid variant for 2013.
The 2013 model year is the first time that Toyota has offered up a hybrid variant for its range-topping Avalon. This new model comes has three available trim levels—XLE Premium, XLE Touring and Limited—and all four come fitted with the same 2.5-liter hybrid system that produces a total of 200 horsepower and hooks up to a continuously variable transmission.
With this drivetrain, the Avalon Hybrid sprints to 60 mph in just 7.7 seconds, and returns an EPA-estimated 40 mpg city and 39 mph highway. It rides a little more stiffly than the typical luxury car, though, something to consider if you take long trips.
The Toyota Avalon Hybrid’s all-new skin is a bit of a mixed bag. Up front, you have an almost wedge-like fascia that gives it a near-sporty look; an elegant profile and executive-looking backside, however, give it a touch of class. Add in the wraparound taillights and the standard 17-inch silver wheels, and you have a package that can easily fit in with anyone’s preferences.
Inside the cabin, you get a instant feeling of elegance, as you’re greeted by heated leather seats, a clean layout and a refreshing lack of hard plastics. All of the buttons seem to be well within the driver’s reach, eliminating the need to reach across a sea of buttons and knobs to adjust the climate control. Additionally, the Avalon still offers up a rather impressive 14 cubic feet of cargo room in the trunk—only two cubic feet less than the standard Avalon—despite the intrusion of hybrid electronics.