The Toyota Avalon has always been aimed squarely at those who enjoy a large and comfortable car. It is Lexus quiet, Toyota reliable, large enough for Americans, and reasonably priced. While a good car, though, the Avalon’s environmental credentials have never been strong. That’s about to change with the all-new 2013 Avalon Hybrid coming to Toyota showrooms later this year.

Toyota has clearly paid attention to the success of high efficiency mid-size vehicles. VW has its Passat TDI that offers 43 highway mpg, and Ford, with the new 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, is expected to hit EPA ratings of 47 city/44 highway mpg. Buyers of larger sedans are more environmentally conscious than ever and  Toyota needs those customers to come back, or stay with them. They are banking on the new 2013 Avalon, and the Avalon Hybrid, to help make up the fuel-efficient, midsize sedan ground they have lost.

The 2013 Avalon has been redesigned for today’s green, luxury, and value conscious buyers. It has also been designed to be more youthful, yet still appealing to the Avalon’s traditionally conservative buyers. The new Avalon Hybrid achieves 40 city/39 highway mpg and 40 mpg combined. That’s quite respectable given the size of this vehicle and the big improvement over the gasoline model’s best highway fuel economy rating of 31 mpg.

Power is supplied by a variant of the Toyota Synergy Drive hybrid system used in the Toyota Camry. It  features  a 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine with a 244.8-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery pack and two electric motor/generators, providing a total 200 system horsepower. A driver can select EV, ECO, and SPORT modes, with the EV mode allowing travel up to a mile on electric power alone at a maximum 25 mph.

Toyota’s all-new 2013 Avalon is significantly improved inside and out, appearing well-prepared to compete in the growing field of highly fuel efficient larger sedans. The North American-designed and engineered Avalon Hybrid will be built at Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky assembly plant. Its MSRP has yet to be announced.