By on April 22, 2013

The Avalon has been something of a caricature since it wafted on stage in 1994. The stretched Camry was low on soul, devoid of style and soft of spring. In short, it was the Buick that wouldn’t leave you stranded. Since then Toyota has struggled to divine a mission for their full size sedan, a problem complicated by the re-invigoration of the large sedan market by the American brands. In hopes of resurrecting sales numbers, which have slid to 25% of their 2000 year shipments, Toyota has injected something hitherto unseen in an Avalon: style. Is it enough?

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Before we dive into the Avalon, let’s talk competition. Back when the LHS and Park Avenue roamed the land, the Avalon’s competition was easy to identify and easy to overcome. Nearly 20 years later those shoppers are in a nursing home and Toyota is hunting for younger flesh in a more competitive market. We now have the larger-than-ever Taurus, a new Impala that doesn’t make me want to put my eyes out, the Azera/Cadenza twins, Nissan’s Maxima and the less-Bentley aping 300.

But wait, I’m forgetting one. The “elephant in the room” that is the Lexus ES. You see, the kind of shopper that needs a new car and immediately thinks “Toyota Avalon” is far more likely to cross shop the Lexus ES than the gangsta 300 or the Impala. (You know I’m right.) After spending a a week with the twins back-to-back, this comparison is even more valid.

Exterior

While the “I’m a bigger Camry” look is still going on, Toyota has injected enough creases and curves that my 33 year old eyes gave the Avalon a second look (of course, I did buy a 2000 LHS new in 2000, so…) It’s not as exciting as the new Cadenza, but Toyota’s efforts look better thought out than the 11/10ths Cruze grille Chevy put on the Impala.

The new rump features more chrome, dual exhaust tips and tail lamps that wrap well around the side and thankfully share no styling cues with the Camry’s funky “apostrophe” shaped lights. The engineers stretched the greenhouse over the trunk to increase the visual length of the car, a trick that worked on me until I looked at the spec sheet. At 195 inches, the Avalon is 6-inches longer than the Camry, but it’s several inches shorter than the Chrysler, Chevy and Ford. Since the ES and Avalon are now twins separated at birth, most of the dimensions are common except that the Avalon gets a bigger booty (and more trunk space in the process) and has a lower ride height giving it a more aggressive stance.

Interior

The exterior looks like a Toyota product. No news there. Inside is a different ball of wax. The interior is why you may have heard people saying they prefer the Avalon to its Lexus sister. If you recall from our review of the Lexus ES 300h, there were plenty of hard plastics within reach of the driver, and instead of a leather dash (like the 300 wears) or stitched pleather goodness like the competition is wearing, the ES stuck with an injection molded dashboard “faux-stitched” with real thread. In an unexpected contrast, the Avalon’s interior has a more premium feel, thanks largely to heavy use of (you guessed it) stitched pleather. The faux-cow in the Avalon may not be hand-sewn (Toyota is mum on the subject) but its liberal use on the doors, dashboard and center console beat every competitor (except for that Chrysler with the leather dashboard option.)

My lunch group was divided about the styling, some feeling that Toyota had gone too far and the rest thinking it was a bold choice for Toyota. I fell into the latter camp. Yes, there’s an enormous driver’s window defogger vent (in the picture above), but I appreciate the fact that a styling direction was chosen rather than just repeating the same “beige” the Avalon has been known for. That a group of adults in their 30s were arguing the merits of an Avalon interior is nothing short of revolutionary.

Compared to the Avalon’s Lexus sister, the interior has a more expansive and harmonious feel despite the heavily styled parts. I think I chalk some of this up to the tan-on-black color scheme our tester sported, but plenty of it has to do with dashboard shapes. Lexus’ two-tier dashboard and the “high and centered” position of the infotainment screen make the dashboard feel more imposing than the Avalon’s sweeping forms and less “bulky” dashboard on the passenger’s side.

The front seats are functionally identical to those in the ES with the exception that the number of power-motions varies by the trim level. The thrones are thickly padded and comfortable for long journeys but larger shoppers should know that they are more “bucket” shaped than previous models. Taller drivers and passengers will appreciate the largest cabin Toyota has ever built, including the LS 600hL. With 42.1 inches of legroom up front, 39.2 in the rear, and class leading headroom, the Avalon swallows those tall kids of yours more easily than any front driver this side of the Cadillac XTS. How does Toyota do this with a shorter sedan? They “skimp” on trunk space. Our tester’s 16 cubic foot trunk is nearly 25% smaller than the Taurus and 18% smaller than the Impala.

Infotainment & Gadgets

The Avalon comes in four trim levels, three of which have no available options for the picking. Things start with the $30,990 XLE which comes well equipped with 8 speakers, a touchscreen audio system, Bluetooth integration, dual-zone climate control, keyless go, and a heated 8-way power seat for the driver. The $33,195 XLE Premium tosses in a moonroof, backup cam, an extra speaker, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. For $35,500 the XLE Touring adds navigation, shift paddles, driver’s seat memory, fog lights, 18-inch wheels with 225-width rubber, and Toyota’s Entune data services. Our tester was the top-of-the-line Limited which starts at $39,650 and gets auto-dimming side mirrors with puddle lamps, HID headlamps, 11 JBL speakers, rain sense wipers, three-zone climate control, heated rear seats, ambient lighting, a color HVAC control panel, and a passenger seat with eight powered directions instead of four. Limited buyers can further option their car with two technology packages, for $1,750 you get radar cruise control with pre-collision warning and automatic high beams and for an extra $200 Toyota will integrate a wireless charging mat into the console.

On the infotainment side it is important to remember that Toyota makes two different systems that share nothing with one another. The picture above is the 7-inch system in our Limited tester and the picture below is the 6.1 inch “display audio” system in lesser Avalons. The 6.1 system has more basic graphics but is more responsive and is designed around an “app” model where things like navigation (available only on the Touring trim) are just another “app” available via the “apps” button on the dash. The 7-inch system uses XM Satellite data services while the 6.1 uses your paired smartphone for dynamic content. The 6.1 provides a fairly basic navigation experience, but it is easy to use and very responsive. The 7-inch system (only on Limited) is the familiar Toyota/Lexus system that’s been around for several years that has been updated with Entune data services, smartphone app integration and voice commands for controlling your media device ala Ford’s SYNC. This is the same software used in the Lexus, except without the atrocious “Remote Touch” joystick.

Going back to the ES comparison, since the Limited model uses essentially the same system, driving the ES and Avalon back to back served to solidify my dislike of the Lexus pain stick. The exact same interface is considerably easier to use, less distracting and more intuitive when you can glance at the screen and stab the option with your finger.

Drivetrain

The 3.5L V6 is buttery-smooth, but churns out a less-than-thrilling 268 HP and 248 lb-ft of twist. For reasons I don’t understand, Toyota has yet to fit their D4-S direct-injection system which would make it more competitive on paper (the competition are all around 290 HP). (Ford of course still offers the insane 365HP twin-turbo V6.) Proving that horsepower isn’t everything, the Avalon’s light 3,461lbs curb weight allows it to scoot to 60 in 6.25 seconds, among the fastest in the group behind the 365 HP Taurus SHO and the 290 HP Maxima (thank the Nissan CVT). While we haven’t been able to get our hands on the new Impala, expect it to be fairly quick thanks to its low curb weight as well. Meanwhile the 300 V6, LaCrosse, Azera, MKS and plenty of others will be seen in the Avalon’s rear view mirror.

The only major change for 2013 is the fitting of paddle shifters to the 6-speed automatic transaxle in Touring and Limited trims. With the paddles comes revised software that blips the throttle on downshifts. Don’t get too excited, since this cog swapper is just as up-shift-happy and down-shift-resistant as it was before.

For $2,360 on XLE Premium and $1,750 on Touring and Limited you can opt for Toyota’s 200 HP hybrid system. This is the same setup under the hood of the Camry and ES 300h and increases the Avalon’s MPGs from 21/31/25 (City/Highway/Combined) to 40/39/40 resulting an a savings of $900 per year at $4 a gallon. The trade off is the loss of one full second on the run to 60, well worth the cost in my book.

Drive

For 2013 the Avalon has ditched the wallowy ride synonymous with the model in favor of stiffer springs and a more buttoned down demeanor. Thanks to the new found corner carving skills and a curb weight that is 600lbs lighter than the Taurus, the Avalon is more engaging, composed and nimble than the heavy Ford. Notice I didn’t say “handles better.” The reason the Taurus clings onto first place in our road holding test is down to rubber, seriously wide 255/45R19 rubber (Taurus Limited.)

The Hyundai Azera and its Kia cousin are well-priced alternatives. While the Avalon beats them handily in terms of interior refinement, the Koreans have plenty of power (293 HP) and coupled with a curb weight that’s only 150-200 lbs more than the Avalon they are quicker off the line. Thanks to more aggressive rubber and excellent suspension dynamics the pair is also faster around a track. Of course, shoppers in this segment don’t really care about handling limits and that’s a problem for the dynamic duo because their refinement quotient is still a notch below the new Avalon.

Nissan’s Maxima is fairly light at 3,565lbs and has one of the more powerful engines at 290 HP and 261 lb-ft of twist. Thanks to the low starting ratio and step-less nature of the Nissan CVT, the Maxima burns rubber on its way to the best 0-60 time in this bunch of 5.6 seconds. Of course I can’t talk Nissan without admitting that the CVT isn’t the “sporting” choice because of the “rubber-band” like feel they impart but I don’t think its much of a problem in this segment. On the down side, the Maxima is starting to show its age in a stable of products shifting to a new design language.

The Chrysler 300 is the odd man out. I’m including it because some of our readers would have complained if it had been left out. The problem is the 300 appeals to an entirely different sort of person, both because of its aggressive looks and its RWD drivetrain. Still, the 300 V6 would be my personal choice in this shootout, but I have to acknowledge that a bold RWD American sedan isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Chrysler’s smooth 292 HP V6 and the slick ZF 8-speed automatic are no match for the 300′s higher curb weight making the 300 slower to 60 by nearly a full second. Although I prefer the RWD dynamics of the 300, the heavier curb weight means the Avalon is the nimbler choice. On the flip side, the 300 Luxury Series (the most appropriate cross shop) has a gorgeous full-leather dash and the ride of a full-sized luxury sedan.

That brings us full circle to the elephant in the room: the 2013 Lexus ES. Our Avalon Limited tester has so far knocked the ES to its knees by delivering a better interior, nearly identical feature content, and an easier to use infotainment system. Of course, siblings fight dirty and the Avalon kicks her sister while she’s down by handling better thanks to stiffer springs and wider rubber. When you factor in the Avalon’s lower sticker price and the reality that the Avalon and ES are likely to be as reliable as one another and cost essentially the same to maintain, you have to ask yourself how much that Lexus logo is worth to you. Even outside the direct Toyota vs Lexus comparison the Avalon is highly competitive with an excellent interior, plenty of power, huge back seat and a price tag that isn’t as frightening as the “luxury” alternatives. I never thought I would say this about the Avalon: it’s the aggressive sister that knocks down her stuck-up twin and steals the boyfriend by promising to be a cheaper date. Since I like my women cheap and feisty, I’d take the Avalon up on her offer and only think about the ES once a year at family reunions.

 

Hit it

  • The best interior with a Toyota badge.
  • Never thought I would call an Avalon “nimble.”
  • “Better” than the Lexus for less.

Quit it

  • No ability to add navigation to the base display audio system.
  • 268 HP is nothing to brag about in 2013.
  • Smaller trunk than the competition.

 

Toyota provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.55 Seconds

0-60: 6.25 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 14.51 Seconds @ 98.8 MPH

Average Fuel Economy: 23.2 MPG over 534 Miles

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99 Comments on “Review: 2013 Toyota Avalon Limited (Video)...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “In short, it was the Buick that wouldn’t leave you stranded.”

    I see where you’re trying to go with this, but I know of no Buick since about 1988 which will leave you stranded.

    • 0 avatar
      Flybrian

      I was about to say. Please name a mid/fullsize Buick as of late that WASN’T dependable?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        concurred, because of the success of the local Buick dealer during the couple of decades there are many old Buicks roaming my local roadways, even the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th etc. owners seem to be having very little trouble with them.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        It’s not strictly mechanical, but any Buick—or any other GM car—that has that stupid Passlock-II ignition system will eventually leave you stranded because Passlock-II ignitions have thin wiring, poorly-fitted components, and the electrical connections are vulnerable to oxidization and humidity. Ford’s P.A.T.S. (Passive Anti-Theft System) is not much better. Ask me how I know…

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          How do you know, I’ve never seen anyone with a problem with Ford or GM’s transponder system. GM’s old resistor based system yes those contacts in the lock cyl do fail. On the plus side it only takes 30 min or so to make and install a bypass module and eliminate that problem.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        I haven’t given Buick the chance to be undependable. I haven’t bought one and no close friends, neighbors or relatives own one.

        However, I can’t help having noticed that many relatively late model Buicks suffer from badly peeling paint. “Relatively late model” could be going back a decade, now, but I still never seem to see decade-old Toyotas or Hondas that have that problem.

        Every time I see a Buick that’s badly peeled, I have to wonder if the owner approached GM about fixing it and, if so, how much grief GM gave the owner about it. I know that the plastic parts of the ’90′s cost them the loyalty of a lot of owners but the peeling paint not only must aggravate die-hard Buick owners but is likely costing GM conquest sales. It’s like a rolling billboard that says “Don’t buy one of these.”

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The late 80s models had numerous paint issues but I haven’t seen too many Buicks or Olds with paint peeling issues in these parts on the MY93+ period (they mostly have issues with rust and being hooptified). This many not be the case in another climate. No used car is perfect though.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Mmmm… The most recent examples I’ve seen were most definitely no earlier than the tail end of the ’90′s and looked like they were almost certainly from the Oughts.

            Here’s the thing, though… they’re still very recognizably Buicks, no matter how old. They’re still out on the road, cementing the idea of Buick = peeling paint into my mind. Buick dealers should be able to issue $99 Earl Scheib “Paint Any Car” coupons, on the spot, to the owner of any Buick they find on the road with peeling paint. They’d be better off doing this than paying Shaq big bucks to shill for Buick.

            I read, some time ago that Tiger and Buick were going their separate ways, and what Tiger had cost GM came to my attention. It was on the order of $50/car. Now, that’s not $50 per incremental car sold because of the pull of the Tiger Woods Brand, that was $50 per Buick sold while he was leaning out of Ranier or Rendezvous windows going “Bwahahaha” (yes, seriously, there was an ad of that sort, WTF?) and what was really making each and every Buick sale was undoubtedly a) the fact that Buick dealers were hanging out at OCB during the Senior Special hours, looking for marks and b) GM was putting oodles of cash on the hood. The $bazillions that they were paying Tiger had very little to do with most of Buick’s sales.

            I’m quite sure they would have spent their money better by making some actual Buick owners happy (in their final hours) and improving the public image of Buick by fixing up some of the worst eyesores.

            I wonder if Cash for Clunkers took a lot of those off the streets? I would have expected so, except for the gas mileage requirements (which I don’t recall in any detail).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I occasionally see the late 80s and early 90s Buicks in the more urban part of town, but they are becoming few and far between here in the rust belt. I still see alot of the 97+ variety will have to look for the paint issues you describe. None of these would still exist if they were not powered by the venerable 3800.

            That’s interesting about Tiger because I never thought he was the right spokesman for Buick brand, would have made more sense with Cadillac (as Cadillac has/had a long tradition with the golf world, and he embodied the young, hip, look-at-me-now bullshit they started pushing with the 2003 CTS). I agree they money would have been better spent improving the product vs flashy spokesman. I suppose the whole Shaq thing of late is because he’s very recognizable and physically large so they can argue the new “smaller” Buick (Lacrosse) is big enough for him or something to this effect. Personally I think product placement works better than spokesman, probably cheaper too. Just drop some Buicks into upcoming movies and shows.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Yes, Tiger probably should have been hawking Cadillacs. I don’t know why they used him that way. Perhaps he had other commitments that made Cadillac awkward or maybe the guy from Buick got to him first and there was no high-level strategy coordinated between brands (would not surprise me at all).

            The product placement should perhaps be done gracefully, though. “Escape Routes” is a failure that comes to mind, especially since Ford had been paying for good exposure on “The Amazing Race.”

            There was an obvious-to-the-point-of-being-painful Buick placement on “The Good Wife” a couple of years ago. CBS had just finished running a commercial on the “rewind” feature of the Lacrosse and then they immediately used it on the show. It was like sitting through a second commercial. Ugh.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Guys, Tiger may not have been hawking Cadillacs but he was driving an Escalade when he hit the tree and his (now ex-) wife busted out the window with a club.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheeljack

            There is only one reason why Buick chose Tiger as their spokesperson: So the marketing folks could go on company-paid golf junkets under the auspices of “work”.

            If you learn anything about the folks who work in marketing at the Detroit automakers, it’s that they are rabid golfers who would much rather be out on the links than pretty much anywhere else.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        I come from a buick family that’s owned over 10 buicks in the last 15 years including some that I’ve owned (mostly because used buicks were some of the cheapest *used* cars out there due to no resale value).

        There is a good reason Buick became a has-been brand that went down to 2% of all GM sales and had the oldest customers in the industry. 1988-2010 Buicks are ridiculously over-rated by the internet. They were one of GMs best efforts, which doesn’t speak well for GM and like all of GM’s cars had lots of problems. I’m not even going to talk about how bad the entry level buicks, the centuries were because we never owned one of them, all we owned were the mid/full sized 3800/3.8L models. You can search TTAC for the buick century review that declares it the “worst modern car on the road today” if you want to know about that particular model…

        The brakes were way undersized so they had the worst stopping power of just about any car, no joke, check it. Absolutely terrible seats! Going on a road trip in one of those cars meant a week of back pain, 4 speed transmissions for way too long, but that’s GM being GM, i.e. cheap.

        Each generation of Lesabre and Park Avenue got continually and noticeably worse, cheaper seats, dashes, interiors, handling/ride etc…

        The early 3800s threw timing chains around 90k (ask my dad what happened to his Lesabre motor after that…hint: interference motor), his transmission blew soon after he had the motor rebuilt…

        Two of our buicks, both park avenues, had electrical glitches that we could never trace down, almost like they had been in floods, they never went away and after stranding us several times on the road, we finally traded them off.

        My buick lesabre and my brothers buick lesabre had average reliability with typical parts wearing out by 100k such as alternators, water pumps, starters, etc. Luckily for us, both of them ended their lives by being hit while parked on the street so we got paid to get rid of them, in particular, mine had the absolute worst seat I’ve ever sat in.

        My dad’s old 92 park avenue was a nice low milage car that he sold off before 50k so no problems ever developed, his next car a ’97 lesabre had the 3800 plastic intake manifold that cracked and vapor locked the motor, a common problem, look it up.

        My mom’s current ’02 lesabre is well known for having electrical glitches, a battery located under the backseat so that it’s a PITA to jump, especially once the jump points start to corrode, also, can you say DEXCOOL?

        My grandparent’s ’98 park avenue ultra: Also electrical glitches.

        Yeah…If you like the idea of “buick” buy an avalon or even better a lexus and save yourself the “buick” ownership experience.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Why on earth did your family keep buying them?

        • 0 avatar
          redmondjp

          nickoo,

          You are incorrect about the 3.8 being an interference motor. The earlier vin code ’3′ motors used up through 1987 (and into 1988 until they ran out) did have a disintegrating plastic cam gear that would usually go between 90K-130K miles but no valve damage was done. The replacement 3800 vin ‘C’ did not have this problem at all.

          The seats were notoriously lacking any lower back support, that is definitely true (I owned a 1988 Electra T-Type for 16 years and now drive a 2001 Lesabre).

          Electrical problem wise, my 2001 has had more electrical problems in three years than my 1988 model did in 16 years!

          And yes, the infernal plastic intake plenums and gasket frames – that, combined with the early Dexkill, caused a lot of problems for sure.

          But with all of that said, my 1988 Buick was one of the best cars overall that I have ever owned (and I have owned ten Hondas ranging from 1986 to 2001 models, still have three of them).

          Compare – my 1988 Buick made it over 200K miles on the original exhaust system right out to the tailpipe, and still had the original CV axles with intact boots. Find me ANY 1988 Honda that you can say that about. There is no perfect car.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “You are incorrect about the 3.8 being an interference motor.”

            I’ve told him before that the LN3 isn’t an interference engine. He doesn’t care. I think I need to make a Youtube video or something so I can just link to it everytime he makes the claim.

            If his father managed to kill an LN3 in 90K miles he deserves some kind of reward.

            He also seems convinced that his family’s bad experience with Buicks is somehow more valid than people’s positive experience with them.

            But whatever, the ’92 Bonneville and ’89 Electra sitting in my garage right now aren’t mirages.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          My 2000 LeSabre only needed an alternator at 110K and a rear driver’s side window regulator which I did myself for a mere $45.00 buying the part on Ebay. Other than that it went 150k miles with no issues at all and was one of my favorite cars that I have ever owned, especially with the excellent touring suspension option. My parents still own a 2001 Bonneville which is this car’s platform mate and other than a wheel bearing at 120k, the normal tune up items and a battery it has been super reliable with no electrical issues.

          I know many folks that have experienced these so called unidentifiable electrical gremlins that were mentioned and come to find out those were flood damaged cars! Can’t blame Buick on that. The 3800 intake issue is a problem on earlier 1995-1999 engines but really isn’t a big deal when updated with the aftermarket Dorman upper intake and new lower gasket. No 3800 engine is an interference engine. All 1988 on up 3800 engines used a steel timing gear and would go 300K easily without an issue with that.

        • 0 avatar
          ixim

          My familiy’s ’99 and ’02 LS Regals, now well past 100K are still zero-problem cars. For those who know, great used car values.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      That was my first thought…Isn’t the Buick that won’t leave you stranded any Buick built in the last 15 years or so?

    • 0 avatar
      dixsno

      O.K. folks, let’s leave the Buick – Toyota comparison column. You’re going to buy your particular brand/model depending on experience, loyalty, etc.

      A Toyota Camry Hybrid owner for 6+ years, I transferred the Camry to daughter and bought the Avalon Hybrid Touring. Only 3,000 on the clock so far, but have enjoyed the “ride” so far. So Kyree’s (I think) comments are appropriate:

      “Where and how well the Avalon sells depends on region and locale. The Avalon buyers tend to be people who owned a Camry before and had an excellent ownership experience. They’re just moving up, like when my dad moved up from Chevy to Olds, and then to Buick and, finally, to Cadillac.

      If Avalon buyers live long enough, they may eventually step up to a Lexus LS460 as the final car purchase of their life.”

      Camry went 95k miles with total of $900 in repairs other than normal 5,000 maintenance schedules and tires, $400 of which was covered by Midwest Toyota warranty at half the price of local dealers’ cost for warranties.

      The Avalon upgrade was, indeed, “moving on up,” and the reason for not moving to Lexus was the cost of routine maintenance and repairs, roughly two to three times the same service charges as the Toyota, and the quality comments in the article. (O.K., so the latte is thrown in – big deal!)

      Excellent dealership service on repairs on the Toyota, with a master mechanic that does the wife’s Lexus RX 400h repairs as well for one-third of the Lexus dealership charges.

      O.K., it’s not a sports car, but it certainly is a quality road car with luxury interior and features without the Lexus price but with the Toyota reliability. ‘Nuff said?

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    I believe the demographic for the Avalon is the crowd 55 and over.

    My kids are in their forties and a car like the Avalon or any of its peers is “gag me with a spoon” for them.

    OTOH, I have a friend who still uses a 1989 Camry V6 on a daily basis and he, and his wife, both in their late sixties, are very much appreciative of what the Avalon brings to bear for their age group.

    They also own a 2012 Grand Cherokee but they’re astute enough to realize that getting in and out of that Grand Cherokee may get more difficult as they age, especially after they reach the age of 70.

    And as long as Toyota = reliability, dependability, quality and durability, this old crowd will buy them, even though the Avalon will never set any sales records because as people age their need for owning multiple vehicles simultaneously diminishes, OR they croak soon after buying that new vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Toyota sales numbers don’t bleed all your adjectives in the Avalon and ES300 as Buick LaCrosse leads the segment.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        http://bestsellingcarsblog.com/2013/04/13/usa-3-months-2013-ford-fusion-and-escape-at-record-levels/

        Toyota Avalon is at #64 17,525 cars sold
        Lexus ES is at #67 16,801 cars sold
        Buick Lacrosse is at #90 11,372 cars sold

        No.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Free tip because I crunched some numbers recently in a Lacrosse vs ES350 discussion (I can’t recall the Avalon figures). After a three year period, Lacrosse bled a Buick typical 50% of its 30 some thousand dollar MSRP in wholesale value while ES350 did somewhere around 70% in the same period (ES will still do mid to high twenties sub 35,000 miles, Lacrosse hovers between 15K and 17K). Now the ES350 is about 10K more new vs Lacrosse, but if you can swing the capital its technically the better buy for similar product.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          And a lot of ‘older’ people are actually doing just that, looking for the better buy that is also less problematic.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I would imagine, these are the bulk of the buyers of the ES350. Older people tend to have better credit and better trades/more money for downpayment.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I think you are right. But not everyone is a fan of the ES350, since the Avalon is marginally larger, although not as smooth-riding as an ES.

            Some old people from my church have even bought Impala, Taurus and Buick this year and last. But there are also several Avalons in the parking lot on Sunday.

            But of all the full-size sedans, I believe that the Avalon returns the best value for the money — both at buying time and at trading time.

            Secondly, I haven’t had to finance anything since the last century, but the old guys I play poker with have told me that good credit scores aren’t helping them get better financing arrangements.

            There was a discussion about 97-month car loan financing earlier and I brought out that many oldsters actually experience bias against them because of their age. So I have been told by them.

            If they want to accept the terms and conditions of the lender, they are forced to pay higher APR, larger down payment, take out credit term life insurance, disability insurance and higher car insurance deductibles.

            This actually happened to two people of my extended family, but they were financially sound enough to buy the vehicle by not financing, instead writing a check for the full amount. There ought to be an enforceable law against such age bias and discrimination.

            A lot of these guys, teetering on death’s doorstep, may want to conserve their capital for redistribution among their heirs instead of having to spend it all in one place on one item.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          @28

          No one pays full retail for 36 mpg highway LaCrosse unless you are Hank Hill. According to Edmunds the 2012 Lacrosse has $2,500 cash + $2,000 bonus for around $25,000(which looks good againist the 2013 Impala). Edmunds says there is just $750 Military bonus for the 2012 ES. Run your percentages again and you’ll see the depreciation $ are the not worth it for the smaller Camry based ES. The out going Avalon is probably in the same boat.

          The 2014 LaCrosse is getting a refreshen too.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      (Hree straight years of LaCrosse doubling Avalon sales:

      http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2011/01/buick-lacrosse-sales-figures.html?m=1

      http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2011/01/toyota-avalon-sales-figures.html?m=1

      Buick LCrosse is still beating the ES by 10,000 units the last 3 years.

      http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2011/01/lexus-es-sales-figures.html?m=1

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      The most recent interactions I’ve had with newly purchased Buicks are my friend’s 1992 LeSabre and my aunt’s 1996 Century. Both aged poorly, and were replaced by Toyotas in 2001/2002 respectively.

      I’m sure it’s a ‘new’ Buick these days, with more refined product. No doubt about that. But why try?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        A lot of people of that age group had lousy ownership experiences with the domestic brands back in those days and that’s why many switched to the foreign brands as a better alternative for their transportation needs. It was called “The Mass Exodus”.

        After decades of driving only domestic brands I chose to switch rather than fight by buying our first-ever Japanese brand for use in the US — our new Japan-built 2008 Highlander, which is still running problem-free, even though it has been replaced by a 2012 Grand Cherokee, imported from Detroit, for daily duty.

        Surprisingly, the 2012 Grand Cherokee, built by the UAW, has been just as trouble-free as the Highlander was, so if all the domestic brands are just as good now, then they have come a long way, baby. Indeed!

        Where and how well the Avalon sells depends on region and locale. The Avalon buyers tend to be people who owned a Camry before and had an excellent ownership experience. They’re just moving up, like when my dad moved up from Chevy to Olds, and then to Buick and, finally, to Cadillac.

        If Avalon buyers live long enough, they may eventually step up to a Lexus LS460 as the final car purchase of their life.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Definitely a much better looking car than the last generation.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Had these both as rentals.

    The 300 seemed far better in terms of ride, handeling NVH and features than the Avalon. It’s hard to describe, but the Avalon had a certain “silk purse out of a sow’s ear” quality to it. As if the engineers had to build a full size “luxury” car out of parts that weren’t quite up to the job.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Congratulations, it looks like a Hyundai!

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    I can’t get past the front of this thing. The word “hideous” has a place in our vocabulary for a reason.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Kia has an Azera clone? Why has it not been tested? If the Azera is the nicest Buick that Buick never built, the Kia has to be the nicest Lumina that Chevy never built.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      PrincipalDan, it is the Cadenza and has yet to actually ship. Once it is in the local fleet we will be sure to check it out. I estimate another 5-6 months however.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Sorry I’ve fallen asleep on my big sedans. I pay attention to that market because I’ve noticed that the bigger the car the bigger the depreciation hit on the used market. (Fusions hold more value than Tauruses, etc. Just a general rule YMMV.) Personally I’m likely one of the few 35 year olds that really likes large sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Thge Azera looks great in black. Expect the Avalon to end up a rank or two below the Koreans in sales.

      • 0 avatar
        Marko

        I have yet to see a SINGLE new Azera on the road, and it has been out for what, a year? Its sales are a fraction (about 1/6) of Avalon sales. (I had to Google it just to remember what it looked like.)

        The Avalon launched at the very end of 2012, but I have at least seen a few on the road.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Azera’s sales are up massively this year, moving it from 193rd to 183rd in the sales ranking with 15% of the new Avalon’s sales. Hyundai also has the Genesis V6 sedan, for which I can’t find a sales break out, but when combined with the V8s and coupes they sold almost half as many Genesises as Toyota sold Avalons.

  • avatar
    turbosaab

    Boss’ wife has late ’90s LeSabre that would leave her stranded. Bought new and had electrical problems the dealer couldn’t fix.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    The front lower grill is a bit large, but the rest of the car looks great. That is one of the nicest interiors, save the color scheme, that I have seen in a long time. Only complaint on dash would be not having knobs for the air temp controllers, I don’t like the rockers on our Accord either.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Ah, yes. I’m familiar with Toyota’s two-tiered navigation system where on one unit, nav is offered as an app and in the other, it’s built in. They also do this with the Camry, as I found out when I was at a Toyota dealership looking at a Camry SE V6.

    And I’m surprised that the Taurus was the best-handling vehicle of your group. It’s a land-yacht in every sense of the word, with very poor visibility. But the revolutionary thing here is that no matter which of these ful-sizers you choose, you’re getting a great vehicle. They all offer excellent style and luxury that truly makes them a compelling and rewarding choice over their respective mid-sized brethren. You can’t lose….well, unless you pay the $9K premium for an ES over a similarly-equipped Avalon…or if you buy the ugly-as-sin MKS.

  • avatar
    Ion

    Are those touch sensitive nubs? It’s funny the difference a year or two makes, awhile back Ford was lambasted for getting rid of buttons now touch sensors are the norm.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    I offered a similar comment when you wrote the ES review. Setting aside any debate on the exterior, the interior of the Avalon is so much better than the ES. I simply couldn’t believe the acres of hard plastic in the ES — it had the look of “we’re giving you less, but you’ll pay for it because it’s a Lexus”.

    I’ve always been a Chevy truck guy and won’t likely change but if I were looking for a sedan, this looks like a really good value.

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed, no doubt, the Avalon is a better deal than the ES.

      But what about the dealer experience. What about that.

      What about loaner cars, man

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        One of the attractions of buying a Toyota is only having to experience the dealer once at the sale. The dealer experience, independent of brand, always sucks because it always costs time and/or money. If I remember correctly Toyota now throws in some “free” maintenance to bribe you into coming back. I’d prefer just the car at a lower price.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          We bought a Prius and it did include free maintenance for 24 months/24K miles and this does seem to be standard on all the Toyotas nowadays.

          I’m perfectly OK with this. BUT – I happen to like this dealer a lot. It’s well run, the price of an oil change is very competitive with Insty-Loob, it’s quick and they do a very good job of finding genuine problems without showing me bright-red, 2K mile old transmission fluid and telling me I’m within minutes of Total Transmission Failure. Seriously, I get that at every Insty-Loob around here.

          I get appropriate advice, rather than mindless upsell. I like that.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            I admit, there may be other Toyota dealers that aren’t worth the powder to blow them to hell. YMMV. But if you never *need* to visit the dealer, well, as George implies, then the dealer doesn’t matter much. Maybe I’ve been unusually lucky but we’ve had almost no problems, none of them serious or disabling, with some pretty old Toyotas.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            I goota say we have like 10 dealers in the Houston area, and one in particular runs a similar operation. They’re 4 dealers away from me but well worth the additional drive.

            God forgive me, but it’s almost a pleasure doing business with them. And their repairs are reasonable.

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          Toyotacare is an exercise in branding and brainwashing more than anything else. 2 years 24k of free maintenance on a new car nowadays amounts to 4 free oil changes and tire rotations. At least BMW has the decency to go to 50k and include your first set of brake maintenance too.

          However, it’s really an excellent idea though to get people in the mindset of using the dealer for routine maintenance instead of the local indy shop or DIY.

          Funnily enough, I find the prices on most basic services at our local Mazda dealer to be competitive (oil changes & alignments) and sometimes even cheaper (tire mount & balance) than most of the indy shops in the area.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Or any dealer maintence for that matter. What does a new car need that the average Joe can’t do themselves for a fraction of the $100+ hour shop labor?

          • 0 avatar
            redmondjp

            Nobody in my entire neighborhood save for me even checks their own oil, much less works on anything on their cars. I guess there aren’t many average Joes left, at least in these parts!

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        I’ll probably never go for a Lexus because I get along with my Toyota dealer just fine. Fast, professional, doesn’t up-sell too much (they all do, a little), if I’ve got any complaint its too much post-service follow-up surveys. And, they within easy bicycling distance of my job – so I just toss the old Raleigh Twenty in the hatch when I take the car in.

        All dealers aren’t swindling, black, bastards. And it’d be nice if more posters talked about the good ones – with names and locations.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Can’t say I have love for the center stack and all the funky swoopy curves. Maybe in person it looks better.

    Outside is an improvement – but sales of the Avalon continue to slide down and more and more they are becoming the choice of rental fleets.

    One can do some TTaC sleuthing and find that post-tsunami in the spring of 2012 there was a HUGE burst of Avalon and Yaris sales – but even the Toyota faithful were saying it was all pent up fleet from deferred shipments and Toyota shifting contracts/agreements to move stale inventory. Maybe this one will sell better.

    The Toyota 3.5 V6 is a great engine – but it is definitely getting dated in output, mileage, and starting to be bested in NVH (which is pretty remarkable as it is a darn smooth engine as it is – it’s just the technology is soldiering along)

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      ‘sales of the Avalon continue to slide down and more and more’

      New Avalon became availble in late 2012CY. You need to look at the monthly numbers since then…not the annual #’s over the last few years. This one is off to a pretty good start.

      http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2011/01/toyota-avalon-sales-figures.html

  • avatar

    Good review Alex.

    I like this car. I bet a lot of Camry buyers will also like it

    “you have to ask yourself how much that Lexus logo is worth to you.”

    It’s not just the logo. It looks better too.

    But at the same time, it is just the logo.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      But what about the free Latte when you are getting an oil change? That’s got to be worth something right? It’s not like you could stop by one of the 27 Starbucks and 43 other coffee purveyors you pass on the way to the dealership.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        It isn’t just the Latte, which my Audi dealer has too. It is the premium loaners, being treated like a valued customer instead of a problem, and having the service department so nice that it is a sales tool instead of an island where miserable people are sent so they won’t color new car buyers’ sales experiences.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Why would you need a loaner for an oil change since Toyotas never need anything other than a oil change or at least that’s what you and others seem to believe. With an Audi then yes you’ll need that loaner more than once. As far as how the dealer treats you that varies greatly from dealer to dealer. As far as the Premium quality loaner yes I’d expect to get a similar quality car as I’m having serviced. I certainly wouldn’t expect to get a Lexus LS when my Corolla was in for service nor would I expect the opposite.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          I always thought you were fiscally conservative, now you advocate spending much more for a car that is arguably inferior to its brethren. If GM had made a Chevy better than the comparable Buick you would, rightly, criticize badge engineering. Yet here we have on objective measures (so excluding styling) the Avalon being cheaper for the same kit and having a better quality interior, whilst being as reliability and spacious.
          When I looked at the Avalon while my Sienna was being serviced I liked what I saw and the hybrid gets great fuel economy figures. Looks like they just pulled the rug from under their best selling luxury car, the ES. Ummm.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Fiscally conservative is what people spending other people’s money should be. Individuals can spend their money however they want, provided nobody else has to kick in. If I looked at both the Avalon and ES and I found the Avalon was better, I’d buy one. I really don’t anticipate being in the market for either though.

            Sometimes Lexus or Acura have models that offer more than similar sized Toyotas or Hondas, so I’d buy one of them instead of a more economical model. When I’m somewhere that doesn’t have the Japanese premium dealers, it really has to be special to merit traveling for sales or service. Acura service is great, and Acura loaners are better than waiting for an oil change, but driving 140 miles round-trip for an oil change diminishes the convenience. The same was even more true when the car was a Mini Cooper, and those round trips often had to be made once to pick up the loaner and a day or more later to return it for the repaired Mini Cooper.

            As for the Acura, it gets its service at the local Honda dealer now, and service there is not premium. It isn’t the horror show that service departments at problematic brands can be, but they aren’t waiting for you with keys to a shiny loaner when you pull in either. It’s more like good luck finding a parking space followed by good luck finding a service writer. It’s quite a step down from the standard set by Lexus and now adopted by the better dealers of their competitors.

            On the other hand, they’ve never called the police on me after making me mad enough that they felt they needed police protection like a Ford dealer did when I came to pick up my year old Ford that the dealer had just failed on its first annual state inspection for three defects, on an inspection I told them not to perform, and having broken an oil sensor off the engine while changing the oil so black smoke billowed from under the hood as oil leaked onto the exhaust. I told them not to inspect it because I knew it wouldn’t pass without a horn, the original having fallen off. After the drama with the cop, who had the same last name as was on the sign out front, I installed a horn and took the still-smoking car to another inspection station, where it passed with the tires and brakes the dealer said I needed to replace. As for the oil sensor, the dealer said it was a coincidence that it broke while they were working on the car and the new car warranty didn’t cover it. That’s bad service.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Your service (and auto) experiences seem much worse than mine. I take my lowly Toyota (not a luxury brand like “Acura” or Lexus etc) and I manage to find a parking spot at the Raleigh Toyota dealer, get seen quickly and get my oil changes, tires rotated etc and enjoy free coffee and muffins and get on my way typically in less than 1 hour. I even get some work done with the free wifi. The Lexus service must be magnificent to top this after spending $5K more for essentially the same vehicle.

            When I looked at the Lexus RX a few years back the sales person was very keen that my wife and I tour the “facility” and he made a point of showing us the gold leaf on the showroom ceiling. Yep I can see what the $5K extra get me!

            I still am amazed that you consider it worth spending that much more on a vehicle primarily (you don`t seem to quibble with the assessment of the Avalon vs the ES) due to the service department which you will visit perhaps 3 times a year.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            We bought an Acura TSX in 2004. We’ve since bought a Honda Civic Si and a CR-V. The TSX was in many ways more desirable than the Accord, being a sensible size, having a very nice interior, and is very refined in its ride and handling. It seemed very affordable after 18 years of German cars. The next generation TSX(if there is one) and TL will have to be very good indeed if they are to be worth a premium over the new Accord. Considering how the TSX has held up so far, we’re in no rush to replace it anyway. When the time comes, we’ll consider any interesting car on its own merits, level of service only being one of them. I don’t know where I said that premium service was a primary concern, but it is ridiculous to say it amounts to nothing more than a fancy cup of coffee. If anything, adopting Lexus service treatment is a bigger perk for Audi than it is for the Japanese that pioneered it. I certainly spend more of my time drinking their excellent coffee and enjoying their granola bars in one year then I’ve spent at a Honda dealership looking at a car magazine in the past six years.

            The Honda Civic Si is beyond its warranty, so I take it to an independent Honda specialist for its oil changes now. I don’t have a good place to do them myself, or I’d probably handle them myself as I’ve done for other cars in the past. The Honda dealer I used to go to in San Diego gave quick and cheap service until new car sales cratered. Then oil changes went from $23 to $60 and they started doing things like telling me to have my 30K mile service done an oil change cycle early and trying to include 100K mile service items in the 30K service I didn’t need yet. I felt like a Porsche owner again. It was a complete transformation from my earlier visits, when I didn’t need an appointment and was shocked by their low rates. Maybe now that new Honda sales have gotten back on track they’ve stopped looking to maintenance to balance their books, but I probably won’t go back to find out.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          Worked for Saturn. BTW, I would on occasion take my old Land Cruiser to the Lexus Dealer as it was closer and Toyota owners get to partake of the same goodies in the waiting room. I stopped when the service writer insisted I needed a 4 wheel alignment and when I called him on it his explanation was that he forgot the Land Cruiser had a less sophisticated suspension than the LX-450 version and that he wasn’t sure there equipment would work on my lowly Land Cruiser. In all honesty though I was pleasantly suprised the dude knew what an LX450 was.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    Don’t care for the swoopy, cluttered, glittery, pinball front interior. Maybe with use you would come to ignore looking at it, but that might take awhile.

  • avatar
    detlump

    I sat in the new Avalon, and the amount of chrome on the dash was very distracting, causing a lot of glare. Who thinks glare is a good idea, especially in a car that offers a sunroof? I just think the dash is too busy, with too many surfaces.

    I’m younger than the average owner, but I wouldn’t mind one. I even like the older generation Avalons, as they are very reliable, get you from A to B, and don’t have the theft rate of Camrys.

    If these hold up well enough, I might consider one as a used car purchase. I’m just looking for something comfortable to eat up the miles.

  • avatar
    phreshone

    Alex,

    How does it compare to the other FWD large car in the market, the Americanized V6 Passat?

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      I wouldn’t call the Passat a good cross-shop. The Passat is smaller, cheaper, and the interior caters to the mass-market mid-size sedan market. Read: cheap plastics. When you compare Passat/Camry, the comparison is more valid because the Camry has plastics that are just as cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        hifi

        The Passat did go a bit downmarket with the most recent generation. But it’s vastly better than the Camry, and more on-par with the Avalon. It’s comparable in size with the Avalon as well.

      • 0 avatar
        phreshone

        Really? Similar wheelbase, interior dimensions and base price w/ V6 (Bigger than the Maxima) – thought perhaps that the Passat might provide some driving experience upgrade to those who are looking at large $30k cars, or is it similar dynamically, and not worth the downgrade in interior?

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Great review Alex. They’ve really jacked the Avalon up. The hybrid is very reasonable priced. The Lexus badge does little for me, but to others it may. To each their own.

  • avatar
    silverkris

    The new Av looks quite nice, and if they drive and feel like the previous models, they are very comfortable. Unfortunately, I was hoping that a large car would have bigger trunk capacity (which was the problem with the previous generation Avalon), seems to be no bigger than a Camry’s, compounded by the fact that it doesn’t have split folding rear seats.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I know what Mike978 is talking about. I too live near Raleigh and my wife and I looked at the Lexus dealer as well as Leith Toyota down the road. Here’s our observations back when we cross shopped the RX350 vs the Highlander:
    Lexus – dealer spent 2 hours showing the place and telling us how wonderful they were, then acted like we just farted in their face when we asked if they could do better that a lousy $1500 off sticker.We then looked at the vehicle and did the quickest road test in history. It took forever and a day to get an answer – they held firm at $1500 off sticker. We left.
    Toyota – dealer showed us the Highlander, gave us the keys and we went for a ride, came back, he answered questions and we talked price. In the end, we bought the Highlander, it’s bigger, same 3.5, and it’s been extremely reliable. The service experince is great, they have a very nice waiting area and I feel they’ve never tried to pull any crap or dumb upsells. What did a lose by not going the Lexus route? Well, nothing that I can think of that matters.
    I’d definitely buy the Avalon over the ES if I was in the market.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    I’m sorry, but nothing screams “I couldn’t afford it” like that entry model screen. The bezel just looks tacky and cheap.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I see far more 90′s on up Buick 3800 equipped cars on the road than any Toyota product so the “left stranded” comment is a bit over the top.
    I’m sorry but to be a large car in my book you need not only a large trunk, which this car lacks, but also more width. If three average sized adult are squished like sardines in the back seat then it is not a true full size car. At a mere 195″ in length that double confirms that. The exterior of this thing reminds me of a longer Dodge Dart with a squished Camry grille tacked on. Lose the chrome exterior door handles and this car looks more economy car than luxury car. All told I really do not see anybody but the same blue haired clientele lining up for these.

    A Chrysler 300 which is now up to 300 horses on certain models tied to the now standard 8 speed is most certainly not a full second slower 0-60 compared to the Avalon. You need to drive an 8 speed equipped 300/Charger. I have consistently timed them out in the 6.2-6.3 second 0-60 time bracket. The 7.2 time is with the old 5 speed transmission which has been relegated to a few certain rental Chargers. The Azera does about 6.5 seconds, the Taurus SHO about 5.2 seconds and the current old style Impala does the run in under 6 seconds.

  • avatar
    Toshi

    I’ve seen the line about the Avalon being larger inside than the LS L twice now. It’s incorrect.

    The non-L LS has 35.8″ of rear legroom. The L rear legroom isn’t officially published, but what is published is that the stretch is 4.x” with the excess all going between e B and C pillars.

    Ergo, a 40.x” rear legroom figure, greater than the Avalon, along with usable rear headroom (absent on both is and the last gen Avalon).

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    I’ve driven this car. To me it wallowed like a pig, I couldn’t stand the way it drove and cut my test drive short after about 400 yards.

    I’m picky about the way a car handles but this one was definitely on the bottom end of handling for me.

    I’m sure other people love the ride of this vehicle, but if your looking for anything resembling any sportiness at all, look someplace else.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    My favorite Toyota’s would be the BRZ and the Highlander. This car doesn’t make the cut.

    About this car:

    Toyota and Honda seem to be making a good business of this certain type of driver. The “I kinda hate cars and don’t want to waste alot of money on a lemon.” These people seem mechanically declined and just pick the ‘safest’ possible choice.

    The Toyota falls in that category – this is the large car version of it. Beyond that it seems to have little redeeming value. It’s ugly – its not very fun to drive. It says 55 or older to everyone who looks at it. It has a smallish trunk (double for the old empty nesters that actually buy this thing).

    I’d pick almost any other big car over this one – but I am the type to actually research the car. Oh yeah once again Dykes scores the fastest 0-60 in this car every recorded..

    This leads to the phenomenon of people claiming that so and so car is so fast and wonderful. But keep in mind it happens to every car Dykes tests.

    This car is really not that fast. I think we should use a quartermile as the new standard and this thing would be hard pressed to get below 15 seconds in that number.

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    I purchased my first Avalon in 2004 and it was a 2000 model XLS. It had 120K on it when I got it, and I paid $8400. I drove it for 3 years spent about $500 on repairs and sold it for $5800 with 245K on the clock. Original starter, alternator, struts, and of course trans and motor. It was comfortable, quiet, and got about 28mpg on highway.

    Due to the high miles I drive, I prefer to purchase cars to use for the 2nd half of their life. I like to read reviews for cars that I may purchase in 4 or 5 years as used. I have never had much luck with any of the big three going much past 180K. It is not catastrophic failures like trans or motor but all the “little” things that eat up time and money.

  • avatar
    BlackDynamiteOnline

    In measurements, the Lexus ES actually has two more inches of rear legroom. The ES does have a bigger back seat. And getting the luxury Lexus badge, with Lexus service, is definitely worth the premium for many people. Plus the styling of the two cars, inside and out, is very different.

    In practice, both cars are selling fast, and are virtually identical in sales, YTD
    BD


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