2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid: 40-MPG Model For Mid-Size Sedan

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Toyota's remorseless drive to maintain its largest-by-far share of the global hybrid vehicle market continues apace.

The latest vehicle to add a hybrid variant is the all-new 2013 Toyota Avalon, the large, luxurious, mid-size front-wheel drive sedan sold only in North America.

The 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid follows the model set by its competitors the Buick LaCrosse and Lincoln MKZ by offering either a hybrid four-cylinder powertrain and a more powerful non-hybrid V-6 alternative.

The new luxury sedan will set a new bar for fuel efficiency, though: Toyota says the EPA will give the 2013 Avalon Hybrid a combined rating of 40 mpg.

That's 1 mpg higher than the outgoing 2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, and far higher than the mild-hybrid Buick LaCrosse with eAssist, which is rated at 29 mpg.

The new hybrid Avalon model uses a 154-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine tuned to run on the more efficient Atkinson cycle, paired to the latest generation of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system.

That hybrid-electric power unit contains two motor-generators that can add additional torque to complement the engine output, recharge the battery pack using regenerative braking, and power the car away from rest up to speeds of 25 mph under light-load conditions for up to 1 mile.

2013 Toyota Avalon

2013 Toyota Avalon

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Total powertrain output is 200 horsepower, and the driver can select among three drive modes--EV, Eco, and Sport--as well as the standard mode. "EV" mode lets the driver direct the car to operate only electrically, when quiet operation is desired.

Eco dials down the performance and the heating and ventilation, for better fuel efficiency. Sport does the opposite, allowing faster acceleration and quicker steering response when sportier performance is needed.

The engine and hybrid package is similar to that used in hybrid versions of the new 2012 Toyota Camry, which are rated at 41 mpg combined for the Camry Hybrid LE model and 40 mpg combined for the Camry Hybrid XLE.

Befitting the Avalon's role as the largest and most muffled model in the Toyota lineup, the company notes that it has a new, quieter design for the fan that blows cooling air over the nickel-metal-hydride battery pack located at the front of the trunk floor.

The hybrid transaxle also incorporates a new flywheel-damper that smooths the engagement of the engine when it is switched on.

The other engine for the 2013 Avalon is a 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Dimensionally, the new Avalon is slightly smaller in length, width, and height than the 2012 model it replaces. It sits on the same 111-inch wheelbase, and Toyota has shaved a bit more than 100 pounds from the car compared to its predecessor--which should help fuel efficiency.

The 2013 Toyota Avalon is built in Georgetown, Kentucky; the full lineup of new Avalons will go on sale later this year.


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Comments (7)
  1. I still don't get why people want a vehicle that large, but if you must, great to see 40 mpg.

  2. Good question. Some answers and possible answers.
    1) Tall folks. Anyone over two meters tall would probably look the additional head, shoulder, leg, and foot room of this big boy.
    2) Fat folks. Unfortunately there are more n more obese, fat Americans n not all of them necessarily want an suv/truck/minimvan to fit their big butts in.
    3) This car(probably not hybrid trim) or one its competitors could and should be the replacement vehicle for police cruisers and limo-like taxis. The Crown Vic designed well before this century came to be is horrible n obsolete compared to this new crop of big sedans. Both these big sedan consumers need big back seats to potential fit big people.

  3. 40 mpg is wonderful..although think of what they could accomplish if they would use Lithium Ion batteries in lieu of Nickel Metal. Then take it a step further with a Plug-in assembly and your conceivably talking 100 mpg. Ahhhh...such potential!

  4. Sure, 40MPG is nice. But for cars in this class, a nice ride and performance also matter. What is the 0-60mph time and 1/4 miles? I hope it is NOT in the double digits... B/c Toyota has been "detunning" engines for MPGs. Those Toyotas are ACCIDENT risks on short hwy on-ramps...

  5. Oh please. In the 1970's the AVERAGE car had 0-60 of 14 seconds (meaning some were much worse, like 20 seconds), yet skilled drivers managed just fine.

    Now a days, a Toyota with a 0-60 of 11 seconds is considered an accident risk? Hardly.

    You might look to the other end of the spectrum with cars of 0-60 of sub 5 seconds as the real accident risks as drivers push the grip of the tires to the limit.

  6. Motor Trend says the 2012 Cmary Hybrid does 0-60 in 7.2 seconds. http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/alternative/1110_2012_toyota_camry_hybrid_xle_first_test/

    The Avalon Hybrid, which uses pretty much the same HSD drivetrain, should be a bit slower than that because it's a heavier car. But should still be under 10 seconds.

  7. Vehicles in this class will be getting 50 mpg combined in 5 years is my guess....pretty impressive to get 40 combined.


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