2011 Toyota Avalon: Redesigned Sedan Premieres in Chicago Amidst Recall Frenzy

Rest assured, the last thing on anybody's mind during the presentation of the facelifted 2011 Avalon was the car itself. But there's no need to repeat the same questions and answers we've already heard over and over the past couple of weeks, so let's concentrate on the refreshed Avalon saloon.

First of all, Toyota guaranteed that when new Avalon reaches Toyota's US dealerships this spring, it will have the redesigned accelerator pedal assembly and -just in case- a brake override system.

Unfortunately, the faint redesign didn't cure another dangerous feature of the Avalon, its... 'killer' (by boredom) looks. Then again, we reckon that as long as it keeps a steady pace on the road, its "mature" audience won't mind at all.

What Toyota describes as a "bold redesign" on the outside translates to new headlamps, a wider grille, front fog lamps that are now integrated into a trapezoidal front bumper, extra chrome trim down the side and redesigned rocker panels.

The revised tail lights and rear bumper at the back along with the 17-inch wheels on the Limited grade complete the list with the exterior updates.

More attention was paid to the interior that gets a new instrument panel incorporates with... highly readable Optitron gauges and trim finishes, reshaped rear headrests and thicker stitching on the seats.

In addition, the leather-trimmed front seats and seatbacks on the Limited are fitted with ventilation systems and an enlarged perforation area, while Bluetooth connectivity, USB and 1/8-inch auxiliary connections for iPod and other audio devices are now standard across the range.

The optional DVD Navigation system has been revised and includes new displays for road icons and points of interest, and a keyboard screen arranged in the same way as a personal computer.

There are no changes under the hood with all 2011 Avalons featuring a 268HP 3.5-liter V6 petrol engine mated to a multi-mode six-speed automatic transmission. According to Toyota, the 2011 Avalon returns an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city, 29 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined

The 2011 Avalon will begin arriving at Toyota dealerships nationally in spring 2010.