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Toyota Avalon improves its looks and luxe (pictures)

The largest Toyota sedan offers amenities and tech rivaling its Lexus-badged cousins, but with a smaller price tag.

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Antuan Goodwin

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2014 Toyota Avalon Limited

Previous generations of the Toyota Avalon had, at least in my mind, a reputation as an old person's car.

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2 of 30 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2014 Toyota Avalon Limited

Toyota has injected the fourth-generation Toyota Avalon sedan with a youth serum in a bid to attract younger buyers.

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Streamlined

The 2014 model features a slicker profile and a more streamlined version of the automaker's corporate grill.

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Headlamps

Quad HID headlamps and LED daytime runners accent and illuminate. Active high-beam tech prevents drivers from dazzling oncoming traffic.

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Full-size

The Toyota Avalon is a full-size sedan that is significantly larger than the Toyota Camry.

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Front-wheel drive

However, the front-wheel drive configuration and underpinnings will be familiar to anyone who's looked at a Toyota spec sheet.

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Engine bay

Lift the hood and you'll be met with a heavily padded engine cover, which contributes to the Avalon's quiet performance.

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2GR-FE engine

Under that cover is the automaker's 2GR-FE engine, which outputs 268 horsepower.

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Six-speed automatic

That engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that features sport and manual shift programs.

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Drive modes

The power train also features Sport and Eco drive modes that adjust the character of the performance.

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Safety tech

The Avalon Limited comes with a respectable level of standard safety features.

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Rear camera

The standard rear camera's feed is sharp and bright.

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Dynamic guides

The view out of the back also features dynamic guide lines that steer with the front wheels.

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Interior

The Avalon's interior uses a good blend of materials, shapes, and textures.

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Entune navigation

Entune navigation, standard here but optional at lower trim levels, features crisply rendered 2D maps and logical routing software.

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Capacitive buttons

I'm not a fan of capacitive buttons on the dashboard, but the Avalon's touch points feature nicely machined cutouts.

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JBL Synthesis

The 11-speaker JBL Synthesis stereo is surprisingly bass-friendly.

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Entune apps

Via a paired smartphone or over the satellite radio connection, Entune apps enhance the cabin tech experience.

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Qi wireless charging

At the base of the center stack, our test model was equipped with an optional Qi wireless charger.

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Playing with power

Dropping a compatible phone on this pad charges its battery without connecting cables.

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Connections bay

In a pocket, you'll find the conventional 12-volt power port, auxiliary and USB inputs, and the power switch for the Qi charge pad.

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Blind-spot monitoring

Blind-spot monitoring and multiple levels of stability control round out the safety tech.

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Adaptive cruise

An optional Tech Package adds Adaptive Cruise Control and a Forward Pre-Collision alert system.

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Push to start

Easy access seats, smart key entry, and push-button start are nice convenience features.

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Instrument cluster

Instrumentation is simple and clear.

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Multi-info display

Between the gauges is a small information display that can be cycled through a wide range of data.

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Wing mirrors

Strakes along the bottom edge of the wing mirrors reduce wind noise at speed.

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Rear climate controls

The spacious rear seats have their own third climate control zone and independently controlled, heated surfaces.

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Easy rider

The Avalon's ride was smooth and comfortable, but not so soft that it felt messy.

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Check out the full review

With luxury rivaling its Lexus cousins, there's a lot to like about the 2014 Toyota Avalon Limited.

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