2014-Toyota-Avalon-mediumThe Toyota Avalon is out with a new model year with several updates and revisions in an attempt to lure even more buyers. It is now wider, lower, and more aggressive, we suppose, because of the "tighter gaps between the tires and body." There's also an Avalon Hybrid available.

We can't talk in inches, but the overhangs are supposed to be shorter, the tracks wider, and the body even more aggressively sculptured. The drag coefficient will now stand at 0.28. With the slight update of the shape comes a new weight which stands at 3,461 lbs (gasoline models) – a tiny bit lighter than the previous MY. By default the ride is subtle and comfortable, but Toyota now say that the Avalon will be 12 percent more rigid than its ancestry. 17-inch wheels with 215/55R17 tires come as standard, but if you have opted for the XLE Touring or the Limited model, you'll get the P225/45R18 tires with, naturally, 18-inch wheels. Most of the other niceties on the outside cluster around the power wing mirrors. Not only is there a turn indicator embedded in each one, but they also have heaters, memory positioning, and puddle lamps. Also, if you tick those on the option list, they can have a blind spot monitor indicator and an auto-dimming electro-chromatic glass. Would hate to have them vandalized as it usually happens in my neighbourhood. If you go for the hybrid model, the trunk's space will be limited to 14 cu. ft. as opposed to the other models which have 16 cu. ft. of luggage space

Inside one will notice significant noise reduction due to the extensive soundproofing all-around. Unsurprisingly, there's also a plethora of IT tech inside. The instruments hold a 3.5-inch TFT display that can display valuable driver information. The center console holds a 6.1 inch screen from which you can operate the audio system or your iPod from it if it has been plugged in one of the car's USB ports. Another way of connectivity is via Bluetooth which can also be accessed from that screen. The third screen is the 7-inch HDD navigation that can also play DVDs (who uses DVDs still?). There's also the optional Entune App Suite which again connects your smartphone with the car and utilizes applications such as Bing, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable and Pandora. The Premium HDD Navigation comes along with the said Entune Suite and a JBL Synthesis® 7.1 channel matrix sound system. The front seats which are heated and ventilated) can have either are electronically adjustable and can have either 8 or even 10 (Limited model) settings. Fascinating! A slightly more alluring fact is the dual-zone automatic climate control which comes as standard on every model. The one you can order optionally is a three-zone unit. If you go for the hybrid model, the trunk's space will be limited to 14 cu. ft. as opposed to the other models which have 16 cu. ft. of luggage space.

In terms of engine, you get two choices. One is the gasoline DOHC V6 with VVT-i. It has 268 hp at its disposal and 248 lb.-ft. of torque at 4700 rpm. Acceleration from 0 to 60 is "less than seven seconds" which is OK for a server-room. Fuel ecconomy? Not too impressive at 25 mpg on the combined cycle. Normally, the transmission would be a six-speed automatic with an S mode which allows the stick to be used as a shifter. The XLE Touring and the Limited models, however, get paddle shifters behind the wheel.

The Avalon Hybrid uses Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system that can be seen on the Camry Hybrid as well. In other words, we have a special transaxle that uses a planetary-type CVT. The actual power for it comes from a 2,5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. The combined output amounts to 200 hp. Because the hybrid Avalon is not much heavier than the V6 gasoline one(3,585 lbs), 0 to 60 takes no more than 8 seconds. In order reduce internal friction as much as possible, Toyota have put in an electric water pump, a variable-output oil pump and a roller-rocker type valvetrain. And yet, the economy still stands at the unimpressive (for a hybrid) 40 mpg.

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Source: Toyota