The first available power train is Toyota's 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine. This is the same direct-injected mill that provides locomotive duties for the 2012 Toyota Camry V-6 XLE, outputting an identical 248 pound-feet of torque and being paired with a similar six-speed automatic transaxle. In the approximately 100-pound-heavier Avalon, this power train will achieve an estimated 25 mpg combined (21 city/ 31 hwy), only losing a single highway mpg when compared twith its smaller sibling.
Additionally, the Avalon will be available as a hybrid model, powered by Toyota's 2.5-liter HSD engine, which you can find also under the hood of (you guessed it) the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE. The gasoline engine's 153 pound-feet of torque is added to the 200 pound-foot electric motor's output via planetary gear magic for a total system rating of 200 horsepower being sent through the E-CVT and onward to the front wheels.
The Avalon Hybrid will receive an EPA estimate of 40 mpg in the city, 39 mpg on the highway, and 40 mpg combined. Here, again, the Avalon isn't far off the mark of the Camry Hybrid XLE.
Along with sharing both of its engine options with the smaller sedan, the Avalon also shrinks slightly in most exterior dimensions, bringing the vehicle that I've referred to before as the "Big Camry" slightly closer to the dimensions of the actual Camry. Then again, I like really liked the 2012 Camry Hybrid when I reviewed it earlier this year, so perhaps a bit more available space and luxury with the same great power train is a good choice to have.
If the Avalon performs anything like the current Camry does -- and let's face it, with only 2 inches' difference in length and 100 pounds separating them, it probably does -- then the 2.5-liter hybrid is going to be the powerplant to buy. While the hybrid's torque probably places it on even footing with the V-6, neither of these cars are probably what I'd call "fast," taking away the allure of buying the bigger engine.
Likewise, I suspect that Toyota will place even more emphasis on "comfort" when tuning the Avalon's suspension than it does with the already cushy Camry, making the HSD system's effortlessly smooth acceleration and quiet performance a particularly good complement to the ride. We'll have to wait until I get behind the wheel to know if my hunch is correct, but until then there's no denying the Hybrid's better fuel economy as its final advantage.
The pricing of the 2013 Toyota Avalon V-6 and Hybrid models has not been unveiled just yet, but with the sedans hitting dealerships later this year, we expect to hear something soon.