Toyota Avalon

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Toyota Avalon
2005–2007 Toyota Avalon XLS
Also calledToyota Pronard (Japan)
PredecessorToyota Cressida
Toyota Vienta (Australia)
SuccessorToyota Aurion (for Australian market)
Body style(s)4-door sedan
LayoutFF layout
ManualService Manual

The Toyota Avalon is a full-size car produced by Toyota in the United States, and is the flagship sedan of Toyota in the United States, Canada, and the Middle East. It was also produced in Australia until July 2005; it was replaced in November 2006 by the Toyota Aurion. It is a front-wheel drive four-door sedan. The first Toyota Avalon rolled off the assembly line in Georgetown, Kentucky on February 21, 1994 as a 1995 model. A second-generation model was released in the United States and Japan in 1999. In 2000, the Toyota Avalon was the first Toyota model to feature a non-touch screen navigation system.

The Avalon filled the gap left by the cancellation of the Toyota Cressida in the American market in 1992. While the Cressida was an upper-level midsize rear-wheel drive car with a straight-6 engine, the Avalon is front-wheel drive, powered by a V6 engine. (The Toyota Camry, which was slotted below the Cressida and Avalon, was initially a compact, but later was stretched to midsize; hence, the Avalon was introduced as a large car.)

First generation (1995–99)[edit | edit source]

First generation
1995–1997 Toyota Avalon
AssemblyGeorgetown, Kentucky, United States (1994–2000)
Altona, Victoria, Australia (2000–05)
Engine(s)3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6
Transmission(s)4-speed A541E automatic
Wheelbase107.1 in (2720 mm)
Length1995–97: 190.2 in (4831 mm)
1998–99: 191.9 in (4874 mm)
Width1995–97: 70.3 in (1786 mm)
1998–99: 70.5 in (1791 mm)
Height1995–97: 55.9 in (1420 mm)
1998–99: 56.7 in (1440 mm)
Fuel capacity18.5 US gallons (70.0 L; 15.4 imp gal)
1998–1999 Toyota Avalon

The 1995 Avalon was a completely new model, built in the same plant as the Camry. It was positioned higher than the Camry, making it Toyota's flagship. The Avalon was based on a stretched Camry platform and had a 3.0 litre V6 engine making 192 hp (140 kW) and 210 lb·ft (285 N·m) of torque. For 1997, the Avalon's power rating increased to 200 hp (150 kW), and torque increased to 214 lb·ft (290 N·m). Toyota made minor updates to the front and rear fascias in 1998.

The Avalon was available with a front bench seat for full six-passenger seating, and its column shifter was the first such feature in an American Toyota car since the 1982 Corona. Side airbags and seatbelt pretensioners were optional, as was traction control. The 1MZ-FE engine with VVT-i was used in the Avalon. Output was 210 hp (156 kW) at 5800 rpm with 222 ft·lbf (328 N·m) of torque at 4400 rpm. Early versions of the VVT-i 1MZ used a dual throttle body, cast aluminum intake manifold, and EGR block-off plates on the exhaust manifolds. Later versions used an ABS plastic intake manifold for further weight reduction and decreased cost. These versions may also have drive-by-wire (electronic) throttle control.

Updated Australian 2004–2005 Toyota Avalon GXi
Model Year[1] Sales
1995 66,123
1996 73,070
1997 71,081
1998 77,576
1999 67,851

Australia (2000–05)[edit | edit source]

In 1999, Toyota sold the old tooling for the Avalon to Toyota Australia, which launched this Avalon as an "all-new" model in June 2000. The Australian Avalon therefore had an identical body to the original 1995 Avalon.[2] The Avalon performed poorly in Australia; critics called the car "boring," and sales were tepid. It did not help that the car was front-wheel drive and available only as a sedan with a 3.0 litre V6 and automatic transmission. By contrast, its intended rivals, the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, offered a wider range of body styles and engine/transmission options.[3]

The Australian model was built in the Melbourne suburb of Altona, made in both right-hand drive (for Australia, New Zealand and some parts of Asia) and left-hand drive for the Middle East. The Camry was also made at this plant.[4]

Buyers preferred the V6-powered Camry instead. The 2004 facelift failed to lift sales,[5] with many criticizing the new front styling as "hideous" and "Falcon AU-ish." Toyota Australia marketed it towards taxi fleets, against the Ford Falcon, with a specially developed dual-fuel (LPG and petrol) engine.[6] Eventually, the Avalon was laid to rest in mid-2005.[7] In November 2006, Toyota introduced its replacement for the Avalon, the Toyota Aurion.[8]

Second generation (2000–04)[edit | edit source]

Second generation
2000–2002 Toyota Avalon
Also calledToyota Pronard
AssemblyGeorgetown, Kentucky, United States
Engine(s)3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6
Transmission(s)4-speed A541E automatic
Wheelbase107.1 in (2720 mm)
Length191.9 in (4874 mm)
Width71.7 in (1821 mm)
Height2000-02: 57.7 in (1466 mm)
2003-04: 57.1 in (1450 mm)
Fuel capacity18.5 US gallons (70.0 L; 15.4 imp gal)

The second-generation Avalon grew larger in almost every respect. It was still based on the stretched Camry platform and had a 3.0 litre V6, shared with the Toyota Sienna, Lexus RX300, Lexus ES, and the Toyota Highlander, making 210 hp (157 kW) and 220 lb·ft (298 N·m). of torque. However, its size and body styling were too similar to the Camry.

2003–04 Toyota Avalon XLS.

This Avalon was available in two trims: the basic XL and the upscale XLS. The Avalon received a minor 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).

The Avalon had an available middle seat in the front, allowing up to six passengers—a distinguishable characteristic of large sized cars. However, it was not very practical, and was more suitable for small items like books than an actual person. Dual climate control, stability control, larger (16-inch) wheels, and driver's and passenger's power seats were also available.

This second-generation Avalon also featured a built-in 115V AC power inverter, the first car with such a feature. This feature was dropped in the third-generation Avalon; yet, the Toyota Matrix and Scion models now offer this feature.

This second-generation Avalon was exported to the Japanese market, where it was labeled the Toyota Pronard. Due to poor sales, Toyota did not export the third-generation Avalon to Japan; thus, the Toyota Pronard has been discontinued.

Model Year[1] Sales
2000 104,078
2001 83 005
2002 69 029
2003 50 911
2004 36 460

Third generation (2005–present)[edit | edit source]

Third generation
2008 Toyota Avalon XLS
AssemblyGeorgetown, Kentucky
Engine(s)3.5 L 2GR-FE V6
Transmission(s)5-speed U151E automatic
6-speed U660E automatic
Wheelbase111.1 in (2822 mm)
Length197.2 in (5009 mm)
Width72.8 in (1849 mm)
Height58.5 in (1486 mm)
Fuel capacity18.5 US gallons (70.0 L; 15.4 imp gal)

Toyota's third-generation Avalon underwent a complete redesign in 2005, and was unveiled to the public at the 2005 North American International Auto Show. it went on sale that following February. The new Avalon was larger than previous Avalons in every aspect, and featured less-conservative styling. The redesign also dropped the availability of a front bench seat, a feature once common among large American sedans such as Buicks. The Avalon features a 3.5 L 280 hp (209 kW) V6 engine. The 3.5 litre engine is shared with many other Toyota models, including the Lexus ES 350, Lexus GS 350/GS 450h, Lexus IS 350, Lexus RX 350, Toyota Camry, Toyota Highlander, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Sienna, and Toyota Venza. The current Avalon is available in XL, Touring, XLS, and Limited trim levels, the XL being the most basic and the Limited the most expensive.

The XL introduces standard options such as dual-climate automatic temperature control, steering wheel-mounted audio and climate controls, cruise control, and an in-dash 6-CD stereo system. The Touring trim offers faux aluminum and black leather interior, sport-tuned suspension, and a standard trunk lip-mounted spoiler. The XLS introduces standard cargo nets, a power moonroof, and a Homelink transceiver. The high-end Limited trim offers air-vented seats, Toyota's "Smart Key System" with push-button start, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and an upgraded audio system with Bluetooth integration. An optional navigation system is optional for every trim other than the XL version.

Due to changes in the SAE's testing procedures, power has dropped to 268 hp (200 kW) and torque has dropped to 248 lb·ft (336 N·m) for the 2006 model year. Stability control is optional on all trim levels, and a keyless remote start is optional.

Car and Driver, which had called previous Avalons "Japanese Buicks," rated it at the top of a group of large premium sedans in 2005.[9]

2008 model year[edit | edit source]

For 2008, the Avalon received a mild mid-cycle refresh. Changes include slightly restyled front and rear fascias, a six-speed automatic transmission (replacing the previous five-speed), chrome handles for the Limited trim, restyled alloy wheels for the Touring and XLS trims, a built-in remote key, upgraded brakes, and an upgraded audio system.[10]

2009 model year[edit | edit source]

The 2009 Avalon offers a few changes. Electronic stability control is standard on all trim levels, and the Touring version is no longer available. XLS and Limited leather seats now offer a Dark Charcoal color, and the Indigo Ink Pearl exterior color has been replaced with Cocoa Bean Metallic.

Safety[edit | edit source]

The Avalon comes standard with ABS, side front and rear curtain airbags and front row side torso airbags. A driver's knee airbag is also standard. For 2009 models Toyota's Vehicle Stability Control became standard and active headrests were added.

The Avalon received a Good overall score in both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal offset and side impact tests. The IIHS also awarded the Avalon its Top Safety Pick accolade.

2006 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Crash Test Ratings:[11]:

Frontal Driver: 5/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg

Frontal Passenger: 5/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg

Side Driver: 5/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg

Side Rear Passenger: 5/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg

Rollover: 4/5 starsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg

U.S. sales[edit | edit source]

US Calendar Year Sales Sales
2005 95,318
2006 88,938
2007 72,945
2008 42,790

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Mike Covello: Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946-2002. Krause Publications, Iola 2002. ISBN 0-87341-605-8, p. 780-85.
  2. Edgar, Julian (2000-10-03). "New Car Test - Toyota Avalon Grande". Web Publications Pty Limited. Retrieved on 2007-10-26. 
  3. "NRMA Car Review - Toyota Avalon CSX". NRMA. Retrieved on 2007-10-26. 
  4. Clarkson, Mark. "Toyota Avalon: Toyota’s Flagship". Retrieved on 2007-10-26. 
  5. Mewton, Bruce; Pettendy, Marton (2003-10-14). "First drive: Avalon upgrade a techno treat". John Mellor Pty Ltd. Retrieved on 2007-10-26. 
  6. "Avalon taxi pioneer increases fleet". Toyota Australia. 2004-06-15. Retrieved on 2007-10-26. 
  7. Pettendy, Marton (2005-03-24). "Avalon to retire". John Mellor Pty Ltd. Retrieved on 2007-10-26. 
  8. "Toyota Launches Aurion V6 Large Car". Web Wombat Pty Ltd. 2006-10-18. Retrieved on 2007-10-26. 
  9. Bedard, Patrick; Russel, Jeffrey. "2005 Buick Lacrosse CXS v 2005 Chrysler 300 Touring v 2005 Ford Five Hundred Limited v 2005 Kia Amanti v 2005 Nissan Maxima 3.5SE v 2005 Toyota Avalon Touring Sedan - Comparison Tests". Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., Inc. Retrieved on 2007-10-26. 
  10. 2008 Toyota Avalon Review and Specs

External links[edit | edit source]