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Acura TL vs. Toyota Avalon

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  • Both the TL and the Avalon are well-put together cars, with somewhat different missions. The Avalon prioritizes a more comfortable ride vs. handling and road feel while the TL is the opposite. Both have great interiors.

    IMHO, the exterior of the Avalon is butt-ugly and I couldn't get past it. I would be ashamed to be seen in such an outdated-upon-inception car. I put it in the same "what were they thinking?" category as the Buick LaCrosse. This of course is a subjective point of view, but had the Avalon been a looker, I probably would have bought it.

    I just bought an 05 TL at a great year-end price ($30.1M including dest. and mudflaps) and so far it's a great car.
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    LOL, looks of a car is very subjective, I think the Avalon is a great looking car, and my wife hated it's looks, insided and out. The only problem I had with the Avalon is it's size, just too big. I was, however, stunned how fast the car is.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    I agree the Avy is too big. It looks OK from the rear. But from any other angle, the look is way conservative and bland. Interior is not sporty. Should be in a Buick.
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    Yes the rear looks great. The term Avalon and sporty is an oxymoran :P
  • As mentioned previously I had an 04 TL for 18 months and now have had an 06 Avy for 3 weeks or so. Personally I like the way they both look but I still probably prefer the TL in the looks category. However, I have already received more compliments regarding "nice car, etc." from people I don't know in three weeks with the Avy, then I received in 18 months with the TL. Both were white. I'm not commenting on why this may be but I found it somewhat surprising.
  • jt7jt7 Posts: 6
    Have enjoyed reading the heated debates and will cautiously add my 2 bits worth.

    1. Have owned a 2003 Acura TL Type-S Navi (rear ended sold)
    2. Have owned a 2004 Acura TL A spec (sold)
    3. Own a 2005 Toyota Avalon Ltd.

    All were fun cars with different personalities- but all were compromises and none are perfect. Bottom line on the Avalon- quick, comfy, and solid build. Bottom line on the Acura TL (2004)- quick, sporty and solid build. It seems to me that you are deciding between sport and comfort(I am not saying the TL was not comfortable but the scales were more towards sport suspensions vs. luxury suspension). Again, all are compromises and neither are perfect. BTW, the Avalon is my wife's car and the TL used to be my car. I loved 4 door sport sedans and in the end the TL A-Spec was not enough for me. I upped the anti to a 2005 Audi S4- much faster, sportier and etc... (still a compromise when you compare it to other cars in its class). Once again, there is no perfect car just a perfect fit and I wish all weighing these 2 great cars good luck and happy shopping! :shades:
  • I looked at both cars along with the G35, 3 series, Maxima and I went with the Avalon. I commute an hour one way to work, so comfort was the supreme consideration. Also, the service costs on the G35 were rediculous ($300 for 15k, $600 for 30K according to dealer). The 3 series and the G35 just weren't comfy enough and I hit my head on the headliner in the Maxima. So, I got the limited with NAV, laser cruise, and VSC and traction control. Couldn't be happier. 30-31 mpg highway, 26-28 mpg in rush hour traffic commute.
  • I have always liked the Audi S4-but I hear too many complaints about Audi's reliabilty.

    My question to you is- is it MUCH faster than the TL, automatic for automatic, manual for manual?

    I am leaning towards a manual car for my next purchase but my wife is giving me a hard time.
  • jt7jt7 Posts: 6
    My 03TL type S (automatic) was maybe 10% slower than my 04 (manual) A Spec TL.

    If you are asking how much faster my Audi S4 (4.2 V8- manual) is compared to the 04 Acura- TL (a spec) it is not even close. Seriously, go test drive one and all questions will be answered. As for reliability, consumer reports now recommends this Audi and it is rated top in it's class. I now have 9k miles on the car and never had an ounce of trouble.

    Link for research:

    http://motortrend.com/roadtests/sedan/112_0308_sport/index6.html

    http://motortrend.com/features/performance/112_0403_tuner/index1.html

    Also, the torque on the S4 is unbelievable. You can be in 6th gear at 40 and step on the gas and the car pulls harder than you could ever imagine- down shift and you had better hold on.

    Again, all cars are compromises and I am sure there are better cars depending on how you measure them. For me, the Audi S4 was perfect for a sports sedan. The Avalon LTD was perfect for my wife (quick and comfy down the Hwy.)

    Hope this was helpful-
    :shades:
  • Thanks for the info.

    I am going to check out the manual S4 to see what it is about, I actually test drove a A4 3.0 couple of years ago-It was okay, nothing to go bragging about.

    I was waching "Fast and Furious" over the weekend and it reinforced my decision to buy a manual transmission on my next purchase.:)
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    The one problem with a manual tranny 4-door is no one wants them on the resale market, unless it's an M5. :cry:
  • By far I believe that the Avalon is the best car for the money. It has all the features of the TL and more. It has cooled seats which neither the RL or TL have. It is roomy, comfortable, and rides smooth and is good on gas. However, I do not like how the dashboard looks. I think the silver buttons look old fashion. I really like the look of the RL and TL's dashboard better. I like the TL the best from the outside. But the TL's ride is to bumpy. I am going to buy the RL because I don't like the dashboard of the Avalon and I don't like the bumpiness of the TL. I wish I could change the Avalon or TL to buy the cheaper cars.

    By the way I currently own a 1998 Avalon and a 2003 MDX. Will be selling the Avalon, once I get the new RL. I know I should keep the Avalon, but my husband and I have new car fever. :)
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    at the risk of getting delmar1's dander up again:
    had the opportunity over the last several weeks to drive both the TL and a 530 for a period of several days each while out of town. I own an Av Touring. The Av is unequivocably a luxury car and should not be confused with the term 'sports sedan'. Although the power is similar for all three, the Av is softer and quieter - much more like a Lexus. The 530 is a wonderfully balanced driver's car - a sports sedan by any definition - BMW did, after all, invent the term. The TL has a problem in that it trys hard to emulate what BMW does so well, similar issues with road noise and harshness (part of the sacrifices made on all 'sports' cars), but still with some nasty torque steer under throttle (delmar - this was an '05) and understeer at cornering limits. The Av, of course, suffers from the same maladies but, at least the TS is masked by a much softer suspension setup. Bottom line is that there is no way any FWD vehicle with 60%+ of its weight up front and a lot of HP will ever be a credible sports sedan. Better to take the Av approach and don't pretend to be what the laws of physics say it cannot be. The Av and TL are really much different cars, in concept - and on the road.
    Did, by the way, find the TL a really fun car to drive and it did impress with with its overall fit/finish - but a G/M35, 530, or E350 it ain't. The whole experience served to reinforce my choice of the Av, given that I'm not willing to trade off too much of that quiet ride and smoothness for something a little more competent when driven hard.
  • delmar1delmar1 Posts: 744
    Wow....I am getting singled out by name! My past comments in the past were where others have unfairly beat up the TL.

    Let me say that it is unfair to compare the $50k BMW 530 to a $33k TL. Totally different class vehicles. A $50k car that more comparable to a Lexus GS, Jaguar S Type, or Acura RL. If you should go to the Acura site....the TL doesn't even try to compare itself to a BMW 530.

    What really interests me is that you indicate that "The Av, of course, suffers from the same maladies but, at least the TS is masked by a much softer suspension setup." I don't understand how you can beat up the TL for torque steer then immediately say that the Avalon has torque steer also but has a soft suspension. I don't understand how a soft suspension would counteract torque steer.

    I do respect your views and once again I do respect the Avalon. However...it is unfair to compare TL to 530....cars from different classes. That is like comparing the Avalon to a Jetta.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    the 530 was used simply because I had the opportunity to drive one a few days and it is what a sports sedan should be - however overpriced . In the $30K category, the G35 is a true sports sedan - but not the Av and the TL. As far as that dreaded torque steer is concerned, all FWD cars (esp. those with some HP) will suffer from it - the TL is certainly set up much tighter than the Av so therefore the TL driver will feel everything (TS incl.) to a greater extent. Of course, the Av has TS, it must (that laws of physics thing again) - what I said was it is ' masked' by the softer suspension - meaning you just don't feel it.
    Detectable by most folks, by the way, accelerating hard out of a corner, the steering will tug (sometimes not so gently) in the same direction of the turn. Maximas and Saabs have had the problems for years, the TL quite a bit better, the Av almost undetectable. But the point, of my post - neither the TL or the Av are really sports sedans and won't ever be until the drive wheels move to the rear and weight distribution improves.
  • delmar1delmar1 Posts: 744
    Thanks for the clearification....which is fair. I am in agreement with your latest post that all FWD cars have torque steer and not isolated to the TL (which many seem to villify as the only car in the universe when that is not true by law of physics). I have driven both FWD and RWD...and the TL has done a nice job in mitigating the issue. Definitely an improvement over the Maxima and Saabs as you mentioned.

    Hope you don't take this with exception. Where I am at with the 'masked' softer suspension is that it would reduce the ability to control torque steer. If you cannot sense it or compensate with suspension / road handling...then you have another issue on your hands. But that is my two cents and my preferences...which everyone is entitled to with respect.

    And I am ok with your use of the 530 as a pure sports sedan...and over priced $50k+ one.

    My thoughts.... The Avalon is a great near luxury (san sports which it does not attempt to be...except when folks try to use the horsepower argument) vehicle. The TL and G35 are great luxury-sports vehicles. And all very well priced for what you get!
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    GM made a pretty decent large sedan in the mid 90's, 3.8 205 HP FWD called them things like LeSabres, 88s and 98's, also softly sprung and never heard anybody say anything about TS issues. Now they have the Grand Prix/Impala SS more tightly suspended with a 300 HP V8 again thru the front wheels. From what I've read these cars are a real TS handful - perhaps even to the point of being dangerous.
    Suspension geometries and tunings that are 'soft' enough to hide TS will by definition also hide some road feel. The Av, even in Touring trim, has less road feel and lower handling limits than the TL, but, that is the price you pay for the Av's smoother and quieter ride. Kind of whatever floats your boat - Consumer Reports has them both rated at the same very high number in a 'luxury sedan' category, ahead of several cars at $50k+, considering I guess the repair histories/costs and the real values that the $30k+ Avs and TL's are - over the superior dynamics of the 530's/A6s etc..
  • delmar1delmar1 Posts: 744
    Captain2....I am absolutely in agreement with you.... Really difficult to beat the what you get for the price of the Avs and TLs (I am personally brand loyal to Acuras...I am on my fifth. Had a '83 Camry...fond memories). We'll be both enjoying our respective cars for years to come.
  • I recently purchased the 2006 Avalon Touring. Overall, a great value and awesome car. I am 6' tall and there is plenty of room up front and even more in the back seat. While I do miss the rear wheel drive performance of my '03 Lincoln LS, there's nothing else missing in the Avalon.

    I was forced into driving my mother-in-law's '04 TL for a few weeks. It's a good looking car, but far from comfortable. Stiff suspension, awkward getting into and out of, really a pain in the a.. in general. The BlueTooth key fob also drove me insane by automatically adjusting the seat. I guess as a "visitor" I shouldn't complain. I was far more impressed by the '03 design - much more room and comfort.
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,591
    Congrats on the Avalon. Best car for you, no doubt. And as far as your opinon on the TL, totally correct for you. However, I think you'd be hard pressed to find owners/reviewers who think that the prior verion of the TL is superior in any way to the '04 redesign! My father had an '03 and broke his lease early to lease an '05 he was so smitten with the new design! I guess that's what happens when you go with your heart instead of your head (or wallet)!

    Enjoy the Avalon!

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

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