Georgetown, Ky., is a long way from that resort community named Avalon that lies off the coast of Southern California on Catalina Island.But the two locations have a common reference in Toyota's newest automobile, the 1995 Avalon.The Avalon is to be manufactured in the Toyota factory at Georgetown. And as the company's contribution to an easy living luxury-car market, Toyota has named its offering after the playground out in the sea.As a six-passenger four-door, the Avalon is somewhat of a king-sized automobile relative to the general run of Toyota vehicles. It exceeds the length of the Toyota Camry, and assumes the mantle of being the flagship car of the Toyota sedan lineup.Toyota Division Group Vice President Dave Illingworth said at the introduction of the car, "It is the roomiest, most sophisticated, best equipped sedan ever offered by Toyota Division."He could have added it also will be the most expensive when the car appears in Indianapolis Toyota dealers' showrooms this fall."Yes, it will be that," said Tom Poland, new car sales manager for Tom Wood Toyota. "But I'm still projecting an entry level price under $30,000."Actually, the Avalon is something of a kissing cousin to the Camry, as it will be manufactured exclusively at Georgetown and will be built on a stretched Camry platform.The two cars share Toyota's 3.0-liter (l82.6 cubic inch), 24- valve, all-aluminum V-6. But the upscale sedan gets the more powerful 192 horsepower version of the motor, and both the Avalon V-6 and the 188 horsepower Camry V-6 will be manufactured at the Georgetown plant beginning in 1995.As long as the company decided to manufacture a bigger car, it went the whole route. At 120.9 cubic feet of passenger volume, the EPA has classified the automobile as "large." That's nine cubic feet larger than the Camry, and 19 cubic feet larger than the Cressida the Avalon replaces.The exterior styling reflects the flagship look, and from the beginning the Avalon was meant to be the most American of all the Toyotas. Thus, most of the exterior and interior design facets were the responsibilities of the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., Torrance, Calif., and Whittman, Ariz.Designers were charged with the responsibility of determining the likes and dislikes of the American consumer in all aspects of the design process.The car will be offered in two grade levels, the standard XL and the more upstream XLS. The standard version possesses virtually a complete range of equipment, including items like dual air bags, stereo, four- speed automatic, power and the like. Going to the next level takes in luxury features like leather, ABS (anti-lock braking system), power sunroof, keyless entry and a premium sound system.The driver's compartment is state-of- the-art, with a four gauge (speedometer, tachometer, temperature, fuel) instrument panel right within easy viewing of the driver. You have everything you need to drive fast or slow in pl ace.Stereo and temperature controls lie to the right of the steering wheel, and turn signal, wiper and cruise control stalks lie underneath it. So you're not on any big learning curve the first time you step in to drive this car.While the Avalon is based upon an extended Camry platform, the new sedan goes its own way in regards to suspension componentry. The front-drive has its own suspension built on front and rear sub-frames to accommodate four more inches of wheelbase.The steering ratio also is revised to give a moderately quick 2.72 turns lock-to- lock (full left to full right or vice versa) that results in a combination of big car ride with sports-type handling.Toyota says high priority was given to weight saving, to where curb weight in base trim is being projected as only 11 pounds more than the Camry LE V-6. In this case, I'd say with 192 horses in hand this thing isgoing to run.Look for 0-60 miles per hour at around 8 seconds, or maybe a couple of ticks of the watch less, and top speed in the 130 miles per hour bracket."I believe they've (Toyota) found a niche in the market," Poland said. "It may be a little less than 5 percent. But we have a segment of buyers that want a little more than is found in the Camry, and the Avalon will give it to them." 1995 Toyota Avalon Base price: Not available.Type: Front-engine, front-drive, six-passenger, large sedan.Engine: 3.0 liters, V-6, 24 valves, fuel injected, 192 horsepower, 210 foot-pounds of torque.Transmission: Four-speed automatic.Acceleration: 8.0 seconds. (Est.)Mileage: 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway. (Est.)Wheelbase: 107.1 inches.Length: 190.2 inches.Width: 70.3 inches.Height: 55.9 inches.Curb weight: 3,252 pounds.Options: Premium audio, leather, power sunroof, ABS braking, power split bench front seat, automatic climate control, theft deterrent system, keyless entry system.
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