The 2013 Toyota Avalon has shrunk a bit in length, width, and height, but you really wouldn't know it once you climb inside. This is a cabin that feels extremely roomy and far more modern and luxurious than the previous Avalon, with top-notch materials, thoughtful details, comfortable seats, and futuristic capacitive dash controls.
The wheelbase of the new Avalon is identical to the outgoing model, and Toyota has lowered the seating position a bit, yielding more headroom and a more open feeling. What you get in front are seats that don't have a lot of lateral support, but they're supportive for the back and upholstered in impressive, supple leather, with real stitching—and ventilated premium leather in Limited models.
In back, the seats are among the best we've sampled in a larger sedan—contoured well for adults and with relatively long lower cushions to provide thigh support. There's not only plenty of legroom but also headroom, and at 6'-6,” I could effectively fit behind another person my same height, with the front seat back all the way. The tallest passengers in back will need to tuck their head a bit when getting in and out, but that seems to be the norm with today's swoopy rooflines.
Also of note is that Avalons with the moonroof have a new compact installation that no longer robs so much headroom in front.
The Avalon's suspension is a bit firmer, and while there might be a slight bit more road noise entering the cabin than before, new acoustic glass is used for the windshield and side glass, and the windshield wipers tuck inside the cowl for better isolation of wind noise. Between the Hybrid and the V-6, both are quiet during cruising, with no noticeable engine noise; only during hard acceleration does the Hybrid model reveal itself with more coarse engine sounds. Lean in moderately with your right foot when in Sport mode, and you hear the slightest bit of motor whine, too, but it's such a refined experience overall.
There's no shortage of smaller storage spaces in the Avalon. Both the front and back doors have storage bins built in, while there are several spaces in the center console, and a leather-lidded bin for smarphone stowage. The keyfob, or other smaller items, fits neatly in a small, hinged, felt-lined bin ahead of the driver's left knee.
The new Avalon gets a 16-cubic-foot trunk, and with a flat floor and wide opening, you can fit a lot of grocery bags. Meanwhile, the Hybrid's 14-cubic-foot trunk is only slightly smaller than last year's 14.4-cu-ft cargo hold.
No models in the lineup get a capacitive screen, yet all models in the new lineup get capacitive dash switches. And the way that they were implemented is somehow far more intuitive than in many Ford, Lincoln, and Cadillac vehicles over the past couple of model years. Instead of tab that protrudes like a button, below the area you're supposed to press, Toyota frames the button area with a recessed rim. Sound-system volume sliders also work in a more precise, intuitive way than those in GM and Ford models with the same.
Up close, cabin materials are superb, and also a full league above those in the Camry. The dash and upper door trim are covered in soft-touch material, and the grains actually match throughout the area in the driver's sight.
Otherwise, the Avalon's ride quality is rather non-eventful; there's no longer a lot of body motion, or a super-pillowy, almost queasy ride. Instead it's more of a modern luxury-car ride: firm but not harsh, and just absorbent and yielding enough to completely filter out most bumps and road coarseness.