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New York show: Rakish Avalon gives Toyota some style

California dreaming: Toyota's new Avalon was designed at the company's Calty design studios.

Toyota’s Avalon goes all west coast funky to shed the cardigan image – with bling

6 Apr 2012

TOYOTA has injected a bit of Californian style – and quite a bit of chrome – into its notoriously dowdy American large sedan, the Avalon, endowing the new 2013 model with a fast-back roofline and bolder front fascia ahead of its North American showroom release later this year.

Designed at Toyota’s Calty studios in California, the fourth-generation Avalon’s new skin will better equip it to go head to head with the Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Impala.

The latter has also come in for the beauty treatment, with an all-new model of America’s best-selling large car revealed at the New York Show the day before the Avalon appeared.

However, the Avalon is expected to have the jump on the Impala, reportedly going into showrooms in the second half of this year, while Chevrolet dealers and customers will have to wait until early 2013 for the new GM contender.

But neither car is expected in Australia, where the large-car market is shrinking – just as it is in the US.

Here, Toyota’s large-car hopes will rest with the Camry-based Aurion, which is set for a major makeover this month.

In the US, the new Avalon and Impala and facelifted Taurus will be tasked with reversing or at least stalling this decline for the biggest players in North America.

8 center imageThe new look of the Avalon is a direct result of Toyota Motor president Akio Toyoda’s order to get some style and emotion into Toyota products.

The upper part of the front grille retains the Camry-like chrome garnish incorporating the Toyota badge, but the gaping lower air opening has shades of the new Ford Fusion’s fascia, right down to the five horizontal chrome bars.

To go with its sportier design, the Avalon gets beefier springs and anti-roll bars that Toyota promises will deliver a more rewarding driving experience compared with previous generations.

As well, the electric-assisted power steering will offer three models – Eco, Normal and Sport – in the modern fashion.

The new car sits on a 2820mm wheelbase – identical to the current model – but has shorter front and rear overhangs in the pursuit of a more macho image. Overall length slips below five metres to 4960mm.

The body is said to be stronger and more rigid, but lighter.

The Avalon will retain its V6 powertrain, but no power, torque or performance figures have been given.

Safety equipment in includes a pre-collision system that “senses” an impending frontal collision and battens down the hatches ahead of impact. A rear-view camera, blind-spot warning and rear cross traffic alert system – which warns drivers of approaching traffic when backing out of a driveway, for example – are now included.

The Avalon will be built at Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky, factory.

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