Back in the day we, the Americans, had this abnormal passion for everything big – big TVs, big mansions, big hamburgers, big body parts…and, naturally, big cars. So, anything with a “Full-Size” tag on it was considered to be the best of the best. And that’s partially why we witnessed some quite impressive year-end sales for all the full-size SUVs and sedans. Large meant you could afford it, thus, you were one step higher on the social ladder. However, after the 2008 world economy crisis nobody had the stomach for fancy – everybody was just trying to survive in the harsh new environment, especially here in the United States (the European and Asian folks had stronger barriers to withstand the crash). You can actually “track” how the collapse affected global sales of full-size (and expensive) vehicles. If you take the Toyota Avalon, for example, you’ll see that the model had a peaking year in 2000, with 104K units sold (83K in 2001), while after the crisis the numbers dropped to 28-29K. On the other hand, after a while, the economy healed and folks started spending those hard-earned bucks, and so, the market slowly got back on its feet, with a total of 70.9K sales in 2013 (including the hybrids, that is). Compared to the “doomsday times”, that’s more than double the amount! True, the fresh-outta-the-oven Toyota Avalon hybrid did lend a helping hand (16.4K units sold), but the “traditional” edition still did most of the job.
Dealing With A Crisis And Going With Compacts
So, yeah, it’s pretty obvious that no matter how strong a model/brand is, we, human beings, are quite fragile creatures, and, once a crisis hits, we try to save as much as we can and instantly forget about the way life used to be before. It’s natural, nothing to be ashamed of :). Furthermore, a global event like that makes the majors in the industry change their ways and focus more on the tinny-tiny and affordable cars, rather than the huge beasts that nobody can afford. The #1 rule in business is you still gotta make a profit, no matter what the market tells you. That’s why after the 2008 collapse we had so many compact sedans and crossover SUVs hitting the American dealerships – to appeal to the new, “managing” customers. With that said, I’m afraid I have to warn you: a new crisis is coming, so, if you’re after a full-size car, you better hurry it up, while you still see a Toyota Avalon for sale at your nearest dealership :). Ok, so, what does a large sedan offer that the regular mid-sizer can’t? I mean, it’s easy to see the difference between, say, the Corolla and the Camry (you’ve got a huge difference in interior/cargo space, seating capacity, technological/safety equipment, powertrain, and, of course, fuel-efficiency, not to say pricing). But what about the next step up the ladder? Why would you ever need to own a full-sizer, when you’re perfectly fine with what the mid-size sedan has to offer? What’s the catch? No catch!
Toyota Avalon – The Best Car For Men In Suits
Get this: with the Avalon Toyota was aiming at a different group of folks if you know what I mean. I’m talking about the strict fellas and gals in perfect suits, briefcases and hefty salaries that can afford to be chauffeured while sitting in the back sipping champagne and learning about the next deal, as opposed to getting behind the wheel and losing all their cool. You could say that people like that go with Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, or, at least, the Lincoln and/or Lexus line-ups, but the truth is, between an affordable mid-size sedan and a gorgeous, classy Bentley with a 100K+ price-tag there’s a lot of ground to cover, a lot of people to appeal to. We, the regular folks might think that a man in a suit has all the money in the world and can afford any car he wants, but the truth is, they’ve got their own hierarchy, so, there you have it :). And that’s exactly why I decided to write this Toyota Avalon review – because it’s just that golden-middle model, believe it or not. Ford has the Taurus, Chevy has the Impala, and the big T has the Avalon. Go ahead and check out my thorough review , by the way. Actually, I’ll even go ahead and say that the Japanese model is a bit more upscale than the competition because it’s constantly being compared to the friendly Lexus ES 350, which is considered to be an entry-level luxury.
Comparing The Lexus ES 350 Vs The Toyota Avalon
However, the two have a lot in common, including extra-generous seating capacity and interior room to mess around and feel comfortable. They’re also pretty similar in dimensions and in fuel-efficiency, so, it’s actually kinda easy to compare Lexus ES 350 and Toyota Avalon, because, again, they’ve got tons of similarities. The Avalon has a perfect reputation and is known as a go-getter among affordable/mainstream sedans, even though it’s got more kick than most of the entry-luxury models. Ride quality is superb, the engine is mighty, and the exterior design is on point. Same goes for the Lexus stud (the two models are actually good for the same amount of horses and torque). As for the cargo capacity, you’ll be surprised to learn that the Avalon offers more cargo space than the pricier ally. Go figure, right? So, bottom line is, if you were thinking about buying a used Toyota Avalon but were not 100% sure, second-guessing and wondering what kind of a car you’d get, I’m here to tell you “Go ahead”. Trust me, it will be a great bang for your bucks, probably the greatest on the market of full-size sedans. By the way, check out my article. Ok, I believe that’s it for my super-long prologue and now we’re finally ready to talk about the car’s life span – from the very early days to the current 2016 edition and even the upcoming 2017 release. Buckle up!
The First Generation – Going Hard From The Get-Go (1994-1999)
Alright, so, what do we know about this highly successful vehicle? First of all, it’s a full-sizer, manufactured by Toyota here in America. Plus, it’s the company’s flagship sedan on the North-American market (the United States and Canada), in Puerto Rico and in all the major countries in the Middle East. The Avalon even used to be produced in Australia, for the 2000-2005 period but was replaced by the Aurion model in 2006 (November). The very first edition of the mighty full-sizer rolled off in Georgetown, Kentucky in 1994 (February 21st) as the 1995 Toyota Avalon. The second gen saw the light of day in America and Japan in 1999, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, OK? The Japanese giant was marketing this new hustler as a replacement for the outdated Toyota Cressida, which was dropped from the US market in ’92. So, yeah, the new kid on the block was pretty vital for the company’s strategy of conquering the Land Of Dreams :). And while the “deceased” Cressida was an upper-level RWD (rear-wheel drive) mid-size sedan with an L6 engine under the hood, the brand-new Avalon came equipped with FWD (front-wheel drive) and a mighty V6 unit. So, all things considered, these two were pretty different, especially when it comes to power delivery and the way the vehicle feels on the road, including ride quality and steering response.
Based On An Icon, But A Legend In Its Own Right
Fun fact: in the last couple of years the Toyota/Lexus line-up came pretty close to each other, with the champ becoming more and more like the Camry and the ES, so, they just had to make the full-sizer just a bit larger in order to make it attractive for certain groups of people. The Toyota Avalon black looks like the next Bond car to me – honestly. And did you know that the name comes from the Arthurian legend and a legendary island from that time? Alright, back to it: the full-sizer was built in the same factory as the iconic Camry, so, it made sense to build it on the same platform, you know? No, seriously, the Avalon was constructed upon a stretched Camry platform and came packed with a 3.0-lit V6 that was good for 192 Horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque, which was quite alright back in the 20th century. Furthermore, the car could be equipped with a front bench seat that allowed for 6 passengers to be seated, while Traction Control was also available. With the 1997 Toyota Avalon ABS was made standard and the output was increased to 200HP and 214 lb-ft of torque. I know that doesn’t seem like much today, in 2016, but back in the way, folks used to really dig the way new models were boosting the power ratings with each new edition/version/configuration.
The First Mid-Cycle Refresh And Poor Sales In Australia
Next year the company introduced a mid-cycle refresh and the 1998 Toyota Avalon boasted minor updates to the front/rear fascias. In addition, the structure was improved a lot as well, with front seat-mounted side airbags becoming standard equipment. Fun fact: usually when Toyota build an all-new model, they produce it in Japan, test it on the native folks and only then go ahead and import it to the United States. But, in the case of the Avalon, the car was made right here in America and exported to the Japanese market as a right-handed vehicle. The launch in Australia happened in June 2000, with the construction platform and the body being identical to the traditional edition from 1994. It was built in Altona (Melbourne), both as a right-hand car (for the domestic market, along with New Zealand and some “right-minded” Asian countries) and as a left-handed car for the Middle-Eastern market. By the way, the friendly Camry was also built in that plant. However, despite the good intentions, the Avalon kinda failed over there, with the Australian Toyota Avalon reviews calling it a mediocre and boring ride, which wasn’t really true. The majority of shoppers preferred the V6-packed Camry, and that was more than Ok with the Japanese giant, as far as I know :). Regardless, in ’98 they managed to sell 77.5K units in the US.
The Second Generation – Stepping It Up (1999-2004)
The 1999 Toyota Avalon marked the arrival of the 2nd gen, which was bigger and better in almost everything. But, it was still constructed upon the same old Camry platform and had a 3.0-lit V6 under the hood that came with VVT-i and was capable of 210 Horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque. It’s kinda funny, but that exact engine was shared by the Sienna min-van, the Highlander mid-size crossover SUV and the friendly RX300 and ES from Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand. As for the transmission, the shoppers still only had a 4-speed automatic to go with – no other options. Styling-wise, the second generation didn’t go for any fancy new trends and remained a conservative stud, appealing to the older, wealthy buyers who still remembered what it felt like to drive a classy car on a Sunday afternoon. The drag coefficient was dropped as well, down to 0.28c. The 2000 Toyota Avalon was practically the same model, with little to no changes. You still had to pick between 2 trim levels – the entry-level XL and the upscale XLS. Even the basic trim came with 15-inch alloy wheels, front torso-side airbags, four-wheel disc ABS, and more. Optional features/equipment included a fancy JBL sound-system, navigation, that front-row bench seat that turned the full-sizer into a 6-folks-hauler and VSC (Vehicle Stability Control).
Misfortunes Of The Avalon In Australia
The 2001 Toyota Avalon was a lazy one as well, but I just wanna say that the second generation featured a built-in AC power inverter (115V), which made it the first model with such a thing. For some reason, the company came up with this genius plan to drop it in the 3rd gen; but, thankfully, the friendly Sienna took the flag and is offered today with that exact inverter (well, maybe not a 100% copy, but you get the idea :). As for the 2002 Toyota Avalon, the big T decided to introduce the model to the Japanese market under the Toyota Pronard nameplate for the 2002-2004 period, thus replacing the first gen that used to be called the same as here in the States. I guess it’s just the corporate chess players doing their thing, so, don’t even try to wrap your head around it. However, due to bad sales, they never exported the 3rd generation to Japan, and that automatically means the just-introduced Pronard was taken out of production. The 2003 Toyota Avalon received yet another mid-cycle facelift, with a brand-new grille and updated head-/tail-lights. On the inside, you had pretty much the same story, with the gauges going for a bit more up-to-date look and a new wood grain-style trimmed steering wheel being introduced for the XLS edition – the ultimate trim. Overall, the second generation was a nice step up the ladder for the model – nothing more, nothing less. And now let’s discuss the 3rd gen.
The Third Generation – Half-Way Into The Global Crisis (2004-2012)
The 2005 Toyota Avalon jump-started the third gen and was introduced to the world at the North-American International Auto Show. The new model hit the dealerships in February that same year and went through a significant redesign. Furthermore, the team behind the new gen claimed that they managed to cut the product development time quite significantly – from 29+ months to 1.5 years (18 months). By the way, the 3rd gen was never available in Japan or Europe, which made it a US exclusive. The styling duties were taken care of by Calty, the drag coefficient was bumped up a bit – to 0.29c, but the vehicle’s dimensions were larger than ever before. So, the redesign let go of the promising front-bench seat option, replacing it with a semi-flat rear floor, which allowed for improved comfort for the passengers in the back seats. Furthermore, that’s when the silver Toyota Avalon was introduced, accentuating the vehicle’s class and premium quality. As for the powertrain, the new model was the first Toyota car on the American market to feature Dual VVT-i in the brand-new 3.5-lit V6 that was pumping out 280 Horsepower, 248 pound-feet of torque and was paired to a 5-speed (sequential shift) automatic transmission. Acceleration was pretty impressive, too: The new Avalon could jump from zero to 60 miles per hour in 6 seconds sharp. So, this one goes out to all the sprinter fans :).
4 Trim Levels And Tons Of Optional Equipment
In terms of the available trim levels shoppers now had 4 to pick from: the entry-level XL, Touring, XLS, and the ultimate edition – Limited. The basic XL came packed with 16-inch alloy wheels, while the upper trims boasted 17-inchers. The XL also featured dual-climate (automatic) temperature controls, while the Touring boasted an all-black leather interior, a sport-tuned suspension, fancy wheels, and even a spoiler. XLS was OK, I guess, while the Limited added ventilated front/back seats, keyless button-start/entry, an upgraded 12-speaker sound-system (the famous JBL), a wood-trimmed steering wheel and all kinds of other entry-level luxury goodies. The 2006 Toyota Avalon made Vehicle Stability Control available on the XL and Touring trims, with the Limited edition getting optional equipment, such as remote engine start, HID lighting, Laser Cruise Control, and more. So, it’s safe to say that you could get all the latest techy features with this full-size sedan. The 2007 Toyota Avalon was practically the same car as a year ago, while the 2008 Toyota Avalon “earned” a mild facelift. The front fascia was redesigned and rear lights were tweaked a bit, while the Touring trim got a new black grille. Furthermore, the Limited edition received a 6-speed automatic transmission, chrome exterior door handles, new, fancy wheels for the Touring/XLS trims, improved rear brakes, and more.
New Styling With The 2011 Toyota Avalon
Next year Vehicle Stability Control became standard and the Touring trim was taken out of the equation. That was a pity, if you ask me because I personally really loved it (I’m a fan of the golden middle, in case you were wondering). 2010 was another lazy year for the 3rd gen, while the 2011 Toyota Avalon came with new styling and only two trim levels available – the entry-level trim and the ultimate Limited edition. Again, I’m not a fan of taking away all the options from the customers, because you never know what’s in every single potential buyer’s head, and with 4 or 5 picks he might just find his perfect one. Anyway, the backup camera became standard, along with 17-inch wheels, while the new navigation system boasted real-time traffic updates. The center console and the instrumental cluster were redesigned as well, with new sheet metal, new wood-style trim and new front/rear fascias becoming the new normal. Furthermore, fuel-efficiency was slightly improved, too, with the car returning 29 miles per hour on the highway and 20MPG in the city (23 miles of combined driving). In addition, the new Avalon featured an upgraded suspension system and a 12-speaker JBL sound-system (only available on the Limited trim). As for the safety equipment, the standard goodies included anti-lock brakes, brakes assist, front/rear side curtain airbags, front-row side torso airbags, and dual front airbags, along with a driver’s knee airbag. Besides, in the frontal offset/side impact tests, conducted by the IIHS, the Avalon earned an overall score of “Good”. Plus, 2009, 2010 and 2011 editions of the third-gen received Top Safety Picks from the organization.
The Fourth Generation – The Current State Of Affairs (2012-Present Day)
Now, before we dig into the last gen to date, let me tell you about the Avalon’s “credentials”: first of all, Car and Driver put it at the top of the large premium sedans list back in 2005. So did Motor Trend, Edmunds and Automobile Magazine (I hope I don’t have to tell you guys that those are the best of the best in the game). In 2010 Consumer Reports rated the Toyota vehicle at the top as well, ranking it as one of the best in the segment of large and upscale sedans. That same year this sleek and smooth car was put head to head against Ford’s Taurus in the Motor Trend comparison and won. So, with that kind of background, the 2012 Toyota Avalon just had to go big. The redesigned edition was revealed at the New-York International Show in 2012 (April, to be exact) and we learned that it will be constructed upon the same platform as the friendly Lexus ES. The redesign included a new grille and restyled headlights that had a lot of similarities with the new Camry “face”. On the inside, the new Avalon featured touch-sensitive controls instead of good-old buttons. The new model went on sale in America in December that same year. And while the year-end sales were not really impressive (just below 30K), you just knew that the team behind the fourth generation was on the right track. They had to be.
The Toyota Avalon Hybrid
With the 2013 Toyota Avalon the company introduced the first-ever hybrid edition that featured a revised edition of the HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive) powertrain that’s under the hood of the Camry Hybrid. As for the traditional engine, the car packed a 2.5-lit 4-cylinder. Fuel-efficiency ratings were decent, too: the hybrid returned 39 miles per gallon on the highway and 40MPG in the city (40MPG combined). Hey, if you’re really into hybrids and wanna check out the Japanese giant’s current line-up, go to this post and read all about them. The standard 2014 Toyota Avalon was pretty much the same as the 2013 edition, with little to no changes at all. However, sales were on point (67K, with 17K hybrids sold), even though the previous edition did manage to move a bit more (70.9K, 16.4K hybrids sold). But, given the fact that today it looks and feels as good as new, I would highly recommend considering this one as a good investment of your money. If you’re into pre-owned stuff, that is. The price of 2014 Toyota Avalon varies between 19.3K and 33.4K, which is a pretty solid offer for a car like that. Think about it, it might just be your lucky purchase. If not, well, I won’t be mad at you, not even a little bit 🙂
Toyota Avalon 2015
Alright, we’ve got the 2015 Toyota Avalon next up in line. As you might’ve guessed, this one was just another routine edition for the fourth generation. To keep up the appearances, so to speak. Don’t get me wrong – this was still an awesome full-size sedan, definitely one of the best on the market. You’ve got a super-quiet, comfortable and almost-luxury interior, with tons of leg- and head-room to go around, generous cargo capacity, above-average fuel-efficiency, attractive exterior looks, and more. This was the real deal, folks, no other way around that. Now, as for the changes that the Toyota Avalon 2015 brought along, I want to point out the fact that now we had a brand-new XLE Touring Sport trim, the Entune interface has been improved a lot, plus, blind-spot monitoring was now available with the Touring edition. I know it’s not much, but hey, you gotta appreciate what you have, right? As for the competition, the good-old Chevy Impala was right next to it in the race of champs, while the all-new Chrysler 300 was the close 2nd. The Toyota full-sizer is definitely not the sportiest model of them all, but when it comes to comfort level, quality, reliability and prestige, you can’t beat it in a fair fight. And if you’re interested in the price of 2015 Toyota Avalon (of course you are), I’m happy to say that you can cop the entry-level XLE trim for 32.6K MSRP, while the Limited trim will cost you 40.4K, and that’s kinda steep.
Toyota Avalon 2016
Alright, enough with the 2015 model – what about the current, 2016 Toyota Avalon? Same old same old, I’m afraid. Not much has changed over the year, but, some things did happen. First of all the Touring Sport trim was dropped (yep, it lasted for one model year only), while the regular Tourings are now packed with a sport-tuned suspension (I guess it’s the best of the two worlds, huh?); a brand-new XLE Plus trim is available from now on, which sits right between the entry-level XLE and the XLE Premium. Aside from that, we still have the good-old Avalon in our hands, a true champ on the market of full-size sedans, nothing more, nothing less. With five trim levels at your disposal and all kinds of flexible options and packages I’m more than sure you’ll find your perfect configuration at the nearest dealership. Beside, even the entry-level XLE comes packed with 17-inch wheels, dual-zone (automatic) climate control, cruise control, leather upholstery, keyless ignition/entry, a rearview camera, an 8-speaker sound-system with High Def. radio, Bluetooth/USB connections, a 7-inch touch-screen with voice controls, and so much more. The ultimate trim level – the Toyota Avalon 2016 – adds xenon headlights, 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, tri-zone (automatic) climate control, fancy leather upholstery, heated front/rear seats, an 11-speaker sound-system (JBL), ambient cabin lighting (for those nice evening rides around town), et cetera, et cetera. With the Limited trim, you’ll also get access to the Toyota Safety Sense package that offers adaptive cruise control, frontal collision warning, the lane departure warning/lane-keeping system and (automatic) pre-collision braking.
Toyota Avalon 2017
Ok, finally, let’s try and figure out what the upcoming 2017 edition will bring us – the regular drivers. Well, how about a brand-new generation? That’d be really cool! The fourth-gen has been around for 4 years now, so, maybe Toyota is getting ready to hit the market hard with a completely redesigned and all-new edition. We don’t have any viable pieces of information on the future Avalon, so, as I always like to say, we’ll just have to live and see. In any case, it’s safe to say that we’ll get the same top-notch vehicle, with an impressive mix of power, fuel-efficiency, smoothed out ride, comfort, and class. There are not a lot of models on the market of full-size sedans right now that can boast the same killer combo, so, be on the lookout folks, the release date might just be around the corner. With the 2016 model offering a choice between 5 trim levels and tons of optional features/equipment, Toyota has practically turned it into the perfect car, so, even if they make a 100% duplicate, I’ll still call it a masterpiece (and so will the majority of the critics). And that pretty much concludes my review of the Toyota Avalon, my friends! It goes without saying that I’ll keep you in the loop and tell you about all the latest details and rumors that would be worth your while. Ok, now close the curtains, turn off the lights and go to sleep. Tomorrow is a new day…
Check out this video: 2016 Toyota Avalon