1996 Toyota Avalon XLS 3.0 V-6 from North America
Brakes, brakes, brakes!! I have already replaced all four brakes twice since taking ownership three years ago. And the intermittent "clicking" noise I hear from them is rather bothersome.
The sound system is rather weak. I live in a hilly area and sometimes have difficulty pulling stations in that are more than 15 miles away.
Speakers seem to fade in and out while listening to CDs.
CD changer (trunk-mount) takes a long time to warm up and will not play in cold weather.
Also, the power antenna frequently gets stuck in its housing (or at half-mast) on frosty mornings.
Nice highway cruiser! Loves to travel at speeds over 70mph!!
Cavernous trunk! And a full-size spare under it!!!
Fit and finish of the interior is first-class! Leather still feels, smells and looks new!
This car has a velvety smooth ride, yet handles well.
But wind noise is rather intrusive at highway speeds.
Remarkably roomy! Our friends and family are always telling us how much they love riding in our car... maybe THAT'S why we always seem to drive everywhere!!!
No lumbar support for either front seat... leads to fatigue and backache on long trips (my car has the split bench).
Typical Toyota body problems! Body panels seem to lack integrity. My car dents rather easily and has numerous small rust spots just beginning in various places. Paint chips and scratches and seem to occur too easily.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 20th April, 2001
Here's the whole story, from 3,000 miles to 206,000 miles. The Avalon was bought from the dealer showroom with a few miles on it, as a new car. We were told that it was the dealer's wife's personal car. This is, by far, the very best car I have ever owned and still own. I do not understand what a couple of the other people who put comments were looking for. I tend to travel as many roads off-freeway as possible because this car is fun to drive. It loves being above 70 mph and accelerates beautifully from there up. We say this V-6 thinks it's a V-8. We call the ECT tranny option the "James Bond button".
I do all of my own maintenance and inspect more often than replace parts. I have had only a few minor things to deal with. The most serious was a mysterious loss of adjustment on one exhaust valve at about 150,000 miles. I contacted the factory people when the dealer could not tell me what was going on. They had never seen this before, either. I measured and found the clearance had opened up by +.030". I made a shim to place under the puck to compensate, installed (easy to do) and it has been fine ever since. I had an annoying intermittent steering fluid leak which would leak for a couple of weeks, then go a month or more dry, then leak again. I decided that the seal on the rack must have had a piece of gravel or something moving around under it, so I removed the rack, changed the seal and as preventive maintenance, changed the dust boot also. The seal was $6 and the boot $29. It has been dry ever since. I have only changed the timing belt one time, at 130,000 miles and the spark plugs at the same time.
I have changed both half-shafts. The first was at about 138,000 miles, the other at 168,000 miles. These can be bought rebuilt with lifetime guarantee at AutoZone for just $60 each. They take about two hours to install, once you have the tools gathered together for the job.
I do have the upper strut tower "clunk" on the driver's side that seems fairly common on the passenger side of newer models, according to postings. I know what it is, so it doesn't bother me much.
I like to show people what this car looks like under the hood. It is as clean as most cars with only a few miles. There are no leaks. It is like looking at an old Caterpillar. They are always leak-free.
This car gets 30 to 31.5 mpg (trip mileage) on the 87 octane fuel. The oil still stays fairly clean between changes, which range from 3000 miles to 6,000 miles. I change the oil based upon its appearance, rather than miles. I use a little better quality oil filter than the cheap ones.
I plan to change the timing belt and spark plugs again, along with new struts at 250,000. If it hasn't failed by then, I also plan to change the water pump while changing the timing belt at that mileage. There is nothing noticeable, but I just think it will be good business.
It is noteworthy that I have the alignment checked about once a year and, at 206,000 miles, it is still within spec's. It has never needed realignment, even though I do have some unimproved road miles on the car.