By on April 4, 2007

01_07_avalon22.jpgThe last time Toyota sold sex-on-wheels it came arrived in the form of the flying flagship known as the Supra. The Supra holstered an inline six with twin turbos sending over 300 horses to the rear wheels (335i anyone?). But Toyota’s mid-market meteorologists knew which way the wind was blowing. So they sent their one trick pony car back to the factory to be made into rubber and glue. Now Toyota has two flagships with the combined excitement of rubber and glue: the granola Prius and the grandpa Avalon.

Honestly, I love boulevardiers. Big power and cushy seats speak to my inner geezer. Why speed when you can waft? So I approached my Avalon XLS tester with all the anticipation of a Boca Raton resident about to sample a new early bird special from a dog-eared deli menu. As for appearance, well, normally I’d say a car’s looks are subjective. But when it comes to the Avalon’s sheetmetal, I don’t have an opinion.

64_07_avalon_xls.jpgOK; it looks like a fat Camry. Cancel my pistonhead street cred card, but I like the way the Toyota Camry looks. Unfortunately, this full figured version loses some of the Camry’s interesting features. OK, it ditches ALL of the Camry’s interesting features– save the one they SHOULD have deep-sixed: the Bangle butt.

Taken as a whole, the Avalon left me thinking about marshmallows– which is good if you’re holding hot chocolate and graham crackers at a camp site, not so good if you’re a car buyer who appreciates a finely turned fender. Not that the average Avalon buyer allows such lascivious thoughts into their heads, God forbid.

43_07_avalon_limited222.jpgStrangely, the interior doesn’t reflect this blander-is-better ideology. Instead, Toyota’s designers opted for a thoroughly modern motif. Oh, that definition only applies if you consider giant sheets of matte-finished silver plastic the latest word in contemporary styling. For me, it’s a retro-modern thing; my parents’ ‘88 Nissan Maxima sported a similarly “modern” faux nickelfest. A few years later it looked like someone went crazy with a sandblaster.

I digress. Besides the wannabe metal skin, my tester’s interior was suffused with wannabe wood. To paraphrase the venerable Spice Girls, “If you wannabe my lover, skip the tacky wood trim”. Especially when it’s misaligned from the doors to the dash. Oops.

36_07_avalon_limited.jpgErgonomically, the Avalon didn’t challenge my arthritis.  Aspiring Starfleet pilots will feel right at home working the space age climate control buttons. As the car’s target market can [vaguely] recall propeller-driven air travel, the Avalon’s translucent buttons are an odd choice. They also bring the dashboard material count to six: fake brushed metal, chrome, wood, translucent rubber and standard plastic. Too much the magic bus.

If you’ve ever driven the Toyota Supra, you’ll know exactly how the Avalon doesn’t drive. The Avalon’s 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve Dual VVT-i V6 purrs like a tranquilized cat. Although the sedan’s schizophrenically frugal mill (22/31) has enough grunt (268 horses) for brisk straight line acceleration, it ain’t gonna happen. Tip in is more like “ooze in.” Full-bore acceleration is fully boring, sonically speaking.

66_07_avalon.jpgThe Avalon felt a little floaty on the highway. More surprisingly, the car’s suspension isn’t as bump-absorbent as you’d expect– although I’m sure there’s a prescription medication that can eliminate the issue for the Avalon's core clientele. Steering feedback is nonexistent, which abates torque steer, but makes driving a challenge. The process is multifaceted. First, you turn the wheel. Then you look where you’re headed. Then you make corrections. Lather, rinse and repeat.  

Avalonistas might be thinking “there goes another adrenalin afflicted car reviewer asking a luxury car to be a sports car.” Not at all. I’m asking the Avalon to be a calm, confident and relaxed cruiser. You know: a proper luxury car. Aside from that fact that the Avalon is crammed with all the high tech gadgets that old people most buyers will never be able to operate, the sedan lacks that luxurious X-factor that makes you go “ahhhh”– instead of “I wonder if we’re having leftover pot roast for dinner.”

65_07_avalon_xls.jpgWhen the first generation Avalon was introduced, those in the know dismissed it as nothing more than a bigger Camry. Well, nothing’s changed. Which leaves me wondering: why would anyone buy an Avalon? For around $4k less, you can get the better looking, better driving Camry with nearly all the same features. You can buy a Hell of a lot of Metamucil with that kind of money.

By the same token, if you’re really in the mood to blow 35 large on a front wheel-drive Toyota sedan, why not move on up to a Lexus ES350? It looks better, snobs better (think higher resale value) and the Lexus dealership treats you like Mr. Big Shot Moneybags. Huh. And here I was thinking Toyota had ditched performance to be the sensible brand.

 

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70 Comments on “Toyota Avalon Review...”


  • avatar
    GS650G

    Sean Connery did commercials in Japan for the Avalon. He was shown walking around the car and uttered a single word “Impressive”

    I guess that is what it takes to move one in Tokyo. I wonder if that represents their target customer or their ideal owner: a 60’s something mature , worldly type who speaks with a British accent.

  • avatar

    GS650G:

    Scottish.

  • avatar

    Compared to the previous Avalon, which I personally derided as “designed by Dilbert,” this one’s an aesthetic masterpiece. It may not be a beauty, but it’s got presence that previous Avalons sorely lacked. Also compared to the Camry.

    Totally agree on the lifeless steering and the experience of using it. I thought the engine fairly strong, though.

    For price comparisons and such:

    http://www.truedelta.com/models/Avalon.php

  • avatar
    jurisb

    avalon comfortably occupies the niche left by old sedate and composed crown victorians, roadmasters and caprices. sure it doesn`t make records on g force, but offers big plushy benches and a silent interior for retirees who have entered their autumn years. who prohibits detroit from buiding highway cruisers?short hands? in europe there is no place for avalon, because europe is proliferated by small ziggy roads and crazy fuel prices, so customers have to squeeze out everything from each corner. plus highways in usa are as straight as Schwarzenneggers sexual orientation, and do not provoke drivers for chicane smechking. avalon is your grandfathers car. at it`s best. no oldsmobile jokes here. it can`t be compared to any lexus, for lexus is a driving pleasure, this is a cruising pleasure. probablya competitor to mitsubishi diamante, or partly to nissan maxima.

  • avatar
    Joe ShpoilShport

    GS650G:

    70’s something mature…

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    The Avalon’s claimed 0-60 time is a driving factor in my plans to mod my car.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    I’m been looking for a good used supra for the last couple years. too bad they still sell for $20k. ahh well. anyhow this does look like a nice granpa-mobile. nothing wrong with that.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    It’s nice to finally read a review of the Avalon that doesn’t mention Buick.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    …not saying that Buick isn’t an apt comparison, just overused.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    …and here I am bringing it up.

  • avatar
    boredlawstudent

    A while back I looked at both the Azera and Avalon when my parents were thinking about a new sedan. While the Azera was a good value, I still felt the Avalon was smoother and better built. Shrinking Azera sales seem to confirm my thoughts.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    Compared to the Buick Lucerne, the Avalon is so much better that it boggles the mind. Even with V-8 power, the Lucerne can’t keep up with the Avalon.

    Add in Toyota reliability and resale value, and you have a winner. I know a number of people who’ve bought the Avalon, and all of them rave about the car. Most of them moved up from a Camry, so Toyota’s got thier game right.

    It does exactly what it sets out to do, and does it very well. It’s fast, quiet, luxurious, and reliable. BTW, the heated and cooled seats are very comfortable.

    It’s the Buick GM can’t (or won’t) build.

  • avatar
    HawaiiJim

    Zarba:

    And what a great name for a car.

  • avatar
    Gottleib

    Michael Karesh said, “Compared to the previous Avalon, which I personally derided as “designed by Dilbert,” this one’s an aesthetic masterpiece. It may not be a beauty, but it’s got presence that previous Avalons sorely lacked.” Now I know why I like Dilbert so much, because I really liked the previous Avalon style to this current one. In fact I have one a 2000 model and it is true that it is a very smooth riding car with not a sporty or harsh aspect to it. My only complaint is that the seat is too short for my 6″2″ long legs, but then my wife is the main driver so we are good there. Compared to the Camry the Avalon has a decent back seat and can accomodate passengers without complaint. To me it is the most resonable alternative to one of the L versions of the competition and the Lexus is just too expensive for us normal people. The sytling of the 00-04 model has a hint of a Rolls Hooper body sedan from the 1950s, especially the rear side glass and the roof treatment. Maybe its not on the top list of design attributes that sells cars but I find it quite refreshing from the bubble look that seems so prevalent now. I also think the instrument panel is one of the most attractive and functional, certainly much better than the stainless steel look in the new model. Of course my all time favorite insturment panel design of all times is the thermo speedo and dash of the 61-67 fintail Mercedes Benz. That design just has to be the most pleasing design ever conceived for a passenger car. I really wish MB kept that design, it would fit even in todays cars. Those liking the Avalon really should consider the Ford 500, Mercury Montego which are very similar dimensionally and not quite so pricey.

  • avatar
    Glenn A.

    Granola Prius?! Enough with the stereotypes already! You guys can do better than that.

    I can’t wait to see the TTAC test drives in 5-10 years when the only surviving new cars are powered by electricity, or are butanol-electric hybrids or something.

    Wonder if you’ll describe ALL cars as Granola then?

  • avatar
    Axel

    The Buick Lucerne is better looking, for what it’s worth.

    Which isn’t much.

  • avatar

    Glenn A.:

    Sure! Nothing wrong with granola. Keeps you regular.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Image 1 Caption:

    ‘Senior’s Day at Walgreens’

  • avatar

    The previous generation of Avalon is astounding; nearly as up market as it’s Lexus platform mate but without the pomp.

    It rides like a cloud, swaddles you in leather and has paint fit for a car twice twice price.

    The current model has far too much plastic inside and seems cheap and floppy not like the luxo-tank it’s predicessor was.

    The only two serious strikes against the previous generation were it was about 50hp short of fun and the steering feel leaves a lot to the imagination.. literally. I suppose if it had 50 more ponies you’d want more side support too; but I understand some people don’t like that.

  • avatar
    rossjk

    This car reminds me of being to a movie I’ve already seen. Not sure I understand why it’s being reviewed. Are there people on this list who would consider buying the Avalon?

  • avatar
    HawaiiJim

    rossjk:

    Sure.

  • avatar
    C. Alan

    Caption 1:

    Florida gridlock after bingo lets out.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Image 3 Caption:

    ‘Key fob includes useful hearing aid volume tester’

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    “Sean Connery did commercials in Japan for the Avalon. He was shown walking around the car and uttered a single word “Impressive””

    It reminds me of the scene in Lost in Translation when Bill Murray is at a whiskey photoshoot. The director keeps saying “More Intensity!”

  • avatar
    mattrix

    Does anyone here ever use truedelta? I see Michael Karesh post after every single comment and I was wondering if it is a usefull site?

    Matt

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Truthfully I prefer the Lucerne to the Avalon. For one, it feels more substantive and solid, which I appreciate in a land yacht.

  • avatar
    Seth

    I’ve got to chime in here…

    Avalon is no camry. Please stop comparing it with camry. Both are different beasts. Avalon is a great car and the only fault I can find is the lack of foot room (not knee room or leg room) in the back. Front seats should be raised a bit and that will let the feet slide in. Otherwise, its perfect.

    Silver shiny plastic is well.. I am on the fence here. Solara’s interior has the same but looks very elegant (much more than current camry which came out one full generation after solara). Avalon too looks elegant with the fake aluminium dash.

    It keeps the cost down and in case of an accident, metal might be dangerous on dash.

  • avatar
    boredlawstudent

    Wouldn’t a slightly used Cadillac CTS be the better choice? I felt the CTS had better grained plastics than the Avalon. It handles better, looks better (my opinion) and one can be had for less than the cost of an Avalon.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Seth:

    Although I agree that there are some differences in driving feel, particularly in the areas of steering feedback and ride firmness, I’d maintain that a few inches of space is not difference enough to justify the enormous chunk of change separating their prices.

    What’s the basis of your claim that these two cars are different “beasts?”

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    The most amazing part is that a car this boring can generate so many comments! We all need to get a life!

  • avatar
    svensk

    To the guy who says the avalon can smoke the v8 lucerne…what are you smoking?
    Looks like the GM bean counters were outsourced to Japan. Look at that…*scratches head* neutral looking interior. I think they borrowed those plastics from a mid- ’90s Sony stereo system.

  • avatar

    Yes, the comments are in reverse order. It was an experiment. The old order will be restored ASAP. Thank you for your patience.

  • avatar
    partsisparts

    How about a Mercury Montego or the upcoming Sable? Both are large,roomy and dull. But for older folks the Mercury’s seats are so high off the ground, it is easier for the seniors to get in and out. Also, the Merc is a lot cheaper.
    I know the Toyota has more power, but the target market does not care.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I’ve used Truedelta a few times – it’s been very useful, especially when comparing vehicle dimensions, equipment level, etc.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    Since we are on the topic of older Toyotas such as the Supra, let’s not forget the Cressida. I had one of the last generation models (a 1990), and it was a great cruising car.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    The Avalon is the perfect next step for Camry drivers as they age. If it weren’t for that, it’d be hard to justify existing (hell, a fully loaded Avalon is within spitting distance of a DTS with typical GM incentives).

  • avatar
    taxman100

    The Avalon is a nice car for what it is. If they could be purchased for the low to mid 20’s, I’d consider one once Ford kills the Grand Marquis. The one thing I’ve noticed about people who own the car is how defensive they are about the car – I’ve had my head nearly ripped off if I’ve said anything about them.

  • avatar
    davey49

    Finally someone points out Toyota’s excessive use of bright silver plastic. The interiors of almost any domestic sedan is better than the Avalon and Camry

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    UnclePete:

    I’m a big fan of the Cressida. It was a proper RWD car with a longitudinally mounted straight 6. The proto-Lexus, if you will.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Replying to boredlawstudent:
    Wouldn’t a slightly used Cadillac CTS be the better choice? I felt the CTS had better grained plastics than the Avalon. It handles better, looks better (my opinion) and one can be had for less than the cost of an Avalon.

    Why compare a used car to a new one? Wanna use the fast depreciation to your advantage? Let’s just be simple and be fair. Compare a new car to a new car.

    CTS is much smaller than the Avalon from the inside, and should be compared to the Lexus IS. DTS is the real competition. DTS is better in that the brand is still better recognized worldwide. Avalon is a better value and more efficient. Although the GM V8 is more powerful than the Toyota V6, don’t forget the cars are super heavy too.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    Justin Berkowitz: I’m a big fan of the Cressida. It was a proper RWD car with a longitudinally mounted straight 6. The proto-Lexus, if you will.

    Yes exactly… this is probably why it was killed off way back when – Toyota needed to bring the Lexus to market and didn’t want anything in the Toyota stable competing with the up-market vehicles.

    I guess the Lexus LS is the lineal decendant of the Cressida… but the current LS is too butt ugly for me to consider owning.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    Funny how the trunk lid doesnt match up with the rear quarter panel in the last photograph. Is Toyota slipping ??

  • avatar
    wes1337

    Avalon with all of its strong points has one other inexcusable failing. The interior trunk design gets a grade of F because of crude projections hanging from the ceiling and clumsy hinges all robbing practical space for suitcases or other box shaped items. For its highline car the designers need to check out all audi’s and most VW’s and many other cars e.g. Hyundai Sonata. Toyota has been quite busy patting itself on the back of late-watch out others may be gaining on you.

  • avatar
    Seth

    Given half a chance, I will cop me an avalon. I first rode in it back in 97 and was stunned at how silent it was. Strong acceleration sealed it for me. In retrospect, that car was the best and subsequent avalons kinda lost the essence of avalon. BTW, I am in low 30s and these geriatric jokes are unnecessary. Most of these folks who poke fun at Toyota in general or avalon in particular havent got a clue. Toyota hasnt gotten to this stage without satisfying a lot of customers. Honda still hasnt figured out what it takes to sell more cars. It doesnt have an equivalent of avalon. Moral of the story is.. sport is fine but luxury is paramount. Sometimes that luxury can be in your face and sometimes it can be understated.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    It is sad that from this site, everyone who drives a toyota avalon is old, everyone who drives a truck is compensating for something, etc. Yet if you own a sports car, you are healthy and love life! ;)

  • avatar

    Jim H:

    I don’t believe truck drivers are compensating for anything, but in general, well, correct.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    Aren’t most guys who get a sports car considered to either be a) youthful or b) suffering from mid-life crisis. :)

    I personally would love to have a cruiser car for hauling folks, such as a Toyota Avalon (but much prefer the Acura TL), keep my truck for hauling the horses (or helping people move, pick up building supplies for the new deck, etc.), a commuter (such as a Mazda 3) and a little sporty car for fun (my current car). A four car garage just doesn’t seem appealing to me however. — correction, the payment associated with a 4-car garage doesn’t seem realistic. :)

  • avatar
    Seth

    Well.. you know what they say.. you get wiser as you get older. Except for the bald guys driving corvettes. Thats middle age crisis for you. I am speaking of owners of smooth driving avalons.

  • avatar
    johnf514

    Caption for image 1:

    Florida parallel parking.

  • avatar
    Seth

    Fat camry comment needs to be analyzed by other car companies like VW. They’ll know why camry outsells passats. Most cars like BMW 3 series can only seat two people in the back and charge 35 large. I’ll take an avalon over 3-series any day. My folks will appreciate the reclining rear seat and the decadence of its interior.

    Avalon is for mature audience who detest the flash of a luxury badge. They are more secure people who know that they have arrived. Yet dont have to shout on top of the roof tops. And no they aint yuppies driving bimmers and sipping their lattes.

  • avatar
    Paul Milenkovic

    Mr. Berkowitz:

    I got into a little back-and-forth with Sajeev Mehta over on the Mercury Montego thread on whether an 8 second 0-60 time was adequate for a mid to large size sedan these days.

    I tried to tell Mr. Mehta to stop bashing Ford for at least making an honest effort at designing a car with interior room and a 3-dead-Mob-guy capacity trunk that is also fuel efficient. Mr. Mehta told me that not only is the Avalon in the same weight/size class as the Five Hundred/Montego, it has a 6.6 second 0-60 time and it has higher EPA numbers than the Ford products.

    I should disclose that I worked for Ford Reciprocating Engines Research more years ago than I care to admit and that my father is a retiree from Ford Manufacturing Engineering Research. I have an interest in seeing Ford succeed and in perhaps shilling for Ford, but as an engineer, the Avalon numbers left me impressed.

    Maybe the engineers at Toyota have significantly advanced the state of the art in engine design. A fellow by the name of Marc Ross, an Emeritus Professor for U Mich, has formulas on what kind of gas mileage you can expect from a car based on road drag, engine displacement, transmission efficiency, and other variables, and the numbers on the Avalon look impressive compared to the predictions of those formulas. The Five Hundred is a taller, boxy, higher drag car according to the test vehicle data on the EPA Web site, and they tried to compensate for that by floggin the smaller engine, but even so, the Avalon appears to be a superior design, getting more acceleration and more mileage for the same weight of car and not that much less drag.

    I guess the TTAC will remain the TTAC, but Mr. Mehta defends his critique of the Montego/Five Hundred by saying, “Hey, look at the Avalon, Ford, that is the standard for cars of that type” and then Mr. Berkowitz comes around and pans the Avalon. What is the benchmark that the Avalon is not meeting?

    Again, car design like many other things involve a variety of engineering tradeoffs. Among the car stats are size and weight, acceleration, ride quality, and gas mileage. The Avalon, at least on paper, seems to set a new benchmark for pushing the weight-acceleration-gas mileage tradeoff curves further up and to the right of anyone else, only that does not satisfy Mr. Berkowitz. It seems that the Avalon seems to have a sluggish tip-in and an inadequate acoustic response to applying power.

    Gee, I can ride in the back seat and push on the driver’s seat of one wants, and I can make “vroom, vroom” noises. Engineering ia all about tradeoffs, and my hat is off to the Toyota engineers for a superb powertrain design. But there is not something-for-nothing in this life. Looking at the EPA test car data, the Avalon has pretty tall gearing in it to get that impressive 31 Highway MPG (pre 2008 test criteria). Guess what. They could put shorter gearing and more vroom-vroom into the thing and the gas mileage will suffer.

    I realize that the TTAC is not The Oil Drum, the Web site where they wear sack cloth and ashes and moan “we are running out of oil, no one is listening to us, but there is not anything anyone can do anyway, and we are all going to die.” I don’t think the oil situation is so dire that we all have to walk, but there has to be some realization that at $3/gallon gas prices, there has to be some concession to fuel economy, woe to the automaker that peddles trucks (Ford, GM, DCX) but why slam Toyota for a sluggish tip-in on a big car with a 6.6 second 0-60 time and 31 highway MPG?

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Paul:

    On paper the Avalon is quite good. Just because the Avalon is the gold-standard for the segment (maybe), that doesn’t mean it is a perfect car.

    My complaints are on a more subjective scale. My issues with the Avalon – a lack of character, strange (not necessarily slow) acceleration, sloppy steering, and an ugly interior – are not interfering with sales. The most significant and objective of my criticisms of the Avalon is that it’s superfluous or a poor value compared with the Camry, a car I think is also superior to the Avalon regardless of price.

    You’re right to point out that it gets great mileage, especially for a car its size. But the aim of TTAC is to go beyond what the spec sheet says and the press-release parrots at mainstream publications. So yes, props to Toyota for combining big, quick, and [relatively] efficient. But I don’t have to like it. And neither does anyone else.

  • avatar
    vb9594

    Ironically, I rented one of these yesterday while on business in Detroit- it was the Touring trim. I came away pretty impressed. I’d never buy one myself, but this thing was a big, comfortable, smooth rocket- step on the gas and it would easily light up the tires. Over 90 miles of mostly city driving, with me hammering it constantly, I got 26 mpg. City driving in a 268 hp large sedan and I got 26 mpg?? Extremely impressive.

    Otherwise, just way too bland for me. However, if someone were looking for a large highway cruiser, I’m not sure if you could do much better.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Mr. Milenkovic:
    Obviously you are very knowledgable about engine design. Toyota and Honda are noted for the superior smoothness and quietness of their engines compared to Detroit’s engines. What accounts for that — more precise assembly, newer technology, lighter materials, Detroit cost-cutting, or???

  • avatar
    CasterOil

    Justin, your very brave observation:

    “Cancel my pistonhead street cred card, but I like the way the Toyota Camry looks.”

    I’m not certain what regular readers think, but I am more and more positive that the latest iteration of the Camry is even uglier than the previous ACV36R.

    That really takes some effort, especially when you consider that acceptable and beautiful design costs insignificantly more than “ugly”.

    Every time I’m in traffic following a 40R, the crazy angular trunk design just makes me want to ram it.

    Ugly, ugly, irredeemably ugly.

    Your piston-head street-cred is torn to shreds….

    P.S., I hope the comments are going back to “oldest first” very soon!

  • avatar
    Maxwelton

    Why does a car like this need 268 horsepower? Surely with fewer ponies it could get better mileage?

  • avatar
    boredlawstudent

    Max:

    B/c the Avalon isn’t exactly the lightest car on the road at 3500 lbs. Add 800 lbs for 5 people and gear and 268 HP doesn’t seem so overpowered.

  • avatar
    Seth

    Autorags like to pick on vehicles with less power (relatively speaking that is). So Yoda decided to put out the best and use the same engine across the board. So you see Rav4, camry, avalon and perhaps ES using the same engine.. Did I leave out any?

  • avatar

    The greatest irony as has been noted before is that Toyota makes the best Buicks now. Why can’t the domestics? I recently rented an Avalon and then a full size Lincoln. The Lincoln seemed downright cheap next to the Avalon. The Avalon is a definite doctor lawyer highway cruiser mobile in the way Buicks were defined for years.

  • avatar
    boredlawstudent

    No lawyers I know drive Toyota’s!

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    Simply visiting Toyota.com shows an Avalon interior shot of the Touring model, just thought you might like to know they aren’t ALL Limited, though most are.

  • avatar

    Not all lawyers drive BMWs and Mercedes. Some are only well off and not rich

  • avatar
    MartinC

    Everybody’s entitled to an opinion, so say what you want, but before you criticize Avalon, find me a car that can fit 5 folks comfortably for a long trip, can do 0 to 60 in 6 secs and does 28 real mpgs in actual mixed driving. It may look to you like a big and boring yacht for your elders, but it will smoke most of your cars from the red light. Yeah, it is not perfect and each of you can find a thing or two that you rather don’t have, but show me a car without flaws. I own the Limited for the simple reason, I could not find a better combination of inside space, comfort, safety, acceleration and actual real life gas consumption for the money. If you can offer anything better (please do not mention the V8 Lucerne with its ancient mechanicals, even with V8 it is slower than Avalon), I will make the switch. I consider myself to be a GM guy, but currently GM cannot offer anything comparable, so sad.

  • avatar
    ian c

    I share MartinC’s sentiments. As a fellow Avalon-owner myself, I am happy with my 2007 XLS. I still appreciate the features that sold me on this vehicle: strong acceleration, smooth highway ride, good gas mileage for a large sedan, comfortable front seat ergonomics, large reclining back seat, excellent stereo system and above-average safety features. I am not so enthralled I have not noticed the annoyances: non-intuitive nav system, trunk intrusions which rob space, non-aligned fake wood on dash and no standard Bluetooth. For me, the ride and steering are as expected for a large sedan. I owned a 2000 Avalon XLS and this is great upgrade on the engine and similar on ride and steering, with better traction control on snow and ice. I didn’t need to spend the extra $5000 to get the badge with the Lexus ES350 and the new Camry wasn’t big enough for me. It should be solid car for many years.

  • avatar
    moto

    Yes, comparisons to Buick are justified. Both are competing for the same customer. The only difference, as far as i’m concerned, is that Buick offers better bargain. I can’t believe that Avalon buyers actually brag about the acceleration as if it was a critical buying decision of full-size people haulers with the driving dynamics of small tug boats.

    But, hey, if you like Toyota’s cheap plastic interiors better than Buick’s or you worship Toyota because the Japanese car might score a partial percentage point higher in reliability rating than the Buick, well, go buy your sterile and overpriced Avalon, a car completely devoid of any personality whatsoever. By personality, I mean driving dynamics that actually make sense in the modern era. The Avalon is one of the most disconnected, uninvolved, spiritless car I’ve ever driven in a long time. Take a LaCrosse, Lucerne, or Passat any day over the Avalon.

  • avatar
    cogpoint

    We are just back from a 1100 km weekend road trip in wifey’s Avalon.
    Most of the way home today one leg was hot and the other cold which got me thinking about the other shortcomings of this supposedly great cruiser.
    First is the GPS. I have 5or 6 of these things. Most of them for boats but this one is the most expensive.It is not very good outside the scrolling map function. It does not have my street on it. It is hard to use the other functions. The $399 Canadian Tire store GPS I use in the other vehicles is in many ways better at 15% the cost.
    It is not that quiet. Absolutely silent around town but on the highway it is pretty noisy. Seems to be wind noise around the doors.
    It is not that well built either. The trim gaps are pretty large. The interior materials start to look pretty cheap after a few months and they get scratched up easily.
    It is reliable (so far) roomy ( except for passenger headroom ) and fuel efficient for a fairly big car.
    Life is full of little disappointments.

  • avatar
    tdollman

    Maybe the Avalon is not sexy, but is still solidly enjoyable to drive

    I just attained 312K miles on the Buick-like 2000 model Avalon. I used 1/2 quart of (synthetic) oil 5K+ miles the last change.

    NO repairs have been necessary, only preventative maintenance (i.e., flawlwssly using our 4th timing belt).

    I have started buying well-maintained used ones for family members.

    Want fun & Sexy? find an adult friven 74-78 Datsun 280Z as a second car.

  • avatar
    silverkris

    Interesting thought about the Cressida. It was a pretty well made car with a good engine, but interior-wise it was a bit tight (especially in the back seat). Not surprisingly, Toyota discontinued the Cressida around the same time the FWD (and roomier) Camry was introduced.

  • avatar
    silverkris

    wes1337 said:
    “Avalon with all of its strong points has one other inexcusable failing. The interior trunk design gets a grade of F because of crude projections hanging from the ceiling and clumsy hinges all robbing practical space for suitcases or other box shaped items.”

    Yes, that’s my biggest concern with the Avalon…its trunk isn’t all that large as other cars in its class (no bigger than the Camry in volume), and it doesn’t have split fold-down rear seats.

    Otherwise, I think it’s a pretty nice car for what it does…

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    How does this fat pig get 22/31 MPG with 268 HP and a 5-speed auto when my 158 HP Camry gets 21/31? Pbbt.


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