There are three driving-mode settings: EV (electric), ECO, and Sport. Toyota says the Avalon can be driven about a mile at speeds up to 20 mph on electric power under ideal conditions. We experienced that several times, but also could make the EV indicator light up after accelerating to an anticipated cruising speed between 30 and 40 mph, then backing off the throttle and using minimal pressure on the gas pedal.
On the road, the electric power steering had a good feel and the revamped suspension—a bit on the firm side for Toyota—made for secure handling.
If you haven’t guessed already, the conclusion here is that the Avalon hybrid “is a keeper.”
2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Sedan Limited
Price, base/as tested (with destination): $42,210 / $43,303. Fuel economy, EPA estimated: 40 city, 39 highway, 40 combined. Fuel economy, Globe observed: 43.8.
Drivetrain: 2.5-liter gas engine, 2 electric motors, CVT, front-wheel-drive. Body: 5-passenger sedan.
Horsepower: 156 (200 combined). Torque: 199 lb.-ft. (combined). Overall length: 195.2 in. Wheelbase: 111.0 in. Height: 57.5 in. Curb weight: 3,585 lbs.
THE GOOD: Styling, economy, performance, reliability.
THE BAD: Price, slight reduction in trunk space (for battery pack).
THE BOTTOM LINE: The state of the art in automotive manufacturing.
ALSO CONSIDER: Ford Fusion hybrid, Lincoln MKZ hybrid, Toyota Camry hybrid, Volkswagen Passat diesel.