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).
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