1997 Toyota Avalon XLS 6 cylinder from North America


A very reliable, well-built car


The CD changer died.

Valve covers leaked oil.

General Comments:

I pretty well love the car. It has been extremely reliable for me and my family, there is plenty of seating room as well as cargo room in the trunk and it rides beautifully.

I plan to either purchase another Avalon in a few years or move up to a Lexus ES300 - which is basically a fancy Avalon.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th August, 2003

1997 Toyota Avalon LXS from North America


I generally like the car and Toyota


Alarm system randomly goes off due to faulty trunk sealing incorrectly and has from day one. Toyota could never make it stop so I stopped using the alarm.

Trunk leaks on right side. Resealing didn't help.

White smoke billows out the tailpipe upon starting engine, especially first thing in AM.

Power door locks on driver side window are grinding.

Tape player is clicking.

Rattling sound on passenger side, but think after reading all these comments, it could be the struts.

Clicking sound upon acceleration.

General Comments:

This is my second Avalon. The first one had wind noise so bad on the passenger side I couldn't hear anything else. The second Avalon was somewhat improved in the wind noise department.

Love the old body style. Love the leather seats, power everything. Great car, but has lots wrong now and has for years. It is still running tho in spite of all these problems. Am worried about the white smoke tho that started around 85500 miles even after regular oil changes. Dealer said it was sludge in the engine. Said to change the oil after 1000 miles until it cleared the sludge out. Will try it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd June, 2003

24th Jun 2004, 22:56

The sludge in the engine is a for real thing that does commonly happen to Avalons. I have a 1996 XL myself and the same thing happened to me. I was not told however to change the oil every 1,000 miles. The sludge is due to really low amounts of oil in the engine. When the smoke started I had less than a quart of oil in it at 110,000 miles. Toyota has a fault here even with less than a quart of oil the warning light for the oil did not come on.

30th Jul 2007, 11:34

It is important to remember that the oil light is not related to the oil level, but in fact oil pressure.

The fact that your vehicle didn't show an oil light when you were down to one litre is a tribute to the oiling system in the engine.

The fact is you were not checking your oil as often as required, and could very easily have cost yourself an engine with this negligence.

Please remember ANY car, new or old, should have the oil level checked at least once a week.

1997 Toyota Avalon XL from North America


No more Toyota's for me


(1) My car has defective factory-installed upper strut mounts, which Toyota acknowledged via a technical service bulletin. Thus, when I drive over rough road, the upper strut mounts sounds like a part falling off my car.

Toyota refused to replace the upper strut mounts, since my car had more than 36,000 miles and I did not report the noise while my car was under the original 36,000 mile warranty.

The fact that I purchased a 6-year or 100,000 mile extended warranty was deemed irrelevant, since Toyota did not regard the noise problem as being safety-related mechanical issue.

(2) The extended warranty, however, has been useful as the rack and pinion steering failed at 50,000 miles as well as the starter at 94,000.

(3) I also replaced the front struts at 50,000, of course at my expense, but at Toyota's suggestion.

(4) At 40,000 miles my dashboard developed a rattle, which is probably likely related to the premature failure of the struts and rack and pinion.

(5) The original tires (including the spare) didn't last beyond 44,000 miles (including 2 highway flats). I replaced the original tires with Michelin X-One tires, which still have a lot of meat to them at 65,000 miles.

(6) My car produces a lot of white smoke at ignition and at drive.

(7) During winter, the car windows develop a lot of moisture when the heat is on; The only way to resolve this issue is to open windows slightly.

(8) The paint chips, especially on the hood.

General Comments:

The cabin is comfortable and the ride is smooth.

The car is underpowered, especially when there is more than one passenger.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 27th May, 2003

28th May 2003, 16:29

I'm not sure, but this model is possibly Not a Japanese built model. I've seen it many times on this site, cars built outside their "home" nation don't seem to be of the same standard quality wise. Eg, American built Hondas, Toyotas, Mercs, Mexican built VW's etc.,are not as good as those built in Japan and Germany. Toyotas are usually excellent cars, I'm very happy with my Japanese made Celica!