Vehicles

Avalon Arrival: Ready For Prime Time & Padded Profits

Posted on June 30, 2013 by - Also by this author

Page 1 of 4

While checking out the 2013 Toyota Avalon models at the International LCT Show in February, an operator enthused about how it’s the perfect vehicle for chauffeured sedan service.

Except for one thing: It’s badged as a Toyota, he said. He told the representatives to remove the “Toyota” label from the car to widen its appeal in a luxury vehicle market.

Well, after a round of test drives, with one of us driving the 2013 Avalon XLE and the other the 2013 Avalon Hybrid Premium, we really don’t see the label problem. Toyota has refined its livery sedans to the point that they blend right into the black car luxury mix, inside and out. If the only problem with a high quality car is its symbol, or label, then that’s the type of issue you can work through.

Limousine operators experimenting with the Avalon report clients don’t care if it’s a Toyota. Maybe that’s because so much of America drives one or has driven one at some point. Or because we are entering a no-labels era, focusing instead on hard-core quality and value. Or because the dreadful recession and slow recovery have made us mature a little faster.

For LCT Magazine’s test drives, Editor Martin Romjue drove the Avalon XLE gasoline model, and [former] associate editor Michael Campos, the Southern California freeway commuter, was relieved to get the hybrid version.

Martin: 2013 Toyota Avalon XLE

The smooth, quiet ride, V-6 power, and the legroom reminded me of the Cadillac XTS, although the Avalon, priced at about $31,360, does not have all the tech gadgets found on an XTS, priced at $43,495.

Toyota is able to sell the Avalon at this price level because it focuses on the luxury basics. There’s no sunroof, built-in navigation, satellite radio, or gadgets that drive up the price. Its simple, clean lines on the redesigned body-style and tighter rear-end give the structure and shape the heft of a solid luxury sedan. Ample leg- and head-room in the right rear seat [with right front seat pitched forward] are suitable for any chauffeured client.

There’s plenty of power and presence on the road, with ample energy to accelerate. Cornering is irrelevant in a chauffeured vehicle, because the last thing a chauffeur should do is cause a client to lurch from fast swerves, sudden starts, and/or roaring entries onto the freeways. But in case a chauffeur needs to quickly get to the next client, just saying, the Avalon can zip and zoom.

The 16 cubic feet of trunk space provides enough room for two corporate luggage sets, each consisting of: Big roller suitcase, a small suitcase, and a carry-on bag/briefcase. [The hybrid model has 14 cubic feet of trunk space due to battery positioning in the rear of the vehicle].

Some minor areas to improve: Other versions of the Avalon, including one I test drove in 2011, have a partial recline feature for the back seats, allowing an additional 10% pitch. This should be added to future livery sedan models, as it directly enhances the client’s luxury experience. The car also could use some rear seat fan/AC controls to complement the rear-seat radio controls.

But don’t take my word for it. This all sounds better coming from real limousine operators, so I asked three of them how the Avalon has fared in their fleets.

Facts: 2013 Avalon XLE

  • MSRP: $31,360
  • EPA est. mpg: 21 city/31 highway/25 combined
  • Gas engine: 3.5-liter, 6-cylinder; 268 hp; 248 lb-ft torque
  • Trunk capacity: 16 cu. ft.
  • Fuel tank capacity: 17 gal.
  • Octane rating: 87
  • Rear leg room: 39.2 in.
  • Rear head room: 37.9 in.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (1 Comment)

More News

Tesla Model S On Autopilot Involved In Crash

The vehicle struck a tourist bus in Germany, slightly injuring the driver.

Why, It's Just The Cutest Little Bubble Bus

Las Vegas casinos are about to get a small, self-driving shuttle.

Tiffany Limo Bus Offers Versatile Entertainment

Vehicle Pick Of The Week: The used 2012 MY party bus has low miles for under $100,000.

New Cadillac CT6 Helps Move Brand

The vehicle is priced right to make strides in the competitive luxury car class.

Bespoke Rolls-Royce Interiors To Make You Marvel

From one-of-a-kind cars to extremely limited-edition runs, here are just a few of the marvels that have been built.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (1)

Post a Comment

Submit

Blogs

See More

See More

See More

See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - September 2016 $12.95 COVER STORY: * How Do We Max Our Markets? * *



Connect

Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close