2013 Toyota Avalon
2013 Toyota Avalon
The competition: Buick LaCrosse, Ford Taurus, Chrysler 300 (clockwise from upper right)

This is the car that Toyota dealers cheered when they saw it for the first time last winter -- and with good reason. Designed at Toyota's CALTY studio in Newport Beach, the big sedan has an aggressive look combined with a more lavish interior. A hybrid will be available for the eco-minded. Cynics may call it "Big Camry," but against this undistinguished and aging field, the Avalon might as well be Keira Knightly competing in a beauty contest against Joan Rivers.

Advantage: Avalon

By Alex Taylor III, senior editor-at-large @FortuneMagazine - Last updated August 01 2012: 5:45 AM ET
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The midyear in autos: 10 ups and downs

As the old philosopher said - no good deed goes unpunished. Here's a roundup of this year's car news highlights so far, along with their companion lows.

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