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Toyota Avalon Limited vs Lexus ES 350

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  • finfin atlantaPosts: 588
    edited August 2013
    Your impressions are the same as mine and my wife. A loaded Limited Avy is too expensive relative to a Lexus, just that simple. Buy the L. Now, a lesser model may be ok for value... but not the Limited. Also, the ride in the new Avalon is different from the '05 to '12, yes, so if you expect the soft ride of days past then you will not be happy. We also did not like the reduced visibility and the firmer seats.

    The new Avalon is about the same size as a new Honda Accord inside and the trunk is also similar. The V6 Accord with Nav sells at 7.5k less than a Limited so compare cars if you would consider a Honda.

    After 15 years, 3 Avalons ('99, '04, '07) and over 300k combined trouble free miles... our '07 Limited is gone. Six years is enough, we are too old to worry about what might go wrong as we travel. But other than the recall for the oil line it was a perfect car, it gets no better. Local dealers would not negotiate as you say, the new ones apparently are expensive, or the dealers are selling them all rapidly, or both.

    Again, your experience and impressions were identical to ours.....
  • That would not have been an option, because as I stated my wife wanted options Toyota just doesn't offer. Fortunately price was not the issue, it was comfort and the options that make my wife feel safe and secure, with the emphasis on the options or as she says it has to have the specific bells and whistles she wants, or she isn't interested.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Our 03 AV with upgraded suspension is still one of my favorite cars. It does everything well. I sure don't like the new Camry's. Totally different car. Feels light and rough riding. One would think it was a different brand. Our 08 BMW528i is a totally different breed of cat. Very solid and refined but I sure wouldn't call it a fun car. For that, I'll take my Z3. Again, two very different cars.
  • poorthingflintpoorthingflint Posts: 61
    edited August 2013
    Very interesting and informative post. We have no Lexus dealer in our town but my service experience on my last Lexus was anything but stellar. Example: Took three trips to the Lexus dealer to have them finally replace "four cracked brake roters". They never did resolve a wind noise around the front of the drivers door so to be fair all dealers are not created equal. Toyota dealers may provide better service the a Lexus dealer but not provide the coddling up scale ambience. I am not so sure I would have bought a Lexus ES over my Touring sedan even if we had a local dealership. My Toyota dealer was willing to deal and allowed me to sell my trade at top retail and do a in and out showing it as a trade and handled the paper work for the nice folks that bought our car. Heck, they even ended up financing my old car for the new owners at a lower rate then their bank offered. One really smart thing Lexus did on the ES is allowing a choice in tire size for their customers. There is no doubt the best compromise between ride and handling is the 17" wheel with Michlins "properly inflated". Even my dealer had us drive a car with Bridgestones with 39-40 psi in them. Worst riding modern car I can remember. Thanks to reviews on this forum I corrected the problem and drove a Avalon with properly inflated Michlins. As you can imagine it was a totaly different car. May go to a 55' aspect tire when the original tires wear out because that may be the ultimate compromise between ride and handling for the car with the 18" wheels. Hope your new ES serves you well. Sounds like you have a eager to please dealer at least in their sales department.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Very helpful comparison review. Thank you for taking the time.
  • Dan: I too have a new 2013 Avalon Premium where the driver seat feeling like you are sitting on a hard lump. I took it to the dealer and they said everything is find. Did your dealer add extra foam to the driver seat and if so what did you show them that got them to fix it? any information you have I would appreciate. thank you susan
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I am on my 3rd, and best, Lexus LS (09, 460). If I were to drop out of the Lexus line, I had planned to drop into the Avalon. The last generation, from 05 - 12 were just brilliant, IMO. But now, almost universally, NOBODY likes their 13. How sad. Toyota is doing this far too much anymore - they have lost their perfection mojo, and seem to be either struggling, or out of focus. They have uglied up their entire lineup now with interiors that look as if they aren't even trying.
  • ctlctl Posts: 123
    edited August 2013
    No offense intended, but it is quite telling how much people would inject their own personal opinion/judgement into things...

    In July 2013, 5,569 (43,040 YTD 2013) Avalons were sold, as compared to 1,690 (18,341 YTD 2012) Avalons for July 2012. I don't own or prefer either generation, but a bit hard pressed to believe "almost universally, NOBODY likes their 13..."

    As to Lexus ES, it is 6,089 for July 2013, and 3,759 for 2012. For both, it seems the 2013 new model has been a big hit.
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    I'm sure that there are plenty of people that like and enjoy their 2013s. Having said that, the previous generations were 8 and 6 years old. The sales had no where to go but up.

    The redesigned 2005 Avalon sold over 95,000 units and another 88K in 2006. I'd be surprised if this model can beat that.

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Ok, I stated that poorly - I'm sure there are some satisfied 13 Avalon customers. But they're not posting, so you tend to focus on the unsatisfied customers. There seem to be plenty of unhappy people. Personally, I like the looks, and love the ES350...
  • My wife and I have always driven Toyota Camrys (and one Accord) over our 30+ yrs of marriage. After the last child graduated from college, we wanted to 'move up'. I guess our timing was wrong. We took the test drive, and on the short test drive, it did ride good...more acceleration, etc. So we took the plunge. This ended up like 'the new girl in town' syndrome, great first date but ho-hum after that...actually disappointing with regrets. I have never had this type of buyers regret with a car before. The ride is great on the interstate, but not on side roads. Not much better than a 2003 Camry. I suppose I had projected all the past Toyota quality and Avalon comments on past models on this one. Why would they change it so much? I usually drive a car 6-10 years, and may need some therapy (kidding) to keep this one. I was at a restaurant yesterday and passed a ES350 on the way in. I am very envious if the dash, it looks so much more 'adult' and better laid out. I am tired of the capacitive switches..and I believe the layout compromises safety. When driving in a busy situation, I don't dare try to make much changes to the a/c, etc. For example, there used to be a simple button to turn off/on the a/c. Now you have to touch in one SPECIFIC place, then find the small icon on a busy screen..which by the way...is low on the console...so you must take your eyes off the road. You used to be able to glance/feel your way to the correct controls. Never touch anywhere on the capacitive area, unless you know exactly what you want to touch. You can make multiple changes simultaneously without realizing it. Several times I suddenly had hot air blowing in my face when trying to turn up the radio. I really want a car that rides well..has Toyota abandoned this attribute altogether? I'm 55, very well coordinated, etc., so I can relearn how to approach this crazy thing. Disappointed in Toyota and myself. I've read the Toyota book on quality, "The Toyota Way", and wonder how this came from that organization. Sorry to hear this is advertised as an all-American design.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    The more I read about later models, the more inclined I am to keep our 03 Avalon. I updated the suspension on it (04 and earlier Avalon forum) and it's more fun to drive than our 08 BMW 528i. Both are great cars, but totally different breeds of cats. The Bimmer is much heavier feeling - more solid and refined - also newer, but I constantly worry about when something will cost me big time. I also do not like the newer BMW models (11 and newer). We also prefer the interior function of the Avalon. More storage etc, and of course room. No center hump. Larger back seat space. Not sure what I would buy today, but was sure impressed by the way the Cadillac ATS drove. They really got that right. Too small for travel though, as we usually haul stuff. BUT, the new CTS will probably have a take off of the ATS suspension and that may be a good candidate as the target has been BMW and they seem to have hit it. Check it out. I would love to buy American once again. This is the first time I see a reason to do so.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,511
    What size wheels do you have? If it's the 18" rim, you might see if the dealer will swap out a set of 17" wheels and tires, they'll ride smoother, especially if you go for a set of tires especially made for low noise (Michelin and Goodyear have them, I think).
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Notice how EVERYBODY is trying to match BMW? Even MB has redesigned their interiors to "resemble" BMW to some degree. Lexus admits to trying to build a "reliable BMW". So, clearly BMW is the one to watch. It's Butter. You never heard Butter say, "Gee I'd like to get as good as Margarine", have you?

    Oops, look out BMW, Audi is sneaking up your tailpipe!
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Maybe Lexus is saying 'We [non-permissible content removed] your function, but your reliability and cost of repairs sucks'. It may be that Lexus and Cadillac are sneaking up BMW's tailpipe.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    That's the goal, I've been told by my service manager. Been a Lexus owner and fan now since 96 (owned other makes continually as well though), but I'm a little troubled by some of Toyota's recent moves. Not enamored with the new design on most models - the large mouth bass look doesn't appeal to me, I think the new Camry is much uglier than the previous, with a disjointed - committee designed - theme that makes it look like they didn't even try, inside or out. Yet, they drive great still. I was hoping Toyota would stay consistent and not fall into the GM trap of being the world's biggest, therefore the world's most complacent manufacturer.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    I agree. And, we do not like the new Camry - agree on the design, but the bigger factor for us, it feels light and the ride at lower speeds ia anything but smooth and refined. Maybe the V6 is better, but I thought I was driven a gen past Sonata. My wife loves our 08 528i, but I'm not sure I would buy another. No problems yet @ 52k, but it just went out of warranty. The first time it costs me big bucks, it's history. Maybe a Lexus GS or the new CTS would work. After they lose a couple of years depreciation. I will never buy new again. Let someone else take the big hit first.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 588
    Speaking of Camry.... we were recently in the Toronto/Buffalo area and rented a Camry 4 cylinder for a week. This car rode better than the 2013 Avalon Limited (to me), very smooth and powerful enough to run on the QEW (freeway) with the traffic. They drive fast but relatively safe up that way compared to Atlanta, much more polite. What a surprise... this is no luxury car, just a basic rental and yes, it is not pretty. But it works and the rental agency has a fleet of 50% Camrys due to great reliability. Hope the new Avalons are as reliable for all who have them...
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,511
    Was that Camry an SE? Edmunds had one of those for a long term test, liked it a lot overall.
  • The entry-level Camry, Accord and Sonata (I rented Sonatas from Avis in May, in Toronto and DC) are very good cars and offer fantastic value for the money. Once you get them outfitted comparably to an Avalon, though, you're in the $30K range, not $18K (a bit more to upgrade to an Azera if you want to go that route) and the value proposition becomes less attractive.

    Apart from growing ever older and more crotchety (my wife calls me Judge Mental), at 6'2", I'm finding the size and comfort of the driver's seat and ease of entry to be important. The jury's still out for me WRT the new Avalon, more because of the height than the ride; I'm waiting to see next year's Accord (non-plug-in) hybrid. If not for the size and room in the driver's seat, the older Camry Hybrid would have done the trick.

    Meanwhile, the RAV4 V6 Sport has plenty of room (and power!), but compared to any Avalon or even an RX350, it's noisy and not very smooth. The seat is smaller than I'd like, but stepping down to get out is an advantage.

    YMMV
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