Parsing out the Avalon's pricing and feature set is a little more challenging than in past years. That's because instead of just base and Limited models, as last year, the 2013 Toyota Avalon now comes in XLE, XLE Premium, XLE Touring, and XLE Limited trims—with Hybrid models for all but the base XLE. And while the new Avalon starts at a lower price than last year's model, it also runs higher fully loaded.
If you want us to distill the line of trims and models down to a single point, it would be this: You're essentially getting a Lexus-caliber feature set—and for the most part, Lexus ambiance—at a price that's at least a few grand less than the Avalon's Lexus ES cousin would be with some comparable features.
Overall, Toyota is giving the Avalon a broader focus, over a somewhat younger (40 to 60 year old) crowd that wants more technology for the money but is willing to give up the luxury-brand cachet. At the base end, at $30,990, the Avalon still makes the strong argument on value, but the new strategy instead gives it a price span of more than $10,000 going just by MSRPs, or several thousand more if you go for the Tech Package that adds goodies like Adaptive Cruise Control, a Pre-Collision System, and Automatic High Beams. And with no factory options on the rest of the lineup, that brings the total number of main equipment combinations to eight (five for V-6, three for Hybrid).
Base XLE gasoline models include a number of features that have traditionally been optional on luxury models, like power heated (in front) leather seats, a Smart Key system, heated outer mirrors with turn-signal markets. XLE Premium models are a step above that and equivalent to last year's base model in price, and they add a backup camera, a universal garage-door opener, and a moonroof, in addition to other features.
The 2013 Avalon XLE Touring prices in at $935 less than last year's top-of-the-line Limited model and adds a Blind Spot monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, 18-inch alloy wheels, and steering-wheel paddle-shifters (gasoline model only). Limited models get perforated leather upholstery, heated-and-ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, three-zone automatic climate control, a rear sunshade, HID headlamps, and LED daytime running lamps.
There are essentially three different sound/infotainment systems. XLE and XLE Premium models include a 140-watt touch-screen Display Audio system, while XLE Touring models step up to a 490-watt system with navigation as well as Entune, which allows you to run a series of apps on the touch screen, using the data connection through your paired smartphone. At the top—and only in the Limited—there's a seven-inch higher-resolution screen system and 785-watt JBL premium audio with hard-drive storage.