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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
In addition to all the expected modern safety features, like electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, and a Smart Stop brake-override system—plus ten airbags in all. In particular, driver and front passenger knee bags and rear outboard seat-mounted bags are standard equipment and beyond the typical sedan safety set.
Look to the options list for the 2013 Avalon—on top XLE Touring and Limited models—and you'll find several especially innovative features, based on radar systems that are usually reserved for true luxury-brand cars. Of these the true standout is the Rear Cross Traffic Alert system, which uses sensors in the rear quarter panels to help detect vehicles as they approach from the side and behind the vehicle—especially helpful if you're backing out of a driveway with an obstructed view, or out of a tight space in a busy parking structure, for instance. Additionally, all but the base Avalon XLE come with a backup camera system.
The available Blind Spot Monitor is tuned to detect vehicles larger than 125-cc motorcycles at speeds over 10 mph, and with a speed differential less than 27 mph, to help reduce false signals, and it warns you with a beep and screen warning.
Adaptive cruise control and a pre-collision system are also offered on the top Limited model as part of a Tech Package.
The new Avalon hasn't yet been crash-tested by either of the U.S. agencies, but we do see it as a positive that this model is somewhat structurally related to both the 2013 Toyota Camry and the 2013 Lexus ES 350. Both of those cars have received excellent safety ratings, with both of the models earning the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick accolade and the Camry garnering a five-star overall score from the feds.
The 2013 Toyota Avalon is shaping up to be one of the safest large sedans on the market, with some very useful active-safety features.