Toyota's sometimes-forgotten large car will enjoy a light update for the 2011 model year, highlighted by freshened exterior and interior designs and a longer standard-feature list. It makes its world debut at the Chicago auto show
A close inspection of the exterior reveals a wider grille and new headlamp housings with xenon low beams and light pipes to produce a unique nighttime look. Fog lights are now integrated into the front trapezoidal bumper. In addition, the rocker panels and outside mirrors with integrated turn signals are redone
Out back, the taillights sport a new, sleeker shape for reduced drag and include LED light pipes. The dual-exhaust outlets are integrated into the rear bumper through a trapezoid shape outlet to continue the theme started with the fog lights up front
Interior updates focused on spaciousness and comfort with luxury touches from the woodgrain trim. Rear occupants get larger and reshaped headrests to go along with reclining rear seats. A new instrument panel uses easy-to-read Optitron gauges, and steering-wheel controls for audio, climate and information systems are included
New standard equipment includes Bluetooth hands-free phone and music streaming, XM satellite radio and both a USB and 1/8-inch auxiliary connectors for portable music players. A touch-screen navigation system with rearview monitor is an option
Powertrain equipment is carried over from the current car with a 3.5-liter, 268-hp V6 bolted to a six-speed automatic transmission. However, fuel-economy ratings improved by 1 mpg in both the city and highway to 20 mpg/29 mpg over the current model
When the 2011 Avalon goes on sale in April, it will be offered in base and Limited trims. Base Avalons will include an eight-way leather-trimmed power driver's seat, backup camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, moonroof and 17-inch alloy wheels as standard equipment. In addition to all of that, Limited versions get an eight-way passenger's seat with lumbar support, driver's-seat cushion extension, rain-sensing wipers, Smart Key, cooled leather seats and 17-inch, 10-spoke mirror-finish wheels.