Cheap daily driver/cruiser
Front left CV boot seal was cracked. Even though I got it fixed, I had to replace the CV joint also. Mechanically, that's it.
I got this car for $6000 in 2009; it cost $55,000 brand new in 2000.
I've had some adventures with this car.
The car has been mechanically, fantastic. It already had 240,000 k's of city driving on it when I got it, but the engine felt brand new. It still pulls hard, it's beautiful smooth and super reliable. I haven't bothered to keep super regular services with the Avalon, especially lately, but even so the engine is near perfect.
Very, very rarely it has on one or two times done this weird thing at startup when it shudders like not all cylinders are firing. But that's it, and it usually starts right after that; again it only happened once or twice.
The gearbox is a little rough, I think years of city driving might have caused this. But since 'retirement' to the country with me it has been enjoying country life. Like I said, a little rough when it changes from 2nd to 3rd, but nothing major, and it's done it the whole time I've owned it, and it hasn't gotten any worse.
Handling. Well it's not perfect... I have optional 17 inch Toyota alloy wheels, they have quite wide tires on them and I think that exaggerates the problem, but the car does seem to have a slight case of 'trolley wheels', where the car seems to veer slightly on its own. It's minor and I'm used to it, but I'm pretty sure it's the rims and wheels I have anyway, because googling it, no one else complains about it, and I've had it checked by several mechanics at services and they all agree it's fine.
The steering is responsive and the car really handles well. You can easily chuck it into corners and it turns in quick. For such a boat like car, it is quite sporty handling wise.
So mechanically the car is very good, very reliable and just a good car. It is a the perfect cruiser. I drive it to work every day, 120 kilometre return trip, 60 k each way. I drive on open country roads and I regularly sit on 120 kilometers per hour. The cruise control is fantastic. The ride is smooth and luxurious.
The interior is nice, although since I've had mine it has a funky smell, I think it's the pollen filter behind the glovebox, but I've never bothered to replace it. The A/C is ICE COLD and POWERFUL; I've never sat in a car before or since that has better A/C than this one. It's impressive.
The seats are comfortable and electric, which is nice, although since I've owned it, the passenger side seat tilt doesn't work, so you can't adjust it, which is pretty pathetic; not even a manual override. The interior is super spacious though. The stock stereo is good, sounds good.
Now some not so good things.
The cars build quality in some regards isn't the best. I think that's maybe due to local Australian manufacturing. Also the car is an old model. The car was already like a second hand model from the USA when Toyota started making it here in Aus.
The driver's side door fills up with water every time it rains. Not just a little bit either, but a lot. You can hear it slosh around when you start and stop. There is no obvious sign where it is getting in, it just must be bad seals or not sealed properly. As a result the door speaker died long ago. The locking and window still works OK, but it makes a really loud SCREECH when going down.
The CD player stopped working. I barely even used it, but now it just goes CLICK CLICK CLICK and never loads. Even the cassette drive stopped working! So I'm stuck with radio. Luckily I'm OK with that.
As above the passenger side seat electronics failed and I can't move the seat.
The trim near the gear lever is loose; it just lifts right off. The leather seats are comfy, but they look dirty and no amount of cleaning fixes it.
In my time owning it I have hit probably over 100 birds and they never really made much damage; I think the green colour tricks them and they just fly right into me...
I have also hit several kangaroos. The worst one took out my head light and blinker, but a quick trip to the wreckers saw these parts replaced fairly cheaply.
So anyway, besides a few little issues, this car has been a fantastic daily driver for the past 5 years.
As for resale, like I said I got it for 6k in 2009. Thank god I didn't pay anymore because it's basically worthless now.
I might get $1000 for it maybe. To be honest it's the perfect car for a uni student, but I doubt anyone will buy it, so I'm just running the rego out (Feb 2014), then I will retire the Avalon to the scrap yard probably, and start driving my Hilux as my daily driver.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 11th December, 2013