Toyota Avalon 2011 - Auto Shows

In between deflecting questions about runaway Camrys and Priuses that don�t stop, Toyota found time at the Chicago auto show to unveil the 2011 Avalon, which goes on sale this spring.

In truth, there's a lot of old Avalon here; the sheetmetal and interior are new, but the running gear and platform are the same. The new car features the same 3.5-liter V-6 engine that makes 268 hp, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Toyota says that the car hits 20 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway on the EPA cycle.

As expected, the exterior design�the work of Toyota�s CALTY studio in California�was torpor-inducing, but the new interior is very clean and neat, featuring a simplified center stack and the segment's only reclining rear seat. Myriad driver distractions are available, including Bluetooth music streaming.

The Avalon comes in two levels: standard and upscale Limited. Even the base car gets standard leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. All Avalons get a full array of airbags and electronic safety aids, including an override for the gas pedal when the brakes are pressed. The latter, of course, is a feature that would have saved Toyota's bacon if they had thought of installing it a model before 2011.

As yet, there's no word on Avalon pricing, but don't expect it to stray far from the current model's when it hits the showroom floors.


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