2004 Toyota Avalon XLS 3.0 from North America


Non looker, non performance, reliable as all get up, and smoother than glass


When I bought the car, the steering was just a little off from aligned.

General Comments:

Every day I kick myself for selling this car. Sure it's not that pretty, and it's nowhere near the fastest car. But you can't get a better ride, comfort, space.

Only reason I sold it is because I thought I needed a faster car.

This is car is just as good as any Lexus ES300; in fact I like it more.

I love the interior layout. The rear room is outstanding. It's definitely got an old person feel to it, but hey I love to be comfortable.

This is the perfect highway sedan.

It had automatic windshield wipers; never knew how much I'd miss that once it was gone.

I put some Michelin tires on this car, absolutely no road noise at all driving this thing. Smooth as glass.

There is only one car I can think of that I want before this car on the highway, and that would be the Lexus LS400, but that just isn't a fair comparison, that thing costs twice as much.

I've had about every car maker: Ford, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda.

Toyota during mid 90s and on, just know how to deliver a great product; you can't go wrong.

18 city, 27 highway MPG.

The engines go forever. If you can find a 2003-2004 XLS, jump on it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th June, 2015

26th Oct 2018, 21:33

About 3 years after this review, went and bought another Avalon for my 45 mile round trip highway commute I make 3 days out of the week. Couldn't be happier. It's a 2001 with 330K on it, that's not a typo, 330K, still silky smooth drivetrain. Once I put some new suspension parts on front & rear, it will be as good as new.

27th Oct 2018, 17:33

Toyota was really at a peak during these years and built some great vehicles. The problem is that these vehicles were so reliable many people didn't do any maintenance on them and they suffered for that. Later years were good, but Toyota had to start cutting corners, on materials... plastics... seats and other items to keep that profit margin going. If you are lucky enough to get one of these older models and are handy with mechanics, many of these vehicles still have a lot of life in them. And the salvage yards and eBay sites are filled with parts to keep them going. But there is a caution to over the top smog states like California. Passing smog is a key factor in keeping these vehicles on the road. Make sure the seller gets the smog and the numbers look good on the smog report.

2004 Toyota Avalon GXi 3.0 V6 from Australia and New Zealand


An ugly but thoroughly excellent family car


All 3 brake light globes have blown (on separate occasions).

General Comments:

We bought this car second hand in 2006 for $17000. That seems like a lot now, but at the time it was several thousand dollars cheaper than an equivalent used VY Commodore.

Servicing costs are generally between $120 and $220 for regular services. The last major service (due every 45000 km) was around $480. Apart from occasional blown brake light globes, 1 set of new tyres and a new battery, there have been no mechanical issues during 67000 km of ownership. We haven't even replaced brake pads yet.

Comprehensive insurance costs us around $450 per year.

We use between 12 and 14 l/100 km in the city depending on where it's driven and who is driving. In the country with a full load of passengers and luggage we get 9 l/100 km.

The Avalon is a very quiet car. Engine noise and road noise are well suppressed. Also it has a very smooth ride and smooth gear changes.

Performance is good. Overtaking performance above 80 kph is excellent. The engine pulls strongly and smoothly right up to the 6250 red line.

While it's no sports car, handling is positive and predictable. I think the steering has a good amount of feel to it for a front wheel drive car. However the suspension in our car seems somewhat under-damped at times - particularly when traveling over an undulating country road.

Others have complained about the foot operated parking brake. We have no problem with it.

The interior is comfortable, airy and in general a nice place to be. There are no problems with seats or ergonomics. The leather bound steering wheel is a nice touch. The dashboard is bland, but works OK.

As others have commented, the Avalon has a big turning circle. We have got used to this. However, when we hired an Aurion on a recent trip I did appreciate its smaller turning circle compared to the car that it replaced in Toyota's lineup.

The stereo, which is the original one that came with the car, has surprisingly good sound. I note that a few other reviews I have read made similar comments about the stereo.

The boot is big - sufficiently large for interstate family road trips with children, pushers, portable cots and all the trimmings. Unfortunately our car only has a ski-port between the boot and the back seat rather than a fold down seat, which can be limiting at times.

Our car is a Mk 3 with the updated styling. I don't think this face lift did much for the Avalon - particularly at the front end. However, given the car's practicality and value for money, we have been prepared to put up with its lack of style.

This is the first Toyota I've owned. Based on our experience with the Avalon, I judge that Toyota's reputation for quality and reliability is well founded. It is better in every respect, apart from style, than any car I've owned previously.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th May, 2010