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Toyota Avalon 2004 and earlier



  • Is the Vehicle stability Control option really worth the extra money - how difficult is it to find an XLS model Avalon without it? Any thoughts on this would be really helpful. Thanks all.
  • My mom has a 2000 Avalon with 20,800 miles and we love it. However, I noticed something last night. I was riding with her and had the map light on since I was reading. It's VERY hard to notice, but while I was reading, I saw that the light flickers just a bit. It's almost like someone has a dimmer switch and is quickly turning it up and down. I'm wondering what this could be. The same thing happens when the door is open with the car running. The strange thing is that I've never noticed this while the ignition is off. Do any of you know what this could be? Also, I, too, have noticed a slight difference in the radio's volume. I am wondering if our problem is reception; I have never noticed it on the CD player. Has replacing the stereo alleviated any of the problems that you guys have had with this? Is there a TSB for a popping sound under the driver's seat? Someone else had mentioned the popping sound. I was just wondering. Thanks a bunch.
  • We purchased a '01 Avalon XLS in November to replace a '94 Dodge Intrepid that we loved. The salesman tried to justify the 50% difference in price by pointing out what he considered all of the extras on the Avalon. The bottom line is we got a moon roof, leather interior and a CD player that we did not have on the Intrepid. Dodge had all of the other bells and whistles 8 years ago, plus several that the Avalon does not have today. We chose Avalon based on the comments on this site, the Toyota reputation for quality and its size (1 foot shorter, which is an advantage for parallel parking). We test drove a '00 and a '01 and were impressed with the quietness, comfort, interior space, and engine performance. Although we have not experienced any of the mechanical problems noted here, our vehicle
    was delivered without a coin holder and the GBS does not work. We have taken two trips of 5 & 10 hours each way and found the ride and handling exceptionally smooth. The Intrepid was better, but it had a longer wheel base and was wider. We have not experienced the problem of uncomfortable seats, although I am over six feet and weigh 185, because there are enough adjustments that you can eventually find one to your satisfaction. On long trips changing the seat settings periodically will also relieve that tired achy feeling. We gave up on Dodge because of poor service after the sale. The performance of our local dealer thus far has also left a lot to be desired and we hope we don't live to regret our purchase of the Avalon.
  • Just took delivery of a 2001 Avalon XLS with split-bench front seat option, cloth, and was surprised to find no lumber support control. This is contrary to the specs listed here on Edmunds site. Toyota site only seems to say "multi-adjustable seat". Anybody out there know what's up?

    Thanks much.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    There isn't one. Even on the XLS, there isn't a lumbar support on the bench seat. Talk to Edmunds if they misstated this. They also claim you must use premium fuel and you don't.
  • I've been reading this forum for quite a while & have enjoyed it tremendously & have learned a lot as well. I'm very seriously considering an Avalon as my next car purchase in the next few months. One question: is the white diamond pearl truly a pearl color? There's a beautiful pearl color on Cadillacs & I'm just wondering if it's similar to that or if it's more of a true white.

    Also, does anyone have any recommendations for dealers in the northeastern or central NC area?
  • memphmemph Posts: 1
    We recently purchased a black 2001 Avalon XLS with everything. We love this car. The JBL stereo is awesome. The cabin is quiet and wood looks real. I think the seats are very comfortable, but for the price the head rests should articulate. I think they could have done better with the message center--the type is too large and the information is too basic, i.e., I don't really need the date spelled out. One thing, though, it makes a bit of a rumph, rumph, rumph sound up to about 60mph. You can only hear it if it's quiet in the cabin and you're really listening.
  • mbt1mbt1 Posts: 33
    I bought a 2000 Avalon XL last year and on my first oil change noticed that there was rust surrounding the four bolts on a structure near the engine and the engine oil dipstick. The dealer told me that because that stucture, whatever he called it, is made of cast iron and therefore the rust is quite common even though the car was brand-new. I believe the car was assembled in the U.S. and I live in the middle of California, so there is no reason to attribute the problem to the climate. Is it true that cast iron will rust even so early in the car's life? Do I need to be concerned about the structural integrity of that part over the long run? Thanks for the advice or comments anyone can provide.
  • It could have been around for some time. (see manufacture date on door) and if it was in a humid area there well could be rust on cast iron. It's hard to tell unless one actually sees the part.

    I'm driving a 2k Avalon and I haven't looked to see if there is any rust discernable, but the car seems to run well.
  • I am a twice avalon owner also. But no more.
    95 and 97 Avalons. I liked the new one but the prices are now too high for what you get. Lexus country. Base stripped xl's are $28K and xls's are $34K. Experience was better with the 97 than the 95 in the reliability area (reason for change). I tried to buy a 2000 when first introduced but they wanted sticker and they said my old body style caused the trade-in value to drop dramatically. I tried again to replace with a 2001 this year but Toyota did nothing to retain my business. Dealers are very tough and hard to deal with. Bad experiences were had at several dealers.

    I branched out and looked at all the usual supects. Maxima, Acura, Honda ex v-6, and I even toyed with the 300M. All were clones of the toyota except for the 300m. I was looking for something with more appeal. The toyota has very conservative styling and the new interior is inferior to the old IMO. I actually like the old body style better. The sides and door panels are too flat looking and plain IMO. I hate the 2 layer look of the dash, reminds me of an old Cadillac. Puts all the gauges too far away. Also evidenced by complaints from others about the dash panel reflection problem.
    I looked at Edmunds and CU and they recommended the PASSAT. I drove this car and loved it. The drawbacks are not as quiet, smaller trunk, smaller backseat, and weak B2B Warranty I don't drive a lot of people around so a big backseat is not important to me.
    The PASSAT's pros are:
    Much better drivability: no wandering numbness.
    Holds the road drives very precisely unlike the Avalon. Firmer ride but compliant.
    Lumbar Supports on both seats are very comfortable. Seat cushions are not squishy but firmer.
    Power memory seats are good for short and tall drivers combinations.
    Tilt and Telescope adjustable wheel which adjusts very well for both tall and small drivers. Avalons wheel does not telescope a very useful feature.
    High roof line accomodates tall drivers.
    Five speed tiptronic transmission compared to 4 speed.
    Real wood trim not plastic glued on stuff.
    Leather is thicker and appears more durable IMO.
    Safety features: Side air bag curtains N/A on Avalon.
    Equal or better crash test results especially bumper tests. SEE NHSTA site.
    Can get a fully loaded 4 wheel drive optioned car MSRP $31,560 - 4 wheel drive N/A on Avalon
    Price is much lower. MSRP GLX 29,810 fully loaded model. Can get lower trim lines for much less.

    Transmission does not require service for 100k. Tranny Fluid is sealed unlike Avalon which must be changed every 15K and flushed every 60K.
    All maintenance services covered under warranty for 24K.
    Can be had at price of moderately equipped XL.
    German engineering vs. Japanese. Different philosophies.
    The only downside to this car that I have found may be the reliability record compared to the Toyota. But I believe this is improving in the current years. Major components are well covered under the 10Yr/100K warranty.

    Very powerful engine really pulls well. Feels much quicker stronger than the Avalon. Especially at accelerating.
    Top notch materials in the interior and build quality. Definitely looks like BMW or Audi materials.
    Longer power train warranty 10 years 100K.
    Dealer Service:
    They also treated me very well at the dealers. You could tell they wanted to convert me to a German car and they succeeded. Toyota sales people did not want to work for my business. I guess they took me for granted since I was on my third Toyota in a row. Toyota seems more interested in adding more and more SUV buyers and raising their prices while not adding content. Honda is adding more content and holding or lowering prices.
    While this car may not appeal to all Avalon owners and buyers, I would recommend a test drive of the PASSAT you may like the differences. I did.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Your service department is correct about the cast iron parts surrounding the exhaust manifold. The rust you are seeing is not only common, it is by design. Take a look at a cast iron skillet sometime. You will notice that a seasoning layer of oxidation forms on the surface. This surface oxidation prevents the rust from penetrating deeper. It is nothing to worry about.
  • mbt1mbt1 Posts: 33
    Thank you jimcarr and cliffy1 for your quick response regarding rusting. Your explanation is very reassuring, cliffy1; thanks again.
  • Howdy ..... I AM buying a NEW car and have narrowed my choices down to a
    2001 Toyota (Avalon XLS)
    and the Infinity I30T
    PLEASE give me ANY and ALL Advise before I pull the trigger on the deal...
    Thanks guys...... Animull (
    Please email me a copy of your response to make sure I find your input .... Thanks.
  • avfanavfan Posts: 17
    The floor heat in my 2000 XL does not do a good job keeping my legs warm when in the floor mode. I have to manually close the side vent (air comes out strong here when in the floor mode) and turn off the re circulation mode to get it to work marginally better. (This lets in the exhaust fumes from the cars in front of me when I am sitting in traffic). Is this the way the AV's are? My old Camry (95) used to get so hot my feet would burn. I have an appointment with my dealer this week. Any info before I take it in would be helpful.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421

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  • acco20acco20 Posts: 208
    cliffy1, In refferance to rust on cast iron. My experience tells me that once rust begins to form on metal it will continue to probe as long as air is available. Under water it would stop or at least slow down. Eventually it will damage those cast iron parts.But it will take a considerable amount of time. By the way... that is why it is advised to "season" cast iron skillets before you use them. Seasoning is heating cooking oil in the skillet to fairly high heat before the first use.Nothing guaranteed about these comments, just my opinion.
  • Does anyone have the scoop on what's new/different/changed (if any) in the '02 Avalon?
    And what about the '03 Avalon?

  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    While I have not seen anything official on the 2002, I can tell you what the normal model like is on Toyotas. The first three years remain largely unchanged. This means that the 2000-2002 are pretty much the same vehicle. The fourth year sees a "freshening" so the 2003 will have the same sheet metal but several cosmetic differences and possibly some different options. They keep this for two years and then completely redesign the car in the sixth year. The 2005 model should be the completely new model.
  • When my original equipment Dunlop tires wore out on my 1998 Avalon XLS, I looked for tires that handled better and would reduce float. I chose standard size Michelin Pilots and while the car is not in the handling category of a BMW, it has made a significant improvement. The car does not float. The tires are slightly noisier, but the car borders now on fun to drive. Maybe it's my middle age creeping in. By the way, at 36,000 miles the car has had not one problem. Compare that to my 1994 Chrysler LHS which had 30 visits for major problems during the four years I owned it. Go with the Michelin Pilot tires, longer life and better handling.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    See post #640
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