Friday, September 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Avalon takes sleek turn

By
From page C1 | March 15, 2013 |

Toyota’s flagship sedan, the Avalon, is stylishly elegant for 2013, offers more technology and safety features than ever and has a new, noticeably controlled and poised ride.

The Avalon also impresses with a base retail price that’s some $2,200 less than the starting retail price for last year’s Avalon.

The price cut to a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $31,785, stems in part from the moonroof being removed from the list of Avalon standard equipment.

But leather seat and steering wheel trim, heated front seats and power-adjustable driver and front-passenger front seats remain on every Avalon.

The base engine — last year’s smooth and powerful 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 — is still there, too, and is mated to an updated six-speed automatic.

Meantime, new standard features in the Avalon include 10 air bags, up from seven last year. There’s a new eBin, too, where drivers can manage and store away plug-in devices like phone, radar detector, etc.

Perhaps best of all, Consumer Reports puts predicted reliability of the new Avalon at better than average.

Competitors to the front-wheel drive, four-door Avalon include other premium mid-size sedans such as the 2013 Buick LaCrosse, which has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $32,555.

But the base LaCrosse doesn’t have leather seat trim, and its base engine is a 182-horsepower four cylinder.

Another competitor, the 2013 Hyundai Genesis sedan, packs more power — 333 horses from a larger displacement V-6 than the Avalon has — and an eight-speed automatic for a starting retail price of $35,095.

The 2013 Avalon is about 2 inches shorter in overall length and about an inch shorter in height than its predecessor. But it still looks generously sized, and some auto critics still refer to the Avalon as a large sedan though the federal government continues to classify it as a mid-size.

Interior dimensions for passengers are not changed much from last year’s model, save for rear-seat legroom which went from 40.9 inches in the 2012 Avalon to 39.2 inches in the new car.

Cargo room in the Avalon now is a surprising 16 cubic feet vs. 14.4 cubic feet last year. Much of this space is under the rear window.

But other interior space dimensions are pretty much unchanged. For example, rear-seat headroom of 37.5 inches is nearly identical to that of last year’s Avalon, and front-seat headroom of 38.5 inches is just 0.4 inch less than that in the 2012 Avalon.

The test Avalon Limited, which is the top-of-the-line model, didn’t feel cramped, though the new-styled rear seats mean the middle person now sits atop a more contoured area than before. Taller passengers may brush against the ceiling.

The test car interior showed craftsmanship, with well-aligned trim pieces and nicely supple, perforated leather on the seats.

The only thing that didn’t feel right were the plastic-covered, memory seat buttons in the test car. They pushed way in on the driver door and had a weak, cheap feel.

The new Avalon dashboard design is inviting, with a minimum number of visible buttons on the dashboard to control everything from navigation to audio and phone operation.

The design was simple, yet eminently usable.

Best of all, it doesn’t take long learn how the controls work, and the seven-inch, high-resolution touchscreen had bright colors and large, legible letters for easy viewing.

The Avalon rode quietly much of the time, with little noise intruding from trucks and blaring radios nearby.

Views out were a bit confined by the low stance of this car compared with sport utility vehicles and trucks.

The test Avalon Limited with 18-inch tires rode more firmly than any previous Avalon tested, but it wasn’t harsh or even noticeable. The more controlled ride was in contrast to some pillowy rides in earlier generation Avalons and made for confident driving on twisty mountain roads.

Still, the 2013 Avalon remains, like its predecessors, one of the most comfortable cars for highway cruising.

The improved dynamics comes in part from stouter stabilizer bars, as the Avalon’s basic suspension design — MacPherson struts up front and dual-link MacPherson struts in back — remain.

Rack-and-pinion steering this year is electrically assisted and needs only a light touch, yet has a surprisingly decent on-center feel.

The V-6 provided strong power in all situations and moved the car easily along in city traffic and on the highway.

Paddle shifters on the steering wheel give convenient access to no-clutch-pedal driver shifts, but just letting the automatic tranny handle things created smoother transitions between gears.

Peak torque is the same as last year: 247 foot-pounds at 4,700 rpm.

The test car spent time in all three drive modes — normal, sport and eco — and averaged 21 miles per gallon in driving that was 65 percent in the city and 35 percent at highway speed.

The 21-mpg is on par with the government’s city fuel economy rating for the 2013 Avalon. The government pegs highway mileage at 31 mpg, but the test car never got close to that.

Regular unleaded is fine for the Avalon, which has a smaller, 17-gallon fuel tank this year instead of the 18.5-gallon tank last year.

So filling the tank at today’s prices can cost more than $65. In the test car, this $65 bought a travel range of just over 350 miles.

2013 Toyota Avalon Limited

BASE PRICE: $30,990 for XLE; $33,195 for XLE Premium; $35,500 for XLE Touring; $39,650 for Limited.

PRICE AS TESTED: $42,195.

TYPE: Front engine, front-wheel-drive, five-passenger, mid-size sedan.

ENGINE: 3.5-liter, double overhead cam V-6 with dual VVT-i.

MILEAGE: 21 mpg (city), 31 mpg (highway).

TOP SPEED: NA.

LENGTH: 195.2 inches.

WHEELBASE: 111 inches.

CURB WEIGHT: 3,500 pounds.

BUILT AT: Georgetown, Ky.

OPTIONS: Technology package (includes dynamic radar cruise control, automatic high beams, pre-collision system) $1,750.

DESTINATION CHARGE: $795.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Missouri Street Theatre set to open ‘Bonnie and Clyde’

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Shelter uses technology to reunite pets, owners

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Weekend full of jazz on tap in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Royal Tailor plans high-energy, genre-blending show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Police make child molestation arrest

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Dignitaries celebrate opening of $30M courthouse

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Fairfield police arrest 2 in robberies investigation

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 10 Comments | Gallery

 
Police seek help to find missing Fairfield man

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Fairfield eyes sale of excess government land

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Men, again, are seen as missing in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 6 Comments | Gallery

Stolen vehicle investigation leads to 3 arrests

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Weather for Sept. 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

Suisun City police log: Sept. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Man arrested in fast-growing California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Strong Senate vote for Obama on Syria rebel aid

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Scots reject independence in historic vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Passenger says JetBlue plane filled with smoke

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Law makes earthquake insurance more understandable

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
GOP pushes diverse candidates, but will it matter?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

PG&E emails may have violated rules, judge says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
500 Berkeley students missed sex abuse classes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Boxer indicates big decision to come next year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Father arrested in fatal stabbing of 6-year-old

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Health exchange addresses dropped policies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
UC system plan calls for anti-sex abuse effort

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Democratic state lawmaker arraigned on DUI charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Sheriff: Fla. man kills 6 grandchildren, daughter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Couple in Craigslist slaying sentenced to life

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
In wake of beheadings, Busch Gardens removes props

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Trooper ambush suspect added to most wanted list

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
CDC tells healthy adults not to forget flu vaccine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Border Patrol to test wearing cameras

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Kansas court: Remove Democrat from Senate ballot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Ukraine’s pleas for lethal aid from US go unmet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
British hostage appears in new video

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Witness: 21 killed by Mexico army had surrendered

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Militant gains illustrate plight of Syrian Kurds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Series of attacks kills at least 36 in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Sierra Leone to shut down for 3 days to slow Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

.

Opinion

 
Did the ‘War on Poverty’ fail?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

 
Do you feel more secure?

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

My support for anyone but Moy

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 17 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Sept. 19, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Mother-in-law bothers me at work for kid’s minor infractions

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Sept. 19-25, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Review: ‘Leave You’ has A-list cast, B-grade result

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Adam Driver shifts into hyper drive

By Jake Coyle | From Page: B2

 
‘The Voice’ winner goes to Broadway’s ‘Pippin’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
TV Guide Network renaming itself POP

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Peter Fonda’s ‘Easy Rider’ bike going to auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Sept. 19, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B4

Darrell Hammond takes over for Don Pardo on ‘SNL’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

The Roosevelt trail, from Maine to North Dakota

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Vanden volleyball team remains undefeated in SCAC play

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B7

 
49ers’ Derek Carrier ready to step in at tight end

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

Raiders seek ways to get Reece more involved

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Athletics out of top wild-card spot as Texas sweeps

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Nashville new home for Athletics’ Triple-A team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
 
Falcons romp to 56-14 win over hapless Buccaneers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
2-time Grand Slam winner Li Na retires from tour

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Stacy Lewis, Mi Jung Hur share LPGA lead in Alabama

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
WR Simpson, in more trouble, released by Vikings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Royal & Ancient votes to admit female members

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
MLS says Chivas USA might not play in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Tiger Woods says he might coach himself

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Police: Cardinals RB Dwyer head-butted wife

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Prep football capsules: Week 3

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

 
Signups for Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

Appeals court reconsidering Barry Bonds conviction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

Nissan’s small car excels at affordability

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Self-driving cars now need a permit in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2 | Gallery

Ellison gives up Oracle CEO role, becomes chairman

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
California bill increases Hollywood tax credits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Fed keeps rates low, but brace for the inevitable

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Alibaba prices IPO at $68 per share

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

Home Depot says malware affected 56M payment cards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Applications for US jobless benefits fall sharply

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

Apple locks itself out of devices with passwords

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Alibaba’s plan: Today, China. Tomorrow, the world.

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Chevron meets new, voluntary shale drilling rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Margaret King

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Mae Frances Jones

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9