Toyota Avalon to get hybrid option

The blue badge on the nose and hybrid badges on the side distinguish this from the V6 model. Photo credit: Toyota
For the first time, Toyota Avalon buyers will have a choice of powertrains when the new car goes on sale later this year.

One option will be the familiar 3.5-liter DOHC V6 that sees duty in the current Avalon hooked to a revised six-speed automatic transmission. Toyota claims that this combination will achieve a fuel-mileage rating of 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

The new transmission also comes with the option of steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, although how much use those paddles will get remains to be seen, given the nature of a typical Avalon buyer.

The big news for the 2013 Avalon is the addition of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system. A 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine is connected to two electric motors within the CVT transaxle. One of the two electric motors is used to start the gasoline engine, while the second motor is responsible for propulsion and regenerative braking. The whole setup should be good for a combined output of 200 hp and a claimed fuel-economy rating of 40 mpg.

The hybrid powertrain can operate in EV mode for distances of up to one mile at speeds of less than 25 mph. The battery pack resides in the trunk, and the hybrid system adds about 97 pounds to the curb weight of the V6 car.

Like all Avalons before it, the 2013 model will be built in Georgetown, Ky., alongside the Camry. Toyota wouldn't confirm any details on pricing beyond saying that it likely would be similar to that of the 2012 model.


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