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Toyota Avalon Owners: Meet the Members

Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,024
Call all Avalon Owners! Meet & greet here!

Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

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Comments

  • mikes.mikes. Posts: 335
    My name is Mike, I'm 47 soon to be 48. I'm on my 2nd Avalon, the 1st was a 96XL bought new in July of '96. I just bought my 2nd, an 05 on the 10th. My youngest has the 96 and it is still going strong.

    MikeS.
  • I'm Neil, 55, just traded my 94 Camry XLE V-6(153,000 miles) for the 05 Av Limited, Phantom Gray, dk. gray interior with nav, dynamic laser. Great car.
  • douglas1douglas1 Posts: 130
    I'm Doug, 57, just traded my 01 XLS in on a new 05 Limited, Phantom Gray with Graphite interior. It will be here next week, can't wait.
  • pmcb48pmcb48 Posts: 192
    I'm Pat, 56. Friday the 18th we preferenced an 05 Limited, all the goodies, Mirage Blue with Ivory interior. Still can't get used to the dealer XM antenna (black, wire shows) installation, so passed on that for now.
    At last year's local auto show, the Avalon was just about the only one that passed my wife's back seat room/comfort test. I had been waiting for the 2004 Acura TL, but although the front seat and tech stuff was nice, the back seat required a shoehorn to get into.
  • I'm Dave, 55. I purchased a Desert Sand Mica Limited on Feb 10. The only options on mine were VSC/Traction Control/BA and Carpeted Floor & Trunk Mats. I also had the dealer add the XM Satellite Radio. It does not have NAV or Laser Cruise Control. I previously owned a 2001 Avalon XLS in the same color, which I sold to a local friend. Hopefully the '05 will provide me with as many trouble fee miles as the '01. At delivery, I also purchased a 6 yr/75K mile Platinum extended warranty, as I plan on keeping this one for at least 6 years.

    The black XM antenna was originally located on the passenger side of the trunk, but I had it moved to the center rear of the trunk, by the rear window. I agree it does not look great, but I love the XM so much that I am willing to live with the look. Maybe it can be painted to match the exterior color without affecting the reception.

    I am curious as to what type of fuel everyone is currently using, or is planning to use. The owners manual recommends 91 octane (Premium) but also says that 87 octane can be used, with reduced performance. Mine was filled by the dealer with 89 octane (10% Ethanol) which is plentiful here in Iowa. I only have about 200 miles on mine and have not had to refill yet. It has run just fine so far with the 89 octane, but I am considering trying the 91 to see if it makes any discernible difference. With premium running 14 cents a gallon more, I may just stick with the 89 long term.

    Thanks for your replys.
  • pmcb48pmcb48 Posts: 192
    Hey, Dave. My 95 Maxima also specified premium, which I used for years without really thinking about it. Once it passed 70,000 miles, I started using mid-range about a year ago, and have been using mainly 87 octane since, without a noticeable drop off in gas mileage or performance. That said, I'll probably use premium when I get my Avalon for the time being at least. It's new, Premium is recommended, and at 12,000 or so miles per year that's about 8-10 dollars per month. Maybe when it's older I might move down in grade.
    The dealer I'm getting my car from doesn't offer the Toyota extended warranty, (they sell a third-party brand), so with some Internet cruising I got a firm quote from a dealer in Massachusetts (you can buy then from any dealer in the US) for a Toyota Platinum 7yrs/100Kmiles/$0 deductible warranty for $985. I had been in discussion with Fitzgerald Toyota in MD, and they were firm at $1285, so it paid to look further.
    I have Nav and Laser cruise on my Sienna. I think the Nav is really a good deal, even if you don't travel much. It will find any address in town, with no need to reference a map, and like Hertz says, you literally will never get lost again. The laser cruise is a little bit more of a gimmick, but I still use that more than I would regular cruise, as opportunities for completely unobstructed cruising are rare here in Virginia, whereas the laser cruise will at least adapt to the surrounding traffic.
  • pmcb48,

    Thanks for your reply on my fuel question. I hadn't done the actual math on the monthly cost increase if I used the 91 octane, as opposed to 89 which runs 14 cents more per gallon here in Iowa. Based on my estimated mileage of 7,500 miles per year and @ 18 MPG, the monthly cost increase is less than $5 per month for me. Not much actually, so I may as well use the 91 for a while.

    I purchased my Toyota Platinum 6yr/75k/$0 deductible warranty from my local dealer for $900, so it looks like I should have shopped around like you did. For only $85 more you got 1yr/25k more warranty than I did. The regular price on mine was $1,200, but they had a "special" with $300 off. I thought $900 wasn't so bad for my deal, so went ahead and bought it. Based on my estimated annual mileage of 7,500, mine will be good for the entire 6 years, by which time I will probably trade any way. Based on Toyota's proven reliability, we will probably never have to use the warranty, but at least we will both have peace of mind during our ownership!

    Thanks also for your feedback on the NAV and Laser Cruise Control. I probably should have waited for a Limited to arrive at my local dealer with these options as they sound very cool. I made a deal to sell my 2001 Avalon to a local friend, so needed to buy now. Maybe next time!
  • wuzfuzwuzfuz Posts: 12
    Dave,
    I, too, am considering the purchase of an '05 Avalon Limited with the same options and color as yours. Did you look into an after-market installation of the XM radio? Others on this forum have voiced similar complaints about the installation of the XM radio antenna and wiring.
  • "Did you look into an after-market installation of the XM radio?"

    wuzfuz,

    No, I did not personally explore an after-market installation of my XM Radio. However, last year my next door neighbor had Sirius Satellite Radio installed in his 2004 Avalon via a local after-market installer here in Des Moines. He also has a black antenna on the trunk of his Avalon that is much larger than the small black box on mine.

    I also participate on a Corvette discussion board where others have had after market installations of either XM or Sirius radios. Most have hidden their antennas in the rear facia of the Corvette. That is possible since the Corvette body is made of a synthetic compound and not metal, so the signal goes through the body just fine. Others just place the antenna on their dash and say their reception is also fine.

    I don't like the looks of the small black box on my Avalon either, but can live with it as I love the XM radio so much and am willing to put up with the small distraction. I may explore having the antenna painted to match the exterior color of my Avalon, if that wouldn't affect the radio signal.
  • wuzfuzwuzfuz Posts: 12
    Thank you, Dave. I, too, had a Corvette - '67 with 2 tops. I sold it in '71 when my wife complained the apartment walls were closing in on her, and bought a house.
  • pmcb48pmcb48 Posts: 192
    That is interesting about the internal antenna installation on Corvettes. I had been pondering asking if the box could be put on the rear parcel shelf between the window and the sunshade. I wondered if the rear window glass could/would block the signal. I have a satellite dish on my chimney for DirecTV, which I use only for NFL games. Last year a tree had grown enough to block my signal, but it returned halfway through the season when the leaves fell off! So leaves will block a satellite signal and a synthetic compound won't?
  • "So leaves will block a satellite signal and a synthetic compound won't?"

    pmcb48,

    The info in my post #10 about the XM antenna placement in the rear facia of Corvette's is not from my direct knowledge, as I do not have XM on my 2004 Corvette. It is from reading about other Corvette owners on a Corvette discussion board that have done it and said it worked fine, as well as some that have placed the antenna on their dash inside the car and also indicated it worked fine. These were all owners that had aftermarket XM installations done on their C5 Corvettes (1997 - 2004 model years).

    The only other XM installation that I have experienced was on a 2002 Chevy Tahoe that had it from the factory. A black antenna was installed on the front of the roof on the passenger side directly behind the windshield. The On-Star antenna was installed on the opposite side above the driver. So I have experienced a "black box" antenna before and accepted the need for it. Many people don't like the look of it and feel that it ruins the look of the car, which it probably does. I am just willing to accept it as I really enjoy the XM radio more than I do the crappy look of the black antenna! Hopefully they will develop a more easily concealed antenna in the future.
  • I'm Russ, 50 yrs old, I have been driving my '05 XLS for about two weeks. It's got all the toys and options, Blizzard Pearl, Ivory interior. It is truly a GREAT car! I bought mine in Brunswick, GA. I found myself breaking one of my car buying rules, which is to normally buy one year old, but once I saw this car, and then drove this car, I knew there was no turning back.

    I'm 6'3" / 270lbs - I have always found it very hard to find cars that fit me, which is one of the reasons I have driven full-size trucks for a long time. This XLS fits great, front and back seats, I'd say someone bigger than I would find it very comfortable.

    My '95 XLS with 230,000 miles continues to run like a top and is now my son's car.
  • pmcb48pmcb48 Posts: 192
    I would find it very interesting and helpful to know what decision individuals made for their Avalons regarding dealer undercoating and/or rustproofing, or aftermarket versions (e.g., Ziebart) of the same. Dealers say one thing, sources like Consumer Reports say another. On a couple of cars in the past, I waffled a little and got the undercoating, even though I had my doubts about its longterm usefulness.
  • mikes.mikes. Posts: 335
    "The laser cruise is a little bit more of a gimmick, but I still use that more than I would regular cruise, as opportunities for completely unobstructed cruising are rare here in Virginia, whereas the laser cruise will at least adapt to the surrounding traffic. "

    What I've found so far with the laser cruise is that it leaves so much space between you and the car in front of you is that other cars will change lanes into the open space and you wind up going further and further back. On more open roads I find that it works well, just not in moderate traffic.

    MikeS.
  • pmcb48,

    I have never purchased the undercoating/rustproofing from either a dealer nor an after market supplier. Mainly because of what all the consumer publications have said, basically that it is not required as new vehicles already come from the factory with ample amounts of both.

    On the other hand, I have read on other forums where those that purchased the additional undercoating felt that it enhanced the quietness of their cars while driving.
  • pmcb48pmcb48 Posts: 192
    I also posed the question to driftracer, who has contributed extensively to the forum on extended warranties, and he said while he didn't go for rustproofing, he did like undercoating, as long as no more than about $100 from the dealer, as it did provide sound insulation and superficial rust protection to suspension components.

    Regarding post #16, I think it's almost impossible to leave 3 (if not 2) car lengths between your car and the car ahead without someone cutting in, laser cruise or manual, certainly not the 1 car length / 10 mph recommended!
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    Hi, My name is Ronn. I'm 46 and wanted to buy a great, sporty new 2005 Avalon for my mid-life crisis! It is Black with gray interior and is fully loaded. The only thing left is the XM Radio, which I may add. I'm still reading about the best location for the antenna as my dealer here in Va. will do it. Since the car is black, and the antenna box is black, it should not show up as much as on lighter colors.
  • heyyaheyya Posts: 1
    There were some Lexus owners that either had their Sirius satellite antennas painted by this online company called ColorMatchAntenna http://www.colormatchantenna.com/ - or maybe bought their antennas from them directly. Anyway - they posted at http://www.siriusbackstage.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20702

    and the pictures looked really good
  • agentagent Posts: 56
    Well, I seem to be the "baby" of the group at 29 years old. I am a Realtor in the Virginia Beach area of VA and NC so this car appealed to me in every way possible. My new car is an 05 Touring - Phantom Grey. I've had people stop me in the street to compliment the car. All of my fellow agents are envious; if not by the beauty of the car, then by how little I paid for it and how much they paid for their cars that just do not compare. I am one happy camper!!
  • deaniedeanie Posts: 172
    Hi All:
    I'm Dean, 36, married, two kids (3yrs & 7wks). Pearl Gray '05 XLS, graphite leather, dark wood w/VSC, JBL, mats, locks, glass breakage sensor. Previous car (now my second car) 96 Maxima SE (160k mile) engine, tranny, a/c still run like new - I hope my XLS does just as well. Reg gas in the Maxima during warm weather caused my car to start knocking/pinging after 60k miles, so I've since used prem gas w/no probs. I'll probably use premium in the XLS except during winter months just in case.

    Deanie
  • ccriderccrider Posts: 26
    Hey deanie, you happen to have some interior pics of your car? Haven't been able to see the combination interior that you have. Still trying to decide between the Phantom Gray Touring and the Phantom Gray XLS.
  • deaniedeanie Posts: 172
    Hi CC:
    Sorry, my digcam is on the fritz (software prob on my computer). HOWEVER, There are photos of the gaphite interior here on edmunds. Click on "First Drives" then click on the 2005 Avalon. There's photos of the interior of the Limited tested (has graphite - but disregard the wood steering wheel which is exclusive to Limited), and conveniently located a photo or two beneath it is a Touring interior photo (charcoal).

    By the way, has your choice been reduced to the appearance of one interior vs. the other??!? C'mon. Did you read the Cnsmr Rprts article on VSC yet? After you read it, how important can the interior appearance be? I know, to each his own. To me, safety is paramount, and avoiding an accident is infinitely better than surviving one.

    I can tell you right now, if I could transplant the Touring's charcoal/plastiluminum interior into my XLS, I'd do it because I think it looks better, but not so much as to be anything close to a determining factor. If the interior look is that important to you, go with the Touring. Personally, I think you should focus substance stuff matters (VSC + other XLS options VERSUS slightly better handling, Xenon lights & lower price (money saved is money earned). Ask yourself, what really matters to you.

    Other minor consideration: which model is easier to resell - probably XLS due to Touring's limited market appeal, which means little if you're gonna drive it for more than 5-10yrs as I will mine.

    Regards,
    Deanie
  • ccriderccrider Posts: 26
    Hey deanie. I got to see through the windows of a couple today on the lot that I think may have had the graphite interior. The top portion looked darker, then everything else (seats, steering wheel, below the wood trim all around) looked more like gray. Wasn't sure if this was the graphite interior or not. But it looks similar to the picture on the First Drive. If so, I was hoping the leather color would be alot darker. If not, I still haven't seen the graphite interior.

    I'm still leaning toward the XLS because of the safety features, but I wonder if I really need it. I've never had it before. BTW, I haven't read the article in Consumer Reports.
  • deaniedeanie Posts: 172
    Hi CC:
    You probably saw the graphite b/c the Charcoal you're familiar with in the Touring is so many shades darker than graphite. In reality, they misnamed the leather color that is "graphite" because it more closely resembles battleship gray. When I hear "graphite", I think either "black" or "pencil lead". Regarding VSC - like insurance, you may not think you need it - until you do. Then, it's your best friend.
    Regards,
    Deanie
  • paul_ppaul_p Posts: 271
    Hi, my name is Paul. I'm 43 & my wife and I live in southern New Hampshire. We just contracted to buy a 2005 Avalon XL in Blue Mirage Metallic with the Ivory interior. It should be delivered to us within the next week or two, and we can't wait!

    We're replacing my wife's 1996 Ford Contour and my 2000 Mercedes C230 with the Avalon. We love Toyotas - my 1993 Toyota Pickup will turn over 210,000 miles this weekend, and we hope for similar longevity and reliability from our new Avalon.

    I'm a former junkyard mechanic turned computer geek and then corporate technology trainer, so how things work and people are what I'm all about. My wife is learning how to deal effectively with that, as we've been married less than 2 years. No kids as of yet, but we will soon have one beautiful new addition in our garage! :D

    This seems like a very positive forum & I'm looking forward to sharing Avalon tips, tricks, and experiences with you all.

    Best regards,
    - Paul
  • rainh2orainh2o Posts: 19
    'Just did a quick tally of the ages reported in this forum. Including me, the average is 47, with a range of 28, the minimum being 29 and the maximum being 57. I'd have to say that the 29 year old is wise beyond years, and the 57 year old hasn't lost his joie de vivre!

    While this group may be relatively well seasoned, I'm 41 and have to wonder: Where are all of the old folks that are supposed to be buying the Avalon? I have to admit, though, that the first one I saw on the street was being driven by a fellow that had to be in his 70s! It was quite disappointing as I hadn't yet made the decision to purchase and was embarrassed to be talking about it to one of my workmates.

    I got over it and now have a Limited on order, which is, obviously, the most popular trim level among those of you that have posted here. So, apparently, I'm in good company!

    'Would love to see more activity on this particular board, but have a hard time imagining an Avalon owner's club. First of all, there are so few at this point, it would be difficult to get a group together in any city. Ah, well! 'Guess this will have to do!

    How about this: If you're interested in a lively discussion, tell us what your favorite feature of the new Avalon is. Thanks!
  • avalonmanavalonman Posts: 6
    Well I just read your Msg & I wanted to tell you I own an 05 limited. I am 64, live in the Long Island NY area, and have read most of the msgs. So you can update your findings for the oldest.

    This is my third Avalon - my others were 99 & 02. My sons are now enjoying them. I don't get a chance to review all thats on here often, but once in a while I catch up. I don't have much to say so I don't post much. But here I am.
  • rainh2orainh2o Posts: 19
    Thanks for responding! I was beginning to think no one would!

    You may have raised the average age a tad, but you're 2 years younger than my father, and I don't consider him to be old. Just the same, I certainly meant no offense to anyone that might read this forum. I should be more careful with my off-hand remarks.

    Besides, assuming you purchased the earlier models new, you were approximately 58 with the first and 61 with the second. Much has been speculated regarding the new Avalon and the average ages of purchasers of the previous models.

    Apparently, you've been very happy with your Avalons! How do you like your 2005 Avalon? Is it preferable to your previous models? What do you especially like about it?
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 588
    Add a 60 to the average age.. I'll be 61 when the model year changes and am waiting, for no other reason than my loaded '03 XL is a great car. If it helps any, I was 54 when I bought my first Avalon in late 1998.

    Have not seen many of the new models on the road here in Atlanta but at the dealer where I have mine serviced, almost everybody looking at the ones on the lot is under 50, some look to be as young as 25 maybe. The engine is the attraction, according to the salesmen, and they cross-shop against the Maxima a lot.
    Fred (fin)
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