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2012 - 2013 Toyota Avalon

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  • mikes.mikes. Posts: 335
    I'm about to buy my 5th Avalon. I've had a '96xle, an '05, 08 and and an 11 limited. So far the 2011 has been my favorite. I plan on retiring in a few years and this 2013 will probably be the last car I buy.

    It has the tech package because I really missed the dynamic cruise control. Color is crimson mica.
  • I thought about the limited with the Tech Package but like yourself I am retired and bought the Touring model instead. The more gizmos the car has the more things that can be problematical. Like you being 73 this could easily be my last car and electrical problems are the leading source of problems as vehicles age so I went with the basic features I decided I really needed. If I go first there will be less for the little lady to deal with as the car ages and she hates giving up a car as long as looks good and drives OK. We kept a Lexus we owned for 10years and she still thinks I was crazy to get rid of it. Sometimes I think it is that attitude that has saved me from being traded in. After 47yrs of marriage I am starting to malfunction and require a lot more repairs and maintenance!
  • lucien4lucien4 Posts: 55
    Completely different car but test drove today Accord Coupe and it absorbs small bumps much better. Overall I thought suspension is better.
    Also in curves I don't feel like sliding off the seat. I'm fine with sporty suspension but seats don't seem to quite support it.

    But will do another test drive with hybrid with smaller 17" and see how that compares since I still prefer finding good hybrid first.

    I wish there would be a model or options in-between XLE touring and limited. The jump of 4K is bit big and don't need all those options.

    Also noticed another poor small overlap test for Toyota with RAV4. So not sure Avalon would do much better but at least it got bit more airbags maybe...
  • havechavec Posts: 45
    As long as you're at the Toyota Dealer, could you test drive the Avalon hybrid and the Camry hybrid back to back? Make sure you drive them both over some bumpy roads with lots of surface imperfections and let us know which one you think has the best road isolation. FWIW Consumer Reports rates the Camry as having a better ride. The overall scores for the Camry hybrid was 93 and the Avalon Limited hybrid was 86. The 2013 Honda Accord's score was 90.
  • lucien4lucien4 Posts: 55
    I don't take CR score literally (e.g. Tesla got 99 points even though they listed several issues). But overall their written assessment is typically fairly close what I'd experience. But you can't score a car really for everyone since priorities differ on individual preferences.

    I had the Camry non-hybrid as a rental car for 2 weeks. It absorbs bumps more cushioned but still more body lean than I like and not enough feedback. Hybrid might be different but probably not much. This is what CR says:

    "The ride is subdued, and the suspension feels more tied down and better controlled than previous Camrys. Bumps are soaked up well with impressive isolation."

    I'd prefer the Avalon suspension but personal preference. Except I don't want to feel small vibrations so will do test drive this week with Avalon hybrid to see how it compares.

    I'm not considering the Camry since the cost cutting is too evident to me. The Avalon has much better interior quality and more interesting exterior design. CR probably rated it also higher since it's better value (with slightly higher FE and better acceleration).
  • havechavec Posts: 45
    I agree with what you say about CR's ratings. I've been a long time reader and believe that they are the one only true unbiased source for product information as they buy everything they test off the shelf and have SOPs in place for product testing. However, I’m a little pissed off at them for 2 reasons. First, when I asked them if they were going to be test driving an Avlalon hybrid they emailed me back and said that they were not planning on testing the car any time soon. Right when I was signing the deal on my TAH the "first drive" came out saying that they were alarmed by the bumps being transmitted into the cabin by the V6 18 inch wheel Limited model. I bought the car anyway mostly because of how much I liked how it drove, the interior and all the technology. Later, after reading their full test in which they said that most $25K sedans ride better I became hyper sensitized to the ride quality. So I'm mad at them for making me so aware of every bump and crevice in the road and lying to me.
    However, going forward I don't think there are too many alternatives that can beat this car outside of maybe the Lexus hybrid version. I did drive a Camry hybrid several months before purchasing the TAH Limited and I wasn’t overly impressed at the time with the overall feel of the vehicle. It just seemed run of the mill not like the Avalon hybrid which allowed for rationalizing a whole bunch of extras not offered on the Camry. Also, if you’re going pay serious money for a new vehicle you have to keep it for at least 10 years and that means that it has to be future proof. Which means that it better get at least 30 mpg combined under worst case driving. I was driving an older Lexus RX300 which got 17 mpg. Now I’m averaging 33.9 (3180 miles/93.9 gallons). I would have bought a Lexus 450H SUV but the gas mileage wasn’t there and I was tired of driving a SUV plus probably another 10K fully equipped. On smooth roads the TAH hybrid excels and you can’t beat the technology packages especially the adaptive cruise control. And, the car is fun to drive, something I don’t think you can say about then Camry.
    I’m hoping that the TAH’s road isolation will improve some when I replace the Bridgstones with Michelin Primacy MXV4 tires. Maybe, that is something you can insist on if and when you buy your TAH. Good luck with your test drive and let us know what you think.
    Chris
  • lucien4lucien4 Posts: 55
    I'll try to do test drive tomorrow (hopefully they have one now in stock).

    Think about this on CR assessment: they said FR-S is somewhat stiff but not too punishing by sports car standards. Well I test drove one and I think that's an understatement (unless it was an issue with the demo). They expect each category of cars to have certain suspension setup and they classify Avalon as a "large plush sedan". Yet it's same size as Honda Accord and it's quite a different vehicle now. But I agree the V6 doesn't absorb bumps as good as Accord or MKZ. But with hybrid 17" should be better and as you say other tires should help.

    There's no perfect car as they find issues in all cars and the hybrid model still got 86 points. The poor perf of IIHS small overlap for several Toyota models so far would concern me more than suspension. But then again only few cars so far had good ratings and ES/Avalon '13 hasn't been tested yet with this new test.
  • havechavec Posts: 45
    The last Avalon they tested got a 1/2 dark circle poor rating in the emergency handling rating. Toyota fixes the handling discrepancy in the 2013 model and gets dinged on the ride. Toyota probably isn't too thrilled with CR. At least CR said that the car instills driver's confidence. Have you read the user reviews on CR's website? Everybody likes the hybrid a lot better than the V6.
  • teresa01teresa01 Posts: 14
    Chris,

    I agree with what you are saying. I bought my Avalon the day before that CR article came out. GRRRRR.... If I had read the article before I bought my car, I probably would have waited and test driven more models of more cars before signing on the dotted line. However, that being said, I really do like the look inside and out of the new Avalon. I love the handling, it is very much improved. The only thing that I find annoying, is the ride quality. If the roads are smooth, the car rides like a dream. If not, you feel every bump. It's true.
    I really like the car just a little miffed about the ride and can't wait to replace those tires. The two features I really like the blind spot monitor and the cross traffic alert. I think those features are the best additions to the car and I hope Toyota decides to make those two safety features standard on all models eventually.
  • poorthingflintpoorthingflint Posts: 61
    edited July 2013
    I feel your pain. Fortunatly I read the customer reviews before I bought my Avalon and made sure my car did not have Bridgestones. I am leaning towards going to a "55 aspect tire when the original Michelins wear out. Miles tend to sofen the ride so I may change my thinking on this. I would suggest you drop your tire pressure to 31psi(cold) in the meantime as it does help ride harshness. Frankly I drove a assortment of other vehicles and kept comming back to the Avalon and finally made the purchase. Can not see how I would act any differently now I have driven it for 3400 miles even though I do have a seriuos intermitent drivability problem. Not making any progress in getting the problem resolved because a few miles of driving by the dealer could not replicate the problem and Toyota will not do anything until they do. Kept my car three days and put over 50 miles on it and burned a quarter tank of gas and suggested my driving style probably was the problem. Bummer!
  • havechavec Posts: 45
    edited July 2013
    The Camry has better road isolation but how many people would trade in their Avalon on a Camry? I agree the technology is what makes this car over other Toyotas. Although, the PCS beeps at me sometimes when I'm lightly braking and coming up to another car. The adaptive cruise is also pretty nice on the freeway. Someone said you get bit of an insurance break on all the safety related features.
  • lucien4lucien4 Posts: 55
    edited July 2013
    Had a chance today to do a test drive with the Hybrid model and I think it absorbed the bumps better with the 17" tires and I didn't feel small vibrations through steering wheel this time. However the roads were not exactly same but weren't that great either. For me ride seems acceptable but if I have a chance probably take a 2nd test drive on same roads (waiting for them to get hybrid model in stock).

    Also checked again driving fast through curves and it doesn't lean much but passenger seat isn't quite holding you so you slide little bit (driver seat was ok). But overall it was alright even though not quite as good as some other cars.

    Fuel consumption was pretty good for quick test drive. Got about 40 mpg in mixed driving. Didn't quite get 43 mpg on highway that CR got (at 65 mph) but mpg should get little better over time and drive was bit short to accurately measure it.
  • havechavec Posts: 45
    Yes, 55 series tires have more air between you and the road than 45 series. It sure would be nice if you could confirm the ride difference between the 17 inch Bridgestone EL Turanza and 17 inch Michelin Primacy MXV4 tires. Although it would unlikely that there would be 2 hybrids on the lot with the 2 different sets of tires. Also, make sure you bring a tire gauge with you. It seems that Avalons might be coming off the transport truck with 36 psi in the tires. Something about the factory pumping up the tires to prevent flat spots. 33 is the sticker pressure and 31 gives a better ride as pointed out above.
  • lucien4lucien4 Posts: 55
    edited July 2013
    I can't remember which tires were on the hybrids but I know they were identical to the V6 base model that was next to it. Why would there be different tire brands on hybrid?

    I don't think it's all because of the tires since I'm fine with stiffer ride as long as it doesn't vibrate the small bumps in the road. I think the shock absorbers don't have much play and are too stiff (not sure which suspension setup is in this car). You should be able to change or adjust those as well (with some cost).

    If you reduce PSI then you do get reduced fuel economy as well. Maybe Toyota will consider making some changes for '14 model after all but I think I can live with it though Accord has better overall ride so I partially agree with CR there. But for me that's not the only criteria. You always have some trade-offs.
  • havechavec Posts: 45
    There has been a lot of discussion on this thread about how the stock Bridgestone tires on some 2013 Avalons are attributable to the rough ride. Supposedly, Michelin MXV4 tires have a much better ride. I would like to know before I waste money by getting rid of my 215/55-17 Bridgestone El Turanza tires for a set of Michelin MXV4. I kind of think you're right about the tires making that much of a difference in ride quality. Some, but not trans formative.
    2 PSI in a lightly loaded car shouldn't hurt the mileage too much.
  • poorthingflintpoorthingflint Posts: 61
    edited July 2013
    Before I bought my Avalon I drove back to back cars with proper air pressure(checked and adjusted by me) and there is no doubt the Michlins at least in the 18" wheel size handle road impacts better. I run around 31psi in my tires which are Michlins and my milage seems to match what most drivers are getting(24-32 MPG's). Previous experience with Bridgestones was they tend to be a noisy tire as well as ruff riding. Took a set of them off a new GS300 because they were so bad and a different set of tires transformed the vehicle all for the better.
  • havechavec Posts: 45
    We're forced to use CR for tire ratings as who else buys tires of the shelf puts them on the same vehicle and rates them a quantitatively as possible. The Michelin Primacy MXV4-H tires had the highest rating for ride comfort and noise out of almost 50 tires tested. They also had the highest overall score. They rated the Michelin MXV4 V-speed rated a little lower. Unfortunately, they didn't test the Bridgestone Turanza EL400. The only question is how many more miles do I put on the Bridgestone Turanza EL400s before ditching them.
  • I guess it depends on how long you want to suffer. I went less then 2000 miles on my "Stones" before removing them from my Lexus. You might want to visit the tire reseller that handles assorted brands including Bridgestones they might make you a deal on a better tire. My tire dealer did and gave me a supper deal. Good luck.
  • havechavec Posts: 45
    There are just too many reports here and on other websites like CR's user reviews on how crappy the EL400s are for it not to be true. I happened across this Camry Hybrid owners review. I guess it's ok to quote him:

    "As I drove the car home off the lot, it had a noticable vibration and a terrible ride. Dealer said there was nothing wrong. Turns out it was the tires. Toyota put cheap crummy tires on it and the dealer agreed with me, but says his hands are tied. After 500 miles, I replaced them with top of the line Michelins. HUGE improvement in the ride quality. (OEM tires were Bridgestone EL400s - they're terrible!)"

    I think I'll go with the H-speed rated Michelin MXV4s over the over the V-rated because they got higher scores in ride and noise as well as rolling resistance over the Vs.
  • I went from a high speed rated tire to a 118mph rated tire on a Lexus GS300. It was the best move I ever made short of getting rid of the "Stones" that came with the car. Had to push hard to get them installed. The Michlins I wanted installed came standard on a Caddy with a 275 HP V8 North Star. My car had a 225hp six cylinder engine. I assured the tire manager being a responsible senior citizen who valued his life and drivers license I had no planes to drive at a sustained speed exceeding 118mph. He put the tires on. The ride improved notably and noise went down as well. Loved the tires and went with second set about 40,000 miles later.
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