2012 Toyota Avalon Limited 3.5L V6 from North America


Did I buy a Lexus by mistake? :-)


As this is a newish car, nothing has yet gone wrong with it.

General Comments:

My first Toyota Avalon: I needed to trade in a high-mileage (but beloved) 2004 Toyota Sienna XLE, as some of the comfort and convenience items were starting to wear out. Being an avid Consumer Reports and J.D. Power fan, I knew that the Avalon had a good reputation for being a well rounded car, but I had never driven one. The 2012 model was the last year for the 3rd generation Avalon, which first came out in 2004, and had several refreshes. Personally, I like buying used models near the end of their respective production run, as the manufacturers tend to work out all the bugs and refine the design by the time they retire it. Of course, that depends on the particular vehicle, but the Avalon has had consistent and high reliability ratings for over ten years.

The interior comfort and amenities are equal to a new Cadillac, and - according to many reviews - are nearly the same as any Lexus. I owned a 1996 Lexus ES 300, but that is not quite a fair comparison. The Avalon is more plush than the 96 ES 300 (essentially a higher-end Camry).

The first think I notice on any drive is the quietness. It is noticeable the moment you enter the car and shut the door. Good sound insulation and laminated windows hush the outside world considerably. Little quietness is lost at highway speeds, as the wind and tire noise are well muted. Sadly, this used car came with the much-complained-about Bridgestone Turanza EL-400 tires. They are new, but hard and a bit noisy. I am interested to find out what a new pair of more highly rated tires would do for the road noise, although that is very minimal.

The engine and drive train - same as on many Lexus and Toyota models - has plenty of power. Our 2008 Sienna has the same engine (different transmission, I think), but has to haul an extra 1,000 lbs. or more. The Avalon is very quick from a stop and also in passing situations on the highway.

Handling is good, and actually better than I expected given some reviewers (who tend to love BMWs and hate cush-cars). It's no sports car, but someone who appreciates a highway cruiser will find nothing wrong with the maneuverability.

The front seats are very comfortable, and the driver's seat has adjustable thigh support! The back seat is limousine-like (much like my 94 Dodge Intrepid, but seems even roomier).

I hope to add more to this review as I pile on the miles. I tend to keep my cars for eight to ten years, so it is likely that I will take this one up to at least 150,000 miles.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th January, 2015

25th Mar 2018, 12:50

I am the original reviewer, and am merely adding an update.

I have owned this 2012 Avalon for three years, and have managed to put on 40,000 miles. No major repairs so far - only standard maintenance - new tires, oil, oil-filter, air-filter, etc.

Surprisingly, the brakes are still good at nearly 70,000 miles. The car has been reliable, powerful, and serene to drive on my daily commute (70 miles round trip on a highway / 70+ mph). I expect this car to be mostly trouble free for the years that I own it. I will likely trade it in for a more modern vehicle with all the new safety features (e.g. iSight system like Subaru).

Minor complaints are that the seat heater/cooler switches are on the center console, which means having to take one's eyes off the road to determine what position the switches are in. Also, the trunk-opener button is next to the rear sunshade button - leading to opening of the trunk while the car is in motion. These are design annoyances, and not deal breakers by any means.

25th Mar 2018, 17:41

Great to hear that your Avalon is doing well! These are handsome, comfortable, and reliable cars — a lot to like about them.