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New Toyota Avalon Hybrid to Hit 40 MPG

Compact fuel economy from full-size sedan.

by on Jul.12, 2012

The 2013 Avalon will be the first of the big Toyota sedans to get a hybrid drivetrain.

Who says big cars have to get low mileage?  The EPA has given Toyota’s newly redesigned 2013 Avalon sedan a 40 mpg rating, about what much smaller cars as the Hyundai Elantra are getting.

The asterisk is that the newly approved rating covers the 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid, one of several different powertrain options that will be offered when the new sedan reaches market later this year – and likely at a significant price premium over the Avalon’s conventional, gas-powered alternative.

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Nonetheless, Toyota is betting it will generate some serious buzz with that sort of figure at a time when fuel economy has become the number one consideration for a large swath of American new car buyers.

The 40 mpg number is for the EPA’s City and Combined cycle tests, the Avalon will get 39 miles to the gallon on the Highway, according to the federal test cycle.  One needs recall that hybrids break the traditional rules and do better in stop-and-go driving that helps them recharge their batteries.

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First Drive: 2012 Toyota Camry

Putting the brand on the line.

by on Aug.24, 2011

Toyota bills the 2012 Camry as a revolutionary redesign for the best-selling midsize sedan.

Few cars more clearly define a brand than Toyota’s midsize Camry sedan, a nameplate that has led the U.S. passenger car sales charts for 13 of the last 14 years.  And, arguably, no product is more important to Toyota as the maker struggles to emerge from a series of setbacks – including 2010’s safety recalls and this year’s earthquake-led production shortages.

Bringing a new car to market is a long and involved process, so it’s serendipitous that what Toyota is billing as “the reinvention of the Camry” will be ready to roll into showrooms for an October launch — just as the maker gets production at the last of its plants back up to speed.  The 25-year-old factory in Georgetown, Kentucky is already starting to build the first of the 2012 Toyota Camrys so we jumped at the chance to take the sedan for a spin through the challenging mountainous terrain in central Washington, a few hours east of Seattle.

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The Japanese giant is making some bold claims for the new 4-door, billing the 2012 Camry as essentially all-new — though that’s a matter of definition.  While the sedan still rides on the same platform as the outgoing model, the sheet metal has been completely redone for the new model-year, and 90% of the Camry’s parts have been “re-engineered.”

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Toyota Cutting Price on 2012 Camry

Maker bows to increasingly competitive market.

by on Aug.24, 2011

Toyota will cut $1,150 off the starting price of the new 2012 Camry LE Hybrid.

Today will cut the price on its updated 2012 Camry sedan by as much as $2,000, depending on the specific model – a move that reflects the increasingly competitive nature of the U.S. midsize car market, the maker acknowledged during the official launch of the new model.

That doesn’t reflect the recent run-up in Toyota’s rebates and other incentives. The maker has increased givebacks, in recent months, as it has struggled to reverse declining sales.

Few cars are as important as Camry to Toyota, the sedan topping the passenger car sales charts for the last nine years, and 13 of the last 14 years, but in recent months, demand for the Camry has been slumping, and Toyota doesn’t want to risk momentum as it begins one of its most important new product launches in years.

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“We expect Camry will continue to earn its position as America’s number-one selling passenger car,” said Toyota brand boss Bob Carter, speaking from Los Angeles at an event simulcast to media gathered in a number of cities around the country.

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