By the end of this post, in methodical Perry Mason fashion, I will certainly persuade you, the court, that the brand-new Avalon makes the Lexus ES330 wholly redundant. And that it's Toyota itself that did the murder!
Not that new, however better
Toyota Avalon 2005
Base Price: $26,350 (XL) to $33,540 (Limited)
Engine: 3.5-liter V-6, 280 hp/260 lb-ft
Transmission: Five-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Wheelbase: 111.0 in
Length x width x height: 197.2 in x 72.8 in x 58.5 in
Curb Weight: 3490 lb (XL) – 3600 lb (Limited)
Fuel economy (EPA city/hwy): 22/30
Safety features: Front and side dual-stage airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, pre-tensioning seat belts, anti-lock brakes
Major standard features: Cruise control; AM/FM/CD player; trip computer; power windows; mirrors; and locks; dual-zone automatic climate control; remote keyless entry.
Warranty: Three years/ 36,000 miles
If any type of parts carryover from the previous Avalon to this brand-new one, Toyota isn't really trumpeting that fact. However in general design it's still a front-drive car with a V6 as well as a transmission; it still makes use of a MacPherson strut suspension in advance and also another collection of struts in the back; and the basic framework is still unibody, acquired (at the very least distantly) from the Camry.
Practically every detail has been modified however. As well as one of the most impressive of those information is the drivetrain.
The engine is a brand-new 3.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve, all-aluminum V-6 that generates a thick 280-horsepower according to Toyota thanks to "VVT-i" variable valve-timing on both the exhaust and intake sides, and also a dual-stage variable manifold. Codenamed 2GR-FE, the Avalon's engine isn't simply Toyota's ubiquitous 3.3-liter V-6 punched out to 3.5-liters but a sophisticated variation of the 1GR-FE 4.0-liter V-6 used in the 4Runner, Tacoma, and Expanse with 12-millimeters of stroke knocked off its crank. It's likewise the most effective V-6 Toyota has ever shoved under among its cars and truck's hoods-- though the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6 utilized in the 1997 Supra Turbo is still Toyota's most powerful six ever at 320-horsepower.
Matched to the brand-new V-6 is a five-speed automated transaxle showcasing considerable electronic controls consisting of variable torque converter control as well as a consecutive sporting activity setting-- its changes could only be discovered by experienced specialists utilizing sophisticated magnetic vibration imaging.
The Avalon is a large cars and truck that weighs in between 3490 and also 3600 extra pounds relying on trim degree, so its moderate 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway EPA gas mileage ratings are reasonable. In fact those mileage rankings are up one mpg each from the Lexus ES330's.
The engine is spooky smooth, velvety in its power distribution, and also dang near silent in operation while the transmission's ratios appear perfectly chosen. If Toyota had bought up the world's decreasing supply of 1980 Oldsmobile Omegas and grown this sweet-natured drivetrain into those rusting hulks it could possibly ... ah forget it, that joke was going nowhere. This is simply the most powerful, quietest and also smoothest drivetrain Toyota has ever mounted in a front-drive automobile and plainly superior to that in various other "near deluxe" makers. The Acura TL's 270-horsepower, 3.2-liter VTEC V6 and also five-speed automatic may be more eager to prance on an alleyway, but the Avalon isn't really constructed for individuals that "romp." As Well As the Lexus ES330's 3.3-liter V-6 isn't really quite as well-mannered and also, at 225-horspower, nowhere near as effective.
Is bigger constantly far better?
Nearly invariably (the 2005 Corvette is a notable exemption) cars have the tendency to bloat in size with each succeeding generation. The new Avalon is no exemption. The 2005 model's 111.0-inch wheelbase as well as 197.2-inch total length are respectively up 3.9- and also 5.3-inches from the just-superseded generation. Fortunately that likewise settles with indoor room as well as every significant measurement except front legroom (which is still well past appropriate) is up a minimum of fractionally. Back legroom is especially charitable. Nevertheless freight quantity drops 1.5-cubic feet for one reason or another and that's simply mystifying.
While the previous 2 generations of Avalons were amongst the boxiest sedans conceivable, the brand-new one actually looks somewhat sleek. The new Avalon was styled in Newport Coastline, The golden state yet carries forward most of the generic Toyota layout elements including the thick C-pillars seen on the Corolla and also Camry. It's a good-looking car even if it's not particularly memorable-- more Lyle Waggoner than Robert Redford.
Those very same Toyota themes continue inside the cabin too. The buttons and regulates all have that acquainted Toyota look and feel and also the decoration is restrained. Nonetheless there are brilliant touches like the controller for the optional navigation system that arises from its nest under the sound system when its required and also cuddles back in when its not.
All the instrumentation is easy to locate, very easy to check out and also lit in "Optitron" magnificence. The seats aren't boldy strengthened, but they are very comfortable. Beyond the called for front two-stage air bags, the Avalon comes side curtain airbags for both the front and rear passengers plus side air bags for the front guests. Anymore air bags as well as the Avalon could be made use of as a flotation device.
New Avalons come in XL (fully equipped with towel upholstery), XLS (the XL with a nav system, moonroof, six-disc CD changer, and also natural leather), Touring (a sportier suspension, deck looter, and HID fronts lights) as well as Restricted (loaded, including a wood as well as natural leather steering wheel) trim degrees. None of their cabin design can be described as thin, however all the petrochemical woodland products on screen in the line-topping Limited are distracting. One of the most stylish Avalon interior is the Visiting design that includes natural leather wrappings around the shift handle, guiding wheel, and also seats yet is otherwise controlled.
Whatever the trim level, the Avalon inside goes to the very least as good as the ES330's and also the Restricted (which includes a "Smart Secret System" which allows the vehicle to be started when the secret is merely in the vehicle driver's pocket) is much more thoroughly equipped. As well as the Avalon offers something you can't get on the ES330-- even more room.
Drives like a Toyota
The Avalon is a maker constructed more for comfort than speed. The driving environment is kind of like sitting in front of the very best stereo system sold at Circuit City; there are great deals of knobs and dials to have fun with if you like, but you're most likely best off simply trusting just what the engineers developed into the system at the factory in the first place. This is an auto that handles the details much better than you might on your own.
The floor-mounted shifter has a distinct Mercedes-like gate that takes some willful thought to navigate even though it's actually simply an electronic switch mechanism instead as well as not mechanically attached to the transaxle. Leave the moving as much as the transmission nonetheless and also the auto accelerates with both dignity and also vigor; this is a quick auto however not an arrogant one.
While the XL begins 16-inch wheels, the various other three models all use 17s with P215/55R17 all-season Michelins to connect with the pavement. The tires aren't loud, yet they're not extremely sticky either and the cornering limitations on even the stiffer Touring model are moderate. The rack-and-pinion guiding isn't really especially fast, but there's more feel as well as responses on this brand-new cars and truck than the old one. It's not actually flashy steering as high as it wants to admit that it's affixed to an auto that's moving.
Like the front-driver that it is, when the Avalon reaches its limitations it transitions right into understeer. However it doesn't do so drastically and also with the optional Lorry Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), and also digital Brake Assist (BA) aboard it's tough to get into problem with an Avalon unless you in fact intend it at some item as well as don't reflexively hit the brakes.
The Avalon ultimately drives a whole lot like, well, a Lexus ES330 ... just bigger and a lot more powerful.
Assembled at the very same Georgetown, Kentucky plant that creates the Camry, there's nothing exotic about the Avalon by any means. This is more engaging cars and truck compared to the previous Avalon, but it's not a cars and truck that really feels wedded to a vehicle driver's soul like a BMW 3-Series. However true love could wander apart, while connections improved sensible and reasonable assumptions are more probable to endure.
Those practical expectations start with the Avalon XL's eager base rate of $26,350 with the Touring at $28,600, XLS at $30,800 as well as the Limited at $33,540. That's not low-cost, yet flawlessly according to the efficiency, comfort, as well as energy of the Avalon.
So the Avalon drives at least as nicely as the Lexus ES330, has more room, is more powerful, improves gas gas mileage, and can be furnished equally as lavishly. And yet the Lexus brings a $31,975 base cost that's greater than any type of Avalon except the Limited? That makes no sense. Because the Avalon isn't simply a far better auto than the ES330, it's a far better Lexus.