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First look: Toyota US renews Avalon

Inoffensive: 2005 US Avalon shrugs off some its conservatism.

All-new Avalon surfaces in Detroit as preview for Australian redesign next year

17 Jan 2005

TOYOTA has rolled out an "all-new completely restyled" Avalon flagship in the US, providing valuable insights into the design and technology Australia’s next large Toyota sedan could feature.

Unveiled at the Detroit motor show last week before becoming available across the US in February, the 2005 Avalon brings significant advances in size, performance, luxury and styling.

Toyota Australia’s Camry-based Avalon was launched here in July 2000 as a virtual clone of the 1995-based US model before receiving subtle updates with the MkII and MkIII versions (October 2001 and October 2003 respectively).

But the redesigned Avalon, which is due to appear following the new Camry’s release late next year, will make a more individual, Australian-made statement in response to disappointing sales, and should at least comprise elements from the less conservative shape of America’s new Avalon.

Apart from the more contemporary look via an obligatory chromed grille, twin tailpipes and large tail-lights, the new model features a 100mm-longer wheelbase and is 25mm wider.

Equally significant is the 2005 US Avalon’s all-new 3.5-litre 24-valve V6, which will replace the 145kW 3.0-litre V6 currently available in Avalon here (making Avalon Toyota’s only V6 sedan available here with the next Camry expected to become a four-cylinder model only), as well as a five-speed auto with manual-shift mode.

Claimed to be the most powerful V6 ever offered by Toyota in the US, the new V6 employs VVT-i variable valve timing and a dual-stage intake manifold to produce 209kW – making it 33 per cent more powerful than before.

Significantly, it also bettering the current Commodore’s premium 190kW 3.6-litre V6, Falcon’s 182kW 4.0-litre inline six and even the 3.8-litre V6 that will power Mitsubishi’s new Galant (nee Magna) from October.

8 center image Developed by US-based Toyota Technical Centers, styled at Calty Design Research in California and to be built in Kentucky, the 2005 Avalon received final styling approval just 18 months ago, representing the quickest development time of any North American-produced Toyota.

To be available in four grades in the US - standard XL, plus a sportier Touring variant, well-equipped XLS grade and a Limited flagship – the 2005 US Avalon offers an all-new interior with seven-way adjustable steering column, sliding armrest, 10-degree reclining rear seats and a flat rear floor.

Limited versions also feature side mirror memory and high-intensity discharge headlights, while all US Avalons will offer ABS, EBD and BA, plus twin front, twin front side and twin front and rear side curtain airbags. Stability control will also be available.

Base US Avalons will include dual-zone climate control, a nine-speaker AM/FM/cassette/CD audio system, power-adjustable front seats, remote central locking, power windows with driver and passenger auto up/down and power door locks.

Stepping up to the Touring, there’s leather seat, steering wheel and shift knob trim, plus aluminium scuff plates.

XLS adds a power moonroof, four-way adjustable passenger seat, in-dash six-CD changer, heated electrochromic mirrors and a compass.

While 17-inch alloys are standard from the Touring grade (XL gets 16s) and the Limited gets an acoustic windscreen, 12-speaker JBL audio, power sunshade, driver’s seat memory and Smart Key system, new technology includes Toyota’s first in-glass LED indicator and LED puddle lights.

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