The Detroit Post
Saturday, 04 December, 2021

Is A Toyota Avalon A Compact Car

Paul Gonzalez
• Tuesday, 13 October, 2020
• 18 min read

Toyota's flagship Avalon is roomy, rides comfortably, and has easy-to-use controls, which make it a pleasant large car. The 3.5-liter V6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission deliver smooth and robust acceleration.

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The hybrid version has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that returned 42 mpg overall in our tests, which is impressive for such a large sedan. Handling is responsive and secure, but the car's low stance hurts ease of access.

Standard safety equipment includes forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. 2019 Redesign Year Toyota's flagship Avalon is roomy, rides comfortably, and has easy-to-use controls, which makes it a pleasant large car.

The hybrid version has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that returned 42 mpg overall in our tests, which is impressive for such a large sedan. Handling is responsive and secure, but the car's low stance hurts ease of access.

Standard safety equipment includes forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. Handling was greatly improved, but the cushy ride was stiffened a bit too much, especially on versions with the 18-inch tires, detracting from the car's previously relaxed character.

A 2016 update improved the ride, reinstating it to what is expected from a big luxury sedan. Available active safety features include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and a forward-collision warning system.

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Interior materials aren't quite as plush as you'd expect for the price, and some controls are annoying. RELIABILITY VERDICTOWNER SATISFACTIONOWNER REPORTED MPG 2005 Redesign Year Providing an alternative to some luxury-branded sedans, this generation of the Avalon readily competes in the large sedan category.

Interior fit and finish rival its Lexus relatives and the reclining rear seat was an unusual offering in this class for the time. Rear seat room is generous, access is easy, and visibility is aided by huge windows.

RELIABILITY VERDICTOWNER SATISFACTIONOWNER REPORTED MPG The Avalon has always been a well-executed large sedan, essentially a stretched Camry with more upscale features. High points include the silky-smooth powertrain, Lexus-like road isolation, and generous accommodations.

It is Toyota's largest front-wheel drive sedan and serves as its flagship vehicle in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, China and the Middle East. It was also produced in Australia from April 2000 until June 2005, when it was replaced in November 2006 by the Audion.

The first production Avalon rolled off the MMK assembly line in Georgetown, Kentucky, in September 1994. A second-generation model was released in the United States and Japan in 1999.

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In recent years, there has been considerable overlapping with its platform mates, the Camry V6 and the Lexus ES, although the third-generation Avalon was distinguished by offering extra legroom. Since 2013, the Avalon was introduced on a platform that is shared with the Lexus ES.

Model years 1995–1999Assembly Designer Away Masaryk (Design Manager: 1991) Kusama Toshiba (Design Chief: 1990-93)Idea Sub (facelift: 1995) LayoutFront-engine, front-wheel-drive Powertrain Engine 3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6Transmission 4-speed A541E automatic Dimensions Wheelbase 107.1 in (2,720 mm)Length 1994–97: 190.2 in (4,831 mm) 1997–99: 191.9 in (4,874 mm) ChronologySuccessor Toyota Audion (XV40) (Australia)1998–1999 Toyota Avalon XLS (US)The Avalon was a new model introduced in February 1994 at the Chicago International Auto Show and launched in late 1994 for the 1995 model year.

Development began in 1990 under the 299T project code (ending in 1994), with the design phase concluding in 1991 with internal approval of the final design. Built in the same plant as the Camry, the Avalon was based on a stretched XV10 Camry platform featuring a 3.0-liter 1MZ-FE V6 engine making 192 hp (140 kW) and 210 left (285 Nam) of torque.

With almost 121 cu ft (3,426 l) of interior space, the Avalon was the roomiest six-passenger car from a Japanese manufacturer marketed in America, despite being three inches shorter than the Mazda 929 and 11 inches shorter than the Dodge Intrepid. The Avalon was available with a front bench seat for six-passenger seating, and its column shifter was the first such feature in an American Toyota car since the 1982 Corona.

For 1997 models ABS became standard, power rating increased to 200 hp (150 kW), and torque increased to 214 left (290 Nam). In 1997 for the 1998 model year a mid-cycle refresh was introduced with minor updates to the front and rear fascias.

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Also, for 1998, the Avalon's structure was modified to improve safety while front seat-mounted side airbags became standard. The first-generation Avalon was also sold in Japan (vehicles were made in the United States and exported to Japan) as a right-hand drive model, and was exclusive to Type Store locations.

In Japan, it was the largest front-wheel drive sedan at Type Store locations, and was sold alongside the front-engine, rear-drive Toyota Censor, and was available in 3.0 and 3.0 G grade levels, with the “Coach Edition” available as an option starting in late 1997 (equivalent to the 1998 model year). In Japan, it was classified as a luxury car (and so carried an expensive, yearly road tax) because of Japanese government dimension regulations that placed it in the “large car category and its, by Japanese standards, large engine displacement.

In 1999, Toyota transferred the old tooling for the Avalon to Toyota Australia, which launched this Avalon as an “all-new” model in June 2000. The Australian model was built in the Melbourne suburb of Alton, made in both right-hand drive (for Australia, New Zealand, and some parts of Asia), as well as left-hand drive for the Middle East.

The Avalon performed poorly in Australia; critics called the car “boring”, and sales were low. The Avalon was front-wheel drive and available only as a sedan with a 3.0-liter V6 and automatic transmission.

By contrast, its intended rivals, the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore, were rear-wheel drive and offered a wider range of body styles and engine/transmission options. Toyota had originally decided to rename the Avalon as the Centaur for the Australian market, after the mythological creature of the same name.

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However, the Australian hospital ship AHS Centaur had been torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine during World War II and when Toyota Australia was made aware of this prior to the release of the car, they organized for the Centaur badges to be destroyed and removed the offending nameplate from all paperwork and advertising. As a result, the original Avalon name prevailed for the Australian market.

When the Avalon was updated in 2001 as the “Mark II” (not to be confused with the separate Toyota Mark II), the model range was lightly revised and new hubcaps/alloy wheels were fitted. The “Mark III” designation refers to the 2003 to 2005 facelift models.

Many buyers preferred the V6-powered Camry instead of the Avalon, and the 2003 facelift failed to rectify the lower than expected sales, with many criticizing the new front styling. Because of these sales concerns, Toyota Australia marketed it towards taxi fleets, against the Ford Falcon, with a specially developed dual-fuel (LPG and gasoline)-compatible engine.

Toyota X-Runner Concept At the 2003 Melbourne and Sydney International Motor Shows, Toyota Australia unveiled the X-Runner Concept, a coupe utility version of the Avalon. It was intended for production, but Toyota of Australia could not get approval from the parent company.

Toyota X-Runner concept as displayed at the 2003 Sydney International Motor Show The second-generation Avalon grew larger in almost every respect, except wheelbase.

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It was still based on the stretched Camry platform and was powered by a 3.0-liter 1MZ-FE V6 engine equipped with VVT-i, shared with the Toyota Sienna, Lexus RX300, Lexus ES, and the Toyota Highlander, making 210 hp (157 kW) and 220 left (298 Nam). Standard features include electroluminescence Option gauges, 4-wheel disc ABS, front torso side airbags and 15" alloy wheels.

Dual climate control, larger 16" wheels, and driver's and passenger's power seats were also available. This was dropped in the third-generation Avalon ; yet, the Toyota Matrix, Sienna, and Scion models now offer such an inverter.

The Avalon received a mid-cycle facelift for the 2003 model year, with a new grille and modified headlights and taillights. The minor interior changes included a woodgrain-style trimmed steering wheel for the XLS, slightly modified gauges, and a chrome emblem steering wheel added onto the XL (once only standard for the XLS).

2000–2002 Toyota Leonard (Japan)This second-generation Avalon was also exported to the Japanese market as the Toyota Leonard (Japanese:, Toyota Coronado), derived from the French word proper for “extol”, “commend”, or “praise”, between 2000 and 2004, replacing the first-generation sold as the Avalon. The Japanese Toyota Leonard was reassigned from Type Store and was now exclusive to the former Vista Store network as Toyota Net Store locations, slotted between the larger Toyota Ariosto and smaller Versa and Altered.

Some optional equipment installed in the Leonard, to enhance its luxury, was the Teams ride control technology. Due to poor sales, Toyota did not export the third-generation Avalon to Japan; thus, the Toyota Leonard has been discontinued.

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The third generation Avalon was not sold in Europe or Japan. The third generation Avalon was larger than previous versions, with Salty styling and drag coefficient of Cd =0.29; the Avalon also became the first Toyota to use a single piece wiper blade design.

The redesign dropped the front bench seat option, a feature once common among large American sedans such as Buick's and Cadillacs, and featured a semi-flat rear floor to help increase rear passenger comfort. The Avalon was the first Toyota to use Dual VVT-i in the US market in an all-new 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6 engine which met Elev certification and had a power output of 280 hp (209 kW) with a 0–60 time of 6.0 seconds.

The engine was mated to a 5-speed sequential shift automatic. Due to changes in the SAE's testing procedures, power dropped to 268 hp (200 kW) and torque dropped to 248 left (336 Nam) for the 2006 model year.

The Avalon came in four trims: the standard (base) XL, Touring, XLS, and Limited. Performance-oriented tires were fitted to the Touring and Limited trims.

The Touring trim offered faux aluminum and all-black leather interior, a sport-tuned suspension, unique powder-coated gray wheels, and a trunk lip-mounted spoiler. The XLS introduced standard cargo nets, six-disc CD changer, a power sliding-glass moon roof, electrochromicauto dimming rear-view and driver's side-view mirrors, four-way passenger power seat and a Homeland transceiver.

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The high-end Limited trim offered air-ventilated seats with a power driver's seat cushion length adjuster, Toyota's Smart Key System with keyless push-button start and entry, a quieter acoustic windshield, rain-sensing windshield wipers, an upgraded 12-speaker JBL audio system, “in-glass” LED turn signals on the side mirrors and a wood-trimmed steering wheel and shift gear lever. A navigation system was optional for every trim level other than the XL version.

Vehicle Stability Control was optional on all trim levels. Other options included a keyless Remote Engine Start, rear window power sunshade and, on Limited models, a Dynamic Laser Cruise Control system.

HID lighting with auto-leveling was standard on Touring and Limited grades. 2006 Toyota Avalon Touring the 2006 model year, Toyota expanded the availability of Vehicle Stability Control to XL and Touring trim levels.

The 2007 model year had the tire pressure monitoring system standard across all trims and the navigation system made optional for the Touring trim level. The 2008 model year Avalon released in 2007 received a mild facelift.

Rear taillights received subtle tinting, and the front fascia was redesigned. Other changes included a six-speed automatic transmission, chrome exterior door handles for the “Limited” trim, restyled alloy wheels for the “Touring” and “XLS” trims, a built-in remote key, upgraded rear brakes, and Bluetooth integration with all JBL Synthesis audio systems.

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The 2009 model year Avalon offered a few changes: Vehicle Stability Control became standard on all trim levels, and the Touring version was no longer offered. XLS and Limited leather seats now offered a Dark Charcoal color, and the Indigo Ink Pearl exterior color was replaced with Cocoa Bean Metallic.

The 2010 model year offered two updates: all passenger windows received an automatic up/down function, as opposed to just the driver and front passenger's side, and a new accelerator pedal was redesigned. 2011 MY Toyota Avalon Limited Avalon went on sale in April 2010, for the 2011 model year, with revised styling and only two trim lines: a base Avalon model and a more upscale Limited trim.

A backup camera became standard using either the rearview mirror or navigation screen for a display, and exterior side mirrors with integrated turn signals now folded in. Other changes included a redesigned instrument cluster and center console, new wood-style trim, new sheet metal, and a different rear and front fascia design.

The front and tail lights included LED piping, and fuel economy was slightly improved to an EPA-estimated 20/29/23 (city/highway/combined) mpg rating. 17" wheels were also standard on both trims although the Limited model has 10 spokes.

Other exterior differences on the Limited included HID projector headlamps. A “Good” rating in IHS the roof strength test IHS earned the 2011 model year the organization's “Top Safety Pick 2010” designation.

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The 2011 model year also received the “Top Safety Pick 2011” recommendation. NHTSA crash test ratings (2006): Frontal Driver: Frontal Passenger: Side Driver: Side Rear Passenger: Rollover: (2006) (2011) Car and Driver, which had called previous Avalon's “Japanese Buick's,” rated it at the top of a group of large premium sedans in 2005., Motor Trend and Automobile Magazine also rated it top in their own comparisons. Consumer Reports rated the Avalon at the top of its tested group in the large and upscale category, scoring ahead of five other sedans in the January 2010 issue.

Dimensions Wheelbase 111.0 in (2,820 mm)Length195.3 in (4,960 mm)Width72.2 in (1,835 mm)Height57.5 in (1,460 mm) Curb weight 3,472–3,594 lb (1,575–1,630 kg)The redesigned Avalon was partially revealed at the New York International Auto Show in April 2012, to be based on the same platform as the Lexus ES. The interior controls have tap touch technology instead of buttons.

In June 2012, Toyota announced the Avalon would offer a hybrid powertrain. 2017 Toyota Avalon Hybrid (US)The hybrid gasoline-electric model of the 2013 model year Avalon uses the revised version of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive power train, similar to the one powering the 2012 model year Camry Hybrid.

The hybrid version went on sale in the United States in December 2012. The Avalon Hybrid comes with a 2.5 L inline-4 engine.

When combined with the electric motor the system has a total output of 200 bhp (149 kW). The starting battery must be directly jumped from the trunk.

If a dead battery is encountered a reach from the rear middle armrest area to the manual trunk release is accessed inside the trunk. The 2013 model year Try Edition is a concept car developed by Toyota Racing Development.

It includes a supercharged 3.5-liter V6 engine with Eaton Gen 6 TVS rotor assembly, six-speed automatic transmission, six-piston front & four-piston rear calipers, burgundy body color, tinted taillights, color-keyed grille and dual exhaust with polished mufflers, 19-inch wheels with Michelin 225/40R19 tires, a red stitching touch on the instrument and door panels, seats red stitching and accent piping and a JBL Greened surround-sound system. It includes 19-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport 225/40R19 tires, JBL Greened surround-sound system with 15-speakers, hybrid-blue headlights, turn signals, bright white with electric blue body color and the suspension and braking system from the 2013 model year Try Edition.

The 2013 model year DUB Edition includes 22-inch-deep concave custom-made satin black TIS wheels with Pirelli tires, lower sport suspension, custom body kit, tinted windows, taillights, emblems and plush diamond patterned suede seats. In 2015, for the 2016 model year, the Avalon received a facelift which was first shown at the February 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

Dimensions Wheelbase 113.0 in (2,870 mm) Length196.0 in (4,980 mm)Width72.8 in (1,850 mm)Height56.5 in (1,440 mm) Curb weight 3,560–3,715 lb (1,615–1,685 kg)ChronologyPredecessor Toyota Crown (S210) (China)The redesigned fifth-generation Avalon debuted at the January 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and went on sale in the US in May 2018. Trim levels offered are Axle, Use, Touring and Limited, as well as Axle, Use and Limited versions of the Avalon Hybrid.

It is built on GA-K platform, whose 113-inch wheelbase is shared with the 2019 model year Lexus ES (XZ10). It has two Toyota firsts: Apple CarPlay and an optional adaptive suspension found in the Touring trim.

In addition to making Android Auto standard on newly built 2019 models, Toyota dealers in the United States and Canada offered a free dealer-installed software update for owners of 2018 Avalon models to enable this feature. The same free update was also offered to owners of the 2018 Toyota Camry.

Based on the Use trim, it uses the same 2GR-FKS V6 engine with sportier suspensions and sport exhaust system only found on Try models. In 2020, for the 2021 model year, the Avalon will be available in the US with a four-cylinder AWD variant.

This will be available only with the 2.5-liter engine mated to the automatic transmission. Also, the 2021 model year Avalon gets Android Auto and the Use Nightshade trim level with black wheels, accents and badges.

Unlike the 2021 model year Camry which receives a Toyota Safety Sense 2.5, the Avalon will maintain its Toyota Safety Sense P system. The IHS awarded a Top Safety Pick+ honor to the Avalon, with a “Good” rating in all categories except the passenger-side small overlap test, where it received an “Acceptable” rating.

“New York 2012: Lexus Reveals 2013 ES, New Hybrid Variant”. ^ “Overview of Overseas Production Affiliates: Oceania”.

“Redesigned Avalon is smoother, quieter”. ^ US D518757S, Mutsuhito Kongo; Mitsuki Hirobumi & Nakamura Macho ^ “The Sensational New 2013 Toyota Avalon Makes World Debut at the 2012 New York International Auto Show” (PDF).

^ Toyota Avalon Tops in Tests of Large and Upscale Sedans: Consumer Reports”. ^ Toyota Reveals Redesigned & Roomy 2013 Avalon Sedan”.

Batteries for Selected Hybrid-Electric Vehicles, Model Years 2013-2014”. Toyota shows more Sea stuff, including sportier Avalon's that may preview production model”.

“2019 Toyota Avalon and Hybrid debut at Detroit Auto Show: Gallery, specs and trim features”. ^ “Apple's CarPlay is finally coming to Toyota and Lexus vehicles”.

^ “2018 Nails: New Toyota Avalon gains advanced suspension, lighting systems”. ^ “New 2019 Toyota Avalon hybrid boosts fuel economy 10% to 44 mpg combined”.

Toyota Gives Camry, Avalon the Try Treatment”. ^ “First-Ever All-Wheel Drive and Use Nightshade Edition Highlight Changes for 2021 Toyota Avalon (Press release).

^ Mike Cello: Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946–2002. ^ Toyota Announces Best Sales Year in Its 46-Year History, Breaks Sales Record for Eighth Year in a Row”.

^ “December 2012 and Year-End Sales Chart” (Press release). ^ “December 2013 and Year-End Sales Chart” (Press release).

^ “December 2014 and Year-End Sales Chart” (Press release). ^ “December 2015 and Year-End Sales Chart” (Press release).

“December 2018 Sales Chart” (Press release). ^ Toyota Canada Inc. Records Best Year Ever with 231,646 Vehicles Sold in 2018” (Press release).

^ Toyota Motor North America Reports December 2019, Year-End Sales” (Press release). Wikimedia Commons has media related to Toyota Avalon.

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