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2011 Toyota Avalon

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Comments

  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    drive another car to compare the wind noise should give you a better idea about how good/bad the avalon is.
  • marco33marco33 Posts: 15
    edited March 2011
    I'm Cathy's husband, and I have a couple of reactions to your post. I'm 6'4' and 225 lbs. I can guarantee you that the discomfort I feel when I drive our new Avalon is not "perceived"; its real. The seat "bottoms out" after a while, and I can feel a "lump"....as though I had a thick wallet in my back right pocket (but I dont). I drive the car for an hour, and then can't wait to get out and stretch, as my right leg is half numb. Interestingly, I don't have this issue at all on my other well engineered Japanese vehicle, a 2000 Honda Odyssey (165K miles). Those seats are not exactly "plush" but I dont have any discomfort to speak of. So I'm not quite sure of what to make about your comment on Japanese engineering , as there is inconsistency between the two from my viewpoint.

    Yes, we "test drove" the car, but only for 10-15 minutes max. Our Test drive was not reflective of the way we intended to use the car, i.e., 80 miles per day to/from work. In hind sight, I should have insisted on at least a one hour test drive. In the future on our next new vehicle, I will insist on a much longer test drive. But this somewhat like sleeping on a new mattress for a full night before actually purchasing it....does anyone do that? Maybe they should!

    Finally, EVERY company--no matter how good-- makes mistakes. I believe that with this one exception (lack of adequate seat padding) Toyota has a real winner in the 2011 Avalon. What a company does to address these issues when they happen is what separates them from their competitors, and creates loyal customers. So yes, even though you believe that "it will never happen" , my wife and I firmly believe we need to make Toyota aware of the problem and give them the opportunity to address it. How they chose to handle this situation will determine whether or not my next new vehicle is a Toyota!
  • nan48nan48 Posts: 350
    Good response to your problem. I feel your pain.

    A few years ago we bought a firm mattress. We love the mattress at the store. Since we picked it up it actually stayed in garage for several months before we actually set the bed up. When we finally got the bed set up the mattress was so firm I woke up every morning with a back ace. My wife complained too. Because we paid so much money for it we stuck it out with a mattress cover (that helped) until I had enough. I know this has NOTHING at all to do with your seat problem. I guess what I'm trying to say, I can see why you would NOT notice a uncomfortable seat on a short test drive just like we never notice a stone hard mattress on a very short trial run.

    Keep us informed.
  • marco33marco33 Posts: 15
    Thanks for your note...I very much appreciate you sharing your mattress story, and actually am so sorry that you were a victim of exactly the scenario I was thinking of! I hope you find a good solution to your mattress issue!

    I think one of the big factors when you test drive a new car, is that the car is very foreign and unfamiliar to you. Therefore, you are being extra cautious driving "somebody else's brand new car", while trying to focus on a few things that are important and you want to evaluate. For instance handling, visiblity, ability to accelerate, overall "feel", cabin noise, etc., etc. Of course, you can only do so much in 10 minutes with the sales person talking to you the entire time! I am not making excuses, its just the nature of the so called "test drive" . So ( shame on me) long term comfort was not tops on my "test drive"list. Believe me, I've learned my lesson! Maybe on my next new car shopping spree , I will ask for a cup of coffee, turn on the radio and just sit there (in the driver's seat) in the dealership parking lot for an hour to see how the seats feel!!! I may be onto something here.... ;-) Will definitely keep you posted on our progress!
  • marco33marco33 Posts: 15
    Great advice on NOT using Amorall... completely agree!!! I used it for years on my boat, thinking I was protecting and preserving the vinyl seats. Then when I had a small rip fixed by a professional, he gave me the news on how Amorall can actually ruin the vinyl!!! Well, long story short, I started noticing some of the vinyl got hard and brittle as the material lost its flexibility and started to crack! That was about 4 years ago and although I have since sold the boat, I have not used Amorall on anything since!!!
  • nan48nan48 Posts: 350
    The mattress story turned out great. For some time we just complain with out backs until I had enough. I called explained the problem and he finally gave us a full trade in. However I know his mattresses are marked up and thee is at least 20% mark up that over the real price they will take. We bought the first mattress probably 40% less than he was asking, we paid FULL price for the second mattress. But this story does not help you.

    When I test drove my Avalon. I did tell the salesman "get ready to sit for a while". I test drove it probably 30 minutes, probably more but a good ways. I was impressed by everything about the car.

    We owned a wholesale business in Va. Beach. We dealt in cars so I had the luxury of driving few high end cars. We never owned or sold a Lexus or Avalon. We did own one 96 SS Impala, one Cadillac Allanta's a ton of accords, and cheaper cars. So for me driving the new Avalon was a pleasure. I would sit in other Avalon's to compare. Make a point to do this before all the 2011's are gone. Then you'll have your proof. Let US know if it's the seat or just your car. Hope this helps, Bill
  • iamknottiamknott Posts: 82
    Hello Marco,

    I never doubted that you find your Avalon's seat to be uncomfortable and my use of the word "perceived" was intentional because it means to become aware of something through the senses and, as they say, "Perception is reality." I should have gone on to state that people's perceptions vary; what one person finds uncomfortable, others are fine with. This is true of sofas, chairs, beds, and car seats.

    My assertion that the Japanese are diligent engineers and anxious to produce quality products (particulary cars) is based on industry and consumer publications as well as my own personal experience -- both as an owner of 30 cars in my lifetime and as a service provider to another major Japanese auto manufacturer. One story: I attended a dinner held by that manufacturer to honor their suppliers who had provided the highest quality parts. I spoke with an official of a company which had produced about 100,000 tie rods for the auto assembler. Of those, only 7 had been deemed unacceptable for various reasons. That resulted in his company being ranked 13th on the assembler's list of quality suppliers!

    I agree that every company can and will make mistakes. It is certainly possible that the supplier of the seat in your Avalon made a mistake on that particular seat. It would seem reasonable to me that you should have it inspected for manufacturing defects and allow them a chance to replace it before escalating your complaint to Toyota corporate. Did you do that? If, on the other hand, your problem is with the design of the seat, then let Toyota know so that they can determine (through your comments and those of others) whether a re-design is required for future models. However, I remain firm in my belief that Toyota is not going to conduct a recall over seat comfort (which it sounds like you are hoping for), absent a nationwide outcry on the part of Avalon owners. Judging from the reactions so far in this forum, that isn't going to happen.

    P.S. I am 6'2" and 210 lbs. I have a sciatic nerve problem in my right leg and I find my Avalon's seat no better or worse than those in any other car in easing that pain.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    If I am correct these Avalon's are built in George town Ky. and perhaps your car was built on a Friday. Everyone in a hurry to go home or what ever. So perhaps a strip of padding was left out. I mean it is possible. Right?

    Uh, the car may be made in KY, but the seats are made by another company, sub-contracted out, probably DENSO, elsewhere, maybe even in Japan. Doubtful any padding was left out of his seats. The seats are not assembled with the car, only placed into the car at assembly.
  • nan48nan48 Posts: 350
    edited March 2011
    Uh, the car may be made in KY, but the seats are made by another company, sub-contracted out, probably DENSO, elsewhere, maybe even in Japan. Doubtful any padding was left out of his seats. The seats are not assembled with the car, only placed into the car at assembly.

    Yea, that's probably true. The seats could be made any where. Japan?? I'm not sure but anywhere.

    If this man is the only one have trouble with the padding, then IT IS very likely some padding was left out. I mean something is wrong. Somewhere. Maybe not less padding, but something is wrong. Unless we all have that problem and I don't. Plus I'm a heavy man. So I think I would notice before a thin man would. maybe!!!! ?
  • gramzgramz Posts: 105
    My story with a different twist.

    I owned a 1997 Park Avenue and was a lot younger. This car was a joy to drive and my butt/back never ached when driving it. I traded this car for a 2000 Regal with bucket seats and the first trip out of town I had to stop about every 2-3 hours and get out and walk around because of my butt/back ache.

    I kept this until I sat in a 2002 Cadillac DTS with a bench seat. This car was the most comfortable car I've ever driven. In 2008 I was ready to trade again and my dealer let me have a new Impala to try out. I took off on a 200 mile trip and 23 miles out of town I turned around and took it back as I was already starting to feel the aches coming on. I then went and found another Cadillac but it had bucket seats instead of bench. The dealer convinced me the seats were the same in every other respect so I went ahead and traded without taking it for a long trip. Long story short is I traded this one for my 2011 Avalon last May.

    With the seat extended I have driven 16,000 miles which incudes 5 trips of over 1500 miles each. I haven't had one back/butt problem since I got the car.

    My problem now is that I don't ever want to trade again. I just don't want to take a chance of another bad experience.

    I guess my point is "I feel your pain" It's a bad deal when you're not comfortable driving.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I had a Pinto with the same problem, my right leg would go numb. Only in that car. BUT, it WAS a Pinto after all......
  • _bill_wa_bill_wa Posts: 37
    Washington State also....tribes pay no sales tax.....also Tribes have all the Major casino's, plus treaty right to net 50% of the salmon/steelhead, returning to historial fishing rivers......plus the BIA makes sure they get taken care of, with taxpayers $$$$$$$$$$$$ on many other items.

    Don't see it changing any time soon.........grin and bear it !!!!! or move to another country.
  • marco33marco33 Posts: 15
    edited March 2011
    Hello Iamknott,

    Thanks for your message! I guess we are ultimately going to agree on some points and not others.

    Out of curiosity, what trim level do you have on your 2011 Avalon, Base or Limited??? The reason I ask is that COOLED seats ( with fan assembly under seat) are only available on Limited (what I have). Since you feel nothing, I am wondering if you have base trim ( heated seats only, no cooling fan) ????

    If your car IS a Limited, I am going to ask you a small favor, since we are very nearly the same height and weight. Next time you are about to get out of the car, pay extra attention to the feeling of the seat bottom as you open the door and then turn your self to get out....do you feel anything but pure padding on the seat??? The lumps I previously described are especially noticeable as you swivel in the seat to get out, it is right where the stiching is in the middle to right of the seat bottom.... I would be very curious to hear what you experience.

    Thanks, and enjoy your Avalon....its a great car otherwise!!! On that point, you and I will always agree! :-)
  • marco33marco33 Posts: 15
    edited March 2011
    Hello Bill,

    Actually, it is good to hear a happy ending to your mattress story....gives me hope for my Avalon seat issue!

    I spoke to the GM at our Toyota dealership today....he was great and is trying, but he can only go so far. Toyota needs to weigh in. I am working through him to set up a meeting with the local Toyota factory rep....obviously, I am prepared for an uphill climb here.

    The dealership GM did give us another Avalon Limited to drive.....exact same seat issue....I knew it instantly when sitting in the car. I did speak to him today to about doing an extended test drive on the 2011 Avalon with Base (vs Limited trim). The Limited ( what I have) has cooled seats with a fan assembly directly udner the drivers seat. The base has only heated seats and no cooling fan. I am hoping what I'm feeling is the cooling fan under seat, and that the Base won't have this. If the Base seats have the same issue and I can't get Toyota to help, I'm afraid I'll probably loose money and go get the Buick Lacrosse which was a very close second. We keep our cars 10 years, and seats are only going to get less comfortable over time....so I can't see holding onto the Avalon unless I get a solution....sad...very sad....as I LOVE the rest of the car. I'll keep you posted. Thanks!
  • marco33marco33 Posts: 15
    Hi Nan48,

    Is your Avalon a 2011 Limited model, or Base model? One way to tell is do you have just heated seats, or heated AND cooled seats?

    Limited's have both heating and cooling. There is a fan assembly to blow cool air through the sets holes, and it could be this assembly that they added to the seats that I am feeling, but maybe you don't if you have only heated seats??? Just curious, as this might be the difference. Any help appreciated, as this issue is incredibly frustrating. Thanks!
  • robsisrobsis Posts: 160
    edited March 2011
    I hear ya! Love our country; however, I just get frustrated with all of the special interest groups that get treated differently when it comes to taxes. As an Enrolled Agent, I certainly understand that there is no such thing as fair when it comes to taxes...I just truly believe that taxes should be 'balanced' and this is just one of many examples of a lack of balance in the tax system...

    Maybe I'll wake up and it's all just a dream! ;)

    but you gotta just love our Avy's! :shades:
  • iamknottiamknott Posts: 82
    Marco,

    I have the base model Avalon. I wanted the Limited, but Dear Wife fails to see the value vs the extra cost.

    You may be on to something re the cooling apparatus. I assume that it is mounted to the seat and not the floor, but you might check by raising the seat by an inch to see if you still feel the lump.

    An admittedly less desirable option might be an after-market seat cushion for use on long trips. From what I see on the internet, some are ventilated and some are heated. IMO, it would be better than taking a financial loss on selling the car.
  • nan48nan48 Posts: 350
    I have the Limited model but I don't have any problems with my seats. At least non that I have noticed. Since someone has posted a problem, I've paid careful attention to my seats and the way they sit. No problems what so ever.

    I had my first oil change today along with tire rotation. Felt good not to be charge for any of this. :^)
  • robsisrobsis Posts: 160
    As you said, once I read about the problems, I have been focussing on the seats. Took a 5.5 hour trip in my '11 Limited with no discomfort at all. The ride back was just as smooth and comfortable. My only slight discomfort was eliminated by a wallet-ectomy midway through the trip back, and that was due to the pants I was wearing, not the seat! :blush:

    And, yes, it is nice to have them service the car and not pay a thing! :shades:
  • nceencee Posts: 419
    Well I have posted this before, but my 2008 Touring Edition seats SUCK too! And this isn't just me saying this.

    I'm 5' 7" and 150+- weight (short legs), and the seams in the seat just hit nerves just right in my legs, and the car is uncomfortable at 500 miles +-. Now it's not unbearable, close, but not there.

    Now a recent passenger offered to drive on a long trip (Maine to florida non-stop), and he pulled over after 30 minutes, and found a blanket out back, and folded over the seat - He said the seat SUCKED! He is 5' x6" 180 +- lbs. He too said the seams appeared to dig into his leg.

    I have purchased an after market seat cushion which helps a lot.

    I too, will do my best to take the next car on a long ride before purchasing.

    Skip

    PS I never pushed the issue with the dealer, so I have no one to blame for not getting this fixed or resolved. The car is now approaching 2 years old (I got it as a left-over) and 61,000 miles on it, and it's getting time to think of trading anyways.
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