First drive: 2013 Toyota Avalon in the UAE

First drive: 2013 Toyota Avalon in the UAE

2013 Toyota Avalon 2
The Toyota Avalon never really did well in the UAE. Conservative design, woolly handling and a price-tag that slowly crept up to Lexus-like levels, it was never destined to do well here. I never though much of it either, until I sat in the back seat of a 2008 model when hanging with my chauffeur buddy. With its cushy voluminous interior, it suddenly dawned on me that it’s a darn good comfort cruiser, and would’ve done well were it not for its sky-high price tag. But now there’s an all-new model for 2013, and apparently it’s going after “younger” drivers. What exactly do younger drivers want?

We don’t really know, because most of them ogle at Bugatti Veyrons while trundling around in Toyota Camrys. Anyway, we were flown to Abu Dhabi on a sea-plane, treated to a 5-star dinner, kept overnight at Jumeirah-Etihad Towers hotel and handed iPad Minis as press kits, so you can be completely sure we were in a positive mindset before we started on the journey back to Dubai.

2013 Toyota Avalon 4

The 2013 Toyota Avalon is undeniably a good-looking car, that too for the first time in its boring existence. In its transformation from conservative to sporty, it’s actually lost a little “elegance” in the process, but no one’s complaining. The Avalon now has the distinction of sharing its platform with the capable new Lexus ES, and that’s a good thing.

The platform is also a stretched version of the Camry one, and that translates to excellent space inside. Well, excellent in all but one area — rear headroom. The sloping roofline at the back really cuts it close to the scalp of taller passengers, something we noticed in the Lexus ES as well.

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The interior materials are top-notch for the most part, with soft-touch trim and stitched leatherette on the dash-top and upper doors. There’s lots of chrome and wood as well. And aside from the touchscreen, there’s capacitive-touch buttons for the a/c and other dash buttons, which are thankfully easier to use than the ones in new Cadillacs. And that’s just in our mid-range model. The top-spec models get further features, like selectable drive modes and adaptive cruise control.

The 3.5-litre V6 engine gets only a minor update, now making 273 hp, and mated to a 6-speed automatic with manual-shift capability. The powertrain is more than adequate for overtaking at highway speeds, though don’t expect to win any drag races.

The handling seems to be good, although we didn’t really push it. On moderate-speed turns, there’s no body roll or odd rebounds. The steering lets you feel the texture of the road, but it is on the light side. The brakes don’t do much until you really press on the mushy pedal.

2013 Toyota Avalon 5

The ride is good enough, about as smooth as a Toyota Camry if not the previous Avalon, with only the occasional road imperfection coming through the meaty tyres on those 17-inch alloys. There is no floatiness like the old model, doing speeds of 170 kph with total stability. But we feel the cabin could’ve been a little bit more quiet at 120 kph for a near-luxury car, though interior noise levels are no more than in its Camry sibling. Maybe it was just windy?

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The 2013 Avalon is a very nice car in most aspects, although it will have tough competition from within its own ranks, nestled in price between the Toyota Aurion and the Lexus ES. There’s nothing compelling enough in it that’ll make you run out and buy one; but if you are a Toyota man and love your Camry, this would be a nice upgrade once you start making more money.

What do you think?



  1. Love the overall design of the car. But the number plate kills the look of the front grill.

  2. I love its interior. Very nice central console. The outside is average.

  3. Nice review.
    But Mash , just a suggestion , avoid using Manufacturer pictures like how you used one for the interior pic.
    1-The manufacturer pic is always the full option one , creates a false sense of hope.
    2-The whole point of reading a review on DA is gone if you use Manufacturer released pics as you get to test the GCC spec one and it has a lot of difference.
    You used Nissan’s pics in the Pathy review as well thats why i pointed this out. 🙂
    Its just a suggestion so take it lightly.

  4. i actually like the way the car looks both in and out.

  5. Really an impressive looking car cheers to Toyota

  6. I sat in the car at the shk zayed show room

    verdict (didn’t drive) paying 130-140k for this car ummmmmmm ok maybe I’f ur local

    I. rather still go with a maxima which gives a fair bit of better handling and still after 4 years a very cool the eyes design interior wise it’s a let down on maxima for rear pax due to shorter wheel base

  7. actually if u want to spend this kind of money rather go with dodge charger or better yet Chrysler 300c yes both these cars will have no resale in dubai but offer much better performance and actually a better fit for near luxury sedan for the executive as people respect both 300c and charger in their back. view mirrors much more 🙂

  8. i own a Camry touring 2011 with 17 inch rims….the part where you mentioned that the drive is as smooth as the Camry i need clarification on….since i suffer from the totally uncomfortable drive experience with the Camry & i feel all the road details in my back & neck….i was hoping to shift to the Avalon which is American made & listed on so many car reviews site as one of the most comfortable rides due to it’s suspension system….but if it’s the same as Camry then it’s not comfortable at all!…please correct me if i am wrong.

  9. Mashfique,

    As far I know, Avalon 4th gen is with 268hp/336Nm. I see different nos. on the spec you mentioned. Base trim ‘S’ doesn’t come with auto-dimming mirror with compass. Rest all info here is valid. Bought my Avalon ‘S’ 2015 three months back. No complaints except for the intermittent rattle noise from the rear passenger door, which hopefully can be fixed according to other Avalon owners. So far I love the comfort, drive, control, stance. Real fuel efficiency for a 3.5L when driven in ‘Eco’ mode. is of huge help. Keep up the good work and Thanks for all honest reviews and updates.

  10. @prado
    It’s my first car in Dubai. I haven’t driven any older gen Avalons but from what I read, looks like older gen had softer ride. For me the current one feels good. It is on the harder side but I like the feel of it and to compensate there is enough comfort – spacious, effortless steering and Sport mode is real quick.

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