Overview & Reviews
Since its launch in the mid-1990s, the Avalon has been Toyota's main full-size sedan. It has always been a solid performer, with standard V6 power, lots of interior space and a reputation for reliability.
Early Avalons were often criticized for their humdrum style, especially the first-generation model. But the more recent Avalons, thanks to their more upscale design, have consistently been among the best choices available for a large sedan. Overall, a new or used Avalon is certainly worth considering.
Current Toyota Avalon
Four trims comprise the Avalon lineup: XLE, XLE Premium, XLE Touring and Limited. For each, you'll find a smooth 3.5-liter V6 with 268 horsepower and a six-speed automatic transmission. Together, they provide strong performance along with impressive fuel economy.
Standard feature highlights of the XLE include leather upholstery, power and heated front seats, keyless ignition and entry, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker audio system. The XLE Premium adds a sunroof and a few other minor perks, while the Touring gains 18-inch wheels (versus 17s), a navigation system and a smartphone app integration system. The Limited's features include xenon headlights, upgraded leather upholstery, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats and an 11-speaker JBL premium sound system.
In reviews, we've been impressed by the Avalon's upscale cabin quality, roomy seating and large trunk. There's plenty of power on tap and the precise steering has a firm, responsive feel to it. Whether threading its way through a tight mountain pass or cruising serenely on the open freeway, this accommodating full-size sedan provides a very appealing blend of comfort and useful performance. The only possible downside is that the car's ride quality isn't quite as plush as before, which could alienate previous Avalon buyers. But overall, this Avalon's superior road manners will likely appeal to the vast majority of large sedan shoppers.
Used Toyota Avalon Models
Redesigned for 2013, the latest generation of the Toyota Avalon has a more premium look and feel than the previous one. Under the sleek new skin is a stiffer structure that improves both ride and handling qualities. Since its debut, this version has seen only a minor shuffling of standard and optional features.
Developed and built with American roads in mind, the previous, third-generation Toyota Avalon ran from 2005-'12. Initially, four trims were offered: XL, Touring, XLS and Limited. The Touring was unique in that it was a sporty Avalon, with 17-inch wheels, a more firmly tuned suspension, an all-black interior and aluminum trim. "Sporty" is a relative term, though, since even this Avalon was tuned more for comfort than zipping through corners. All Avalons had a 268-hp 3.5-liter V6 and it drove the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.
Unlike earlier-generation Avalons, this one couldn't be had with a front bench seat. But there was ample room in the front and plenty of legroom to stretch out in back, where a nearly flat floor allowed three adults to sit comfortably. The materials were mostly first-rate and build quality was excellent overall.
Changes throughout this generation were minimal. The 3.5-liter V6 was initially rated for 280 hp, but revised SAE rating procedures dropped that to 268 hp, starting with the 2006 model year. Avalons from 2005-'07 had a five-speed automatic instead of the later six-speed, so expect slightly less performance and fuel economy from these earlier models. For 2009, stability control became standard across the board and the Touring trim was dropped. For 2011, Toyota updated the Avalon's exterior styling and dashboard design. The XLS trim level was also dropped, leaving the base Avalon and the Limited.
In road tests and reviews, we found the third-gen Avalon to be an excellent large sedan. Highway driving in particular is luxurious, making long road trips a pleasure. The V6 engine pulls smoothly and powerfully, while posting impressive fuel economy numbers. This Avalon handles adequately, but mainly this is a full-size car tuned for comfort rather than athleticism. Downsides are few – the rear seat doesn't fold down to expand luggage capacity and the driving demeanor is isolated and hence somewhat dull
With the second-generation Avalon, sold from 2000-'04, Toyota made a number of improvements over the first version. Available in XL and XLS trims, the second-gen Avalon was roomier and more technologically advanced. Optional stability control and brake assist features were added to improve safety. The 3.0-liter V6 was equipped with variable valve timing, providing a modest power increase over the previous generation with a peak of 210 hp. In road tests, we commented that the second-gen Avalon wasn't a particularly interesting car to drive, but it countered with plenty of dependability, comfort and smoothness. A curvaceous dashboard design further distinguished this model from its relatively staid competitors.
The original Toyota Avalon, sold from 1995-'99, came in two trims (XL and XLS) and had a 192-hp 3.0-liter V6 and a four-speed automatic transmission. Minor engine revisions for the 1997 model year saw the output of the V6 increase to 200 hp.
For the first two generations, Toyota did not make many significant changes. Therefore, used-Avalon shoppers should focus more on the condition and mileage of the vehicle than a specific year of production.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 1,745.00
97 Avalon - 1997 Toyota Avalon
By jish - December 28 - 2:23 am
I bought the car used for $3500 in 2006 with 207k miles, and it now has 243k miles. The car has been very reliable for me overall. I have done some preventive maintenance, such as change the original timing belt and water pump at about 220k miles (recommended to be done at 100k miles). The car did develop some squeaky noises in the front suspension, but this was fixed by replacing the strut mounts for about $250 including labor. Also, the front driver's window stopped rolling up and down for about 6 months (luckily it was stuck in the "up" position), but then magically starting working again. Overall, the car has been excellent. I look forward to driving it at least another 100k miles.
Avalon: Like Cruisin' on Catalina - 1998 Toyota Avalon
By jdog - December 27 - 10:00 am
I really enjoy the Avalon. This car gets a solid 25 mpg without sacrificing performance. I can turn off overdrive and step on it going up mountain passes and around slower traffic and the V-6 responds really well. The ride is smooth and the interior sits six adults comfortably. I've taken road-trips with four other adults without any complaints about space or comfort. The only problem I've had is that the brakes have a pernicious squeal on this model that was not corrected by the new brake pads that the dealer installed. I think that this was corrected on later models. Overall, I think my Avalon is an excellent cruising sedan.
my car - 2004 Toyota Avalon
By georgeeee - December 24 - 10:00 am
I think this a very comfortable car to drive
Love this vehicle! - 2005 Toyota Avalon
By j. barnes - December 24 - 5:33 am
we really like our 2005 Avalon! It is a very confortable ride, neat interior, quiet, and good mpg.
I'm hooked and for good reason!!!!!! - 2003 Toyota Avalon
By Linda Sullivan - December 22 - 10:00 am
I must say that after driving a lincoln for many years. I am loving the ride and style of my Avalon and it compares to the lincoln quality in every way and the price could not be any better.I would recommend this car to every one I know and even those I do not.My friends are shocked at all the interior room of the Avalon and the smooth and quiet ride it has. So much so that two of them are going to purchase one for themselves.
SO FAR SO GOOD - 2006 Toyota Avalon
By karen nelson - December 21 - 1:56 pm
This car has it all. Easy to drive, comfortable and appears to have all the safety features plus some. No problems here.
My Avalon - 2005 Toyota Avalon
By Girvinia - December 19 - 11:00 pm
Have driven Lincoln for 15 years so this was a change for us. Fun and easy to drive. I am 5'; husband is 6'3 and accommodates either of us, lots of room in front and in back seat. Great music sounds system, including the controls on the steering wheel. Love the soft dove gray interior as compared to many cars with black interior. Easy, effortless power, just quietly and quickly surges ahead, lots of power! I think we made a great choice and I look forward to many luxury miles ahead.
Good mechanical, bad comfort ! - 2014 Toyota Avalon
By diva_3181377 - December 19 - 9:18 am
Pros: 33 mpg in city ( i have hybrid model) and 36 mpg in highway, Interior (except sun visor and head liner) looks nice. Steering is like by my bmw Z3. Not a real soft drive. You will feel the road. Cons: 1) Never got the advertised mpg (40/39). I tried different driving styles. No way. Also did fuel system cleaning and engine additives as advised by the service advisor. No difference. 2) Head liner and sun visor made with cheap cloth. <2014 models were much better. Seems Toyota tried to save some money here. 3) Real bad seat cushion. You are almost sitting on the metal frame. Dealer WILL never fix it with usual reply "designed like that / cant reproduce". Even my colleague's 2017 model is same with seat and head liner/sun visor. Areas of improvement: Fix the damn seat first. Then fix the cheap cloth for headliner. Then it is a good car which got the bad reputation by using cheap materials on the interior. You will get tired by sitting on metal seats. If you have a new car, wait some time like 2-3 years and see how good the seat cushions are. Simple google search will show on how to fix this by putting a nice form ($10) which dealer will refuse to admit /do.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - 2006 Toyota Avalon
By Robert W. Haisten - December 18 - 3:36 pm
0-60 in 6 seconds. 28 MPG in town and 31+ on the road. However, mine came with an AM radio that goes to static every time I change directions. When it does work the sound is so muffeled you can barely hear it. Dealer replaced some radio parts -- same problem. I have to admit that the FM and CD features are fantastic. The car leaked transmission fluid all over my garage the day I carried it home. The dealer claimed to fix the problem the first try, it leaked all over the garage again. Finally, it was repaired on the second try (so far, anyway). When you drive 65 MPH, it feels like 45 or less, so be careful. Why isn't there a coin holder?
Malfunctioning extras are a pain - 2011 Toyota Avalon
By japelo - December 13 - 7:23 am
Let me preface this review by saying that the first Avalon I had was excellent. I had it 7 yrs. & traded only because someone hit me. The 2011 Avalon I have now is also an excellent ride, but the wind noise and some of its extras are more trouble than they're worth.