• Restyled inside and out, with lower weight and smaller exterior dimensions
  • Sportier chassis with stiffer suspension
  • Premium equipment, including standard touchscreen audio

As Toyota introduces new and redesigned models across its lineup, the company aims to build vehicles that have greater emotional appeal and offer more engaging driving dynamics. To that end, designers in the U.S. that Toyota calls "youthful and talented" created the 2013 Avalon. The sedan, completely redesigned inside and out, made its world debut at the New York Auto Show.

The new Avalon rides on the same wheelbase as the current car but is smaller and lighter. Toyota says it's sportier too, thanks to a more rigid chassis and revised suspension. And while driving dynamics may be sportier, luxury remains. The new cabin is more elegant and sophisticated, pampering driver and passengers with a list of premium features.

Overall length, width and height have all been reduced. The tight dimensions contribute to an estimated 119-lb weight savings over the current model. Despite its smaller exterior size, Toyota says the 2013 Avalon's interior remains "highly spacious."

The size and weight reduction likely contribute to better handling, as does the new Avalon's more rigid chassis, which is buttressed by additional bracing and the use of high-strength steel. Handling and body control are also improved by a revised suspension. It uses higher spring rates and stiffer sway bars to keep the Avalon's still-significant mass in check.

Judging by the look of the new Avalon's cabin, designers tried just as hard to improve the car's luxury as they as they did to make it sportier to drive. The current model's interior looks decidedly pedestrian compared with the elegant lines inside the 2013 Avalon. Materials are upscale, and the design, which includes stitched leather, chrome and wood trim, is modern yet restrained. Standard features include a 6.1-inch touchscreen display audio system, while equipment such as capacitive touch switches, three-zone climate control, heated and cooled front seats, a 7-inch touchscreen navigation system and adaptive cruise control will be offered.

With its wide model lineup, Toyota has long brought a strong value proposition in nearly every vehicle segment. But now the company wants to build cars people love, not just ones that make sense. Will the new 2013 Avalon appeal to hearts as well as minds? We'll see when it arrives in showrooms late this year. But at the New York Auto Show, it appears Toyota is moving in the right direction.

What it means to you: Arriving in showrooms late this year, the smaller and lighter 2013 Avalon promises sportier driving dynamics and more refined luxury.

Check out more news from the New York Auto Show.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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