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Toyota Avalon Limited vs Lexus ES 350

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  • jpm1908jpm1908 Posts: 17
    My experience was the same, I went with the 08 Avalon Limited based on interior room. I also liked the dash layout more than that on the ES. My only mild beefs is are the so-so gas mileage (and the too small tank) and the semi-cheesy grey dashboard plastic.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    "I want to take friends and clients out without apolgizing for the accomodations."

    Apologize that they have to duck their heads a bit to ride in a Lexus? If that was a problem for them, I guess I wouldn't want them in my car. Tell ya what. I discovered long ago that I paid for what I like to drive. If someone is riding in my back seat, I'm doing them a favor by hauling their butt around. If they have to duck their head a bit to get in, and that's unacceptable, they are welcome to drive themselves. The payments come out of my pockets, not theirs. After all, theirs is a very temporary situation. I live with it every day, and there are more than enough compromises in this world than to worry whether someone really likes my back seat. I'm not out to impress someone I may barely know. That being said, I can understand where someone using the vehicle for business, like a realtor, may consider these things.
  • I bought my first new car when the ES 350 first came out and I was down to the wire between it and the Avalon. While I was mulling this over and test driving everything again and again while sitting at stop lights I started noticing that those who drove the Avalon were, uh, a bit older than I (I am 50). In my area of Maryland it seems that many of the Avalon drivers fit the over 60 crowd. The nail in the coffin for Avalon occurred when I told my 21 year old car buff son what I was considering and he was adamant that his mom was not ready to join the blue hair set! It made me howl with laughter but more importantly brought to the surface what a tough job these car designers have with the myriad of factors that come into play when one buys a car. BTW, I love my ES 350, especially the heated and ventilated seats, but will probably turn it in when the lease is up and buy a hybrid of some kind.
  • a1s1a1a1s1a1 Posts: 20
    "Perception" is the most important thing which makes a commodoity (Lexus ES in this case) more desirable and hence worthy to own by the ones who can afford it. What makes us percieve things in a particular way is a complex interaction of prestige/styling/worthiness/reliability/fit/finish/after sales service etc.

    Whether the ES shares 20% or 100% parts with avalon really doesn't matter as their personalities and the statement they made are completely different.

    Trying to debate and rationalize why you didn't get the ES but instead got the avalon or camry is like saying that the 30 dollar shoe that you got from K Mart last weekend is almost as good as the expensive Allen Ed. or johnston murphy. Heck! both are made in China too

    Obviously, each of us have a very different perception of cars which keeps the forums like this alive but in general and for the most part a Lexus is a Lexus, whereas a toyota is a toyota nationally and globally! Which concludes my point that an average car buyer doesn't really care how many parts or attributes these cars share but more importantly how each of this car is percieved by them and others who see them in their rides.

    Sounds very superficial! Well unfortunately that is how it is. Enjoy your ride whatever you drive or whatever you can afford to drive.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Yes, to each his own. I can afford to buy about any car I want, but I bought my Avalon strictly on price and the fact that it was a good car and a Toyota. Then proceeded to make it what I wanted. Drives and looks much better now. We prefer sporty. Loved the new/old VW CC, but the ES350 should be coming off lease soon and I will be in line. The CC may be next, but don't trust European reliability.

    I passed on an 07 ES350 with low miles and loaded. Asking price was $24k with a list in the mid 40's. I'm thinkin I screwed up. No sales tax either. A Boxster is still in my heart though. I have a 90 Lexus LS400 with under 60k that drives like new, but rarely gets driven. I keep thinking I should sell it and get my Boxster, but then again, I think "Where could I ever get this much car again for that price?" Can't keep em both as both garages are full now. Decisions, decisions. I usually let the $$ decide. A big new fancy piece of depreciation just isn't worth it to me. Personal choice. Rather see an investment grow, but then, that ain't happenin either.
  • lexpaullexpaul Posts: 40
    I guess I couldn't have expressed my feeling any better than you. You summed it up for me really well. Perception is indeed the key issue here, but IMO and I drove the Avalon Limited before deciding on the ES 350 Level III, is that Lexus is a better built car and it does come with a more should I say prestigious, luxurious and upscale demeanor. Lexus carries a well earned badge of a high value car.

    The overall experience of owning a Lexus from dealership pampering and high grade/quality fit and finish places the car in a different class than the Avalon. I know I'm saying the same things you are but maybe in a different 'way'. I do believe you get what you pay for most of the time.

    However, the Avalon was rated the best large size car in its class by US News Car Rankings and I believe its a great car but just not in the same class as a Lexus and I have never seen it rated in the same category/class as a Lexus. And that's my 'perception'.... :shades:
  • I recently cross shopped Avalon, ES350, Camry, and several other competitors and settled on Avalon Limited. All are very nice but, compared to ES350, Avalon is a true 5 passenger car with a flat floor in the back seat. It also has way more head room in back. I am 6'2'' and was unable sit in any of the back seat positions in the ES350. The rear center position in the ES350 is of little value for most situations. For the cars I tested, the Avalon had considerably less vibration, too. I also like that Avalon's manual calls for 87 octane. I ruled out Camry because even the top line leather interior had a short driver's seat that lacked thigh support for me.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    No regular for the ES350? Or is it that they don't state it? I thought that they used the same engine. At any rate, the computer should adjust to the lower octane. I burn regular in our 03 AV when out of the ethanol states. No problem, and get up to 31 MPG running 80. I just saw a Kia ad crowing about 32 MPG for a cracker box. Big deal. Unless that was a combined number.
  • mano3mano3 Posts: 8
    The issue of perception is both on the money and off target as it specifically relates to the Avalon Lexus 350 issue.

    Perception may or may not have a basis in reality. In this matter, the reality is that the Avalon and the 350 have a lot in common, starting with the engine. My next door neighbor has a 2008 350 and I'm surprised at the similarities between it and my 2007 Avalon Ltd. Surprisingly, my car has perforated/heated/cooled front seats and hers doesn't, but that's because she didn't order that with hers.

    Nevertheless, my perception is that her Lexus is a luxury car and my Toyota is not. To me, Toyota is not a luxury car maker, but Lexus is, even though the Avalon Ltd. has some luxury engineering and details. My perception is that her car is more quiet and has a more luxury feel. The reality that the Avalon has so much in common with the Lexus gives me a greater sense of perceived value. Yet, I can see why Lexus charges and gets a premium for their cars.

    a1s1a1, I'm a shoe guy. Allen Edmonds is made in the USA and is a very well crafted shoe. Johnston Murphy is made in various places overseas, but is also well made, albeit not up the the AE standards. There's no comparison between either and a KMart shoe, which is poorly made, regardless of where it's made.
  • jsier29jsier29 Posts: 1
    Can a XM radio kit be safely purchase on Ebay ?
    if so does it have to be instal by the Dealer who charges a arm and a leg or can a regular radio shop instal it as well
    will appreciate a answer to my question
    thanks JSIER 29
  • I perceive you as yuppie scum and an idiot.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    "I perceive you as yuppie scum and an idiot."

    Now that wasn't nice was it? The man was just stating an opinion. He is entitled to that. We all go through different phases in life. Sometimes we put too much value on how others perceive us. I always told our kids that if someone judges you by what brand clothes you wear, you probably don't want to know them anyway. How many jocks end up being quite average with a big beer gut? How many nerds end up being big successes?

    I always felt that if one needs to be pampered and catered to, there may be something else of major importance missing. Do we all feel some inferiority deep inside as we try to find out who we are and where real value lies? There is a book titled The Millionaire Next Door that describes those who are self made millionaires. They live a modest life and know who they are. Most would never know what they have.

    Others need to flaunt it so everyone can see. But far too many do it with credit, leased cars and finances stretched to the limit. Apparently, they feel the need for approval from others. Some need the image for their job, or feel that they do. We all eventually settle into a 'comfort zone'. Maybe it depends how we got to where are. If you grew up with everything, that's probably where you think you should be. If you had to work your way up to that level, you may see things quite differently.

    Now, about them shoes. Kmart sells $30 shoes? Wow, I gotta save up and git me some of those. ;-) I paid $7 for mine. They have these neat little velcro straps that make them easy to slip on and off. I wear them almost daily around home as my 'work' shoes and treat them with no respect. They are a flimsy piece of crap. They are also over 5 years old and my toes peek out the holes in the front. I'm proud of them lil buggers. They have no right to still be around. The point is, even products like this can serve their purpose. Would they fit at the country club. Oh heavens no. But on the other hand, I never go there. My cars never go to the dealer either. I don't need his prices or pampering, and they rarely fail. I have never been treated disrespectfully for wearing my grub clothes and shoes into a store as most people can see past that. No, I don't live in Beverly Hills where they probably would look down their noses, but I guess I would never feel comfortable there anyway. My value is in my friends who accept me for who I am and not where I have membership or by what I drive. Nothing to prove and no one wants proof. I like it that way. But it's all personal choice. If you choose to pay the price to be pampered, go for it. It's your dollar.
  • When I bought my 2000 Avalon XLS, in December 1999, it was because the new Acura TL I ordered didn't allow me to get comfortable in the front seat (6'2", 200 lb at the time). I went across the street to buy a new ES 300 and found the cabin similarly tight, but there was/is a *lot* more room in the front seat of the Avalon. It just turned 120,000 miles, and I'll be replacing it soon. (BTW, to overcome the marshmallow ride and sloppy handling, I replaced the original shocks with KYB's, upgraded the tires to 225/55 x 16 W-rated Conti's, and upgraded the brake pads and suspension bushings: *big* difference: the ride is still smooth but handling is much improved.)

    Put a bid on a very low mileage 2007 Avalon Limited yesterday. My $0.02: The exterior dimensions are larger than I'd like, but again: more room in all seats. With all the extra equipment, the new Avalon also seems nearly as, well, "fru-fru" as the ES, but the ride and routine handling are really good, and the only option lacking is the backup camera.

    Also, I do like the exterior design of the ES better, and the quality of interior materials is higher, as is the build quality. On the other hand, I seem to do better if my clients don't think they're paying for my Lexus.

    As for old people, I've seen plenty of blue hairs driving ES350's, and I did have that concern when I bought the 2000 XLS; however, now I'm 12 years older and don't care anymore.

    PS: I also drove a new Hyndai Genesis yesterday. Nice car, lots of features, great warranty, good value... but my wife and I got into the old Avalon to go home and wondered, "Why are we getting rid of this car? It rides a lot better than the Genesis." The answer, of course, is that at this mileage point, a lot of components (like O2 sensors) need to be replaced, and the law of diminishing returns set in last year or the year before.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Ah yes, the same suspension upgrade we did on our 03. Love it. Purrs like a kitten, handles great and fun to drive. Someone who had had the various said the 03 are the best. Can't argue with that. We too considered upgrading. We too thought the newer AV is too big. I'm thinkin a target of 200k or until something falls into my lap.
    We're at 96k and just made the trip from MN to AZ. Dust and wind really bad. We had 60 MPH headwind gusts way before we hit Tucumcari NM, then a dust storm around Deming and a snowstorm on I-10. Full load, 80+ MPH, still got 26 MPG. Car handled it just fine with the heavy duty suspension I had put on it.

    Dust and wind really bad. We had 60 MPH headwind gusts way before we hit Tucumcari NM the day before and it had not subsided. Full load, 80+ MPH, still got 26 MPG. Car handled it just fine with the heavy duty suspension I had put on it.

    If you consider your tax, license, insurance, depreciation etc. you can pay for anything that may go wrong.

    I agree on the Hyundai. Suspension not refined yet. Prefer to drive the AV, as is the case with most I try out. Kinda fits like an old glove.
  • Here is my comparison of the two vehicles. the ES-350 costs considerably more, has considerably less interior room, and premium fuel is recommended for the ES-350.

    How much is "I drive a Lexus" worth? Not very much to me!
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    So, what is the difference between the Avalon and ES350 engines? Any more power in the Lexus? If not, why must you burn premium? I burn regular in my 03 AV.
  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    Before the holiday, I went car shopping. We have an 06 Limited and my wife loves it. So I first looked at older Avalon (for lower cost). Checked out a couple 2000, they drove ok (XLS) but felt a little dated. However, the disappointment came from "closing the door". I noticed once I closed the driver side door, the roof "pop", "move" whatever you called. I went outside, closed the door again, I could still see the roof "pop" a little.

    Once I got back to the 06, I checked the roof, didn't "pop". Seems more solid. Not to mention the nice solid sound on closing the door (any door).

    So last week I went to Lexus, checked out some older (2002-2004) ES. High quality inside, well built. You can tell, great leather, feel solid when closing the door. BUT they are smaller :( We have 2 kids with car seat and booster so back seat is important. The ES just doesn't have good backseat space.

    Then I saw an 05 Limited on the same lot. The ES has 45K miles and the Avalon has 78K and both priced very close. I picked the Avalon instead :)
    In term of feature, Limited has DVD NAV, start button, heated/cooled seat, real sunshade, HID, use regular fuel, has more HP. And more space from the rear seat. So the choice is easy and now we have a silver 06 and dark red 05 both limited :)

    You really can't go wrong with the Avalon
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    PS: I also drove a new Hyndai Genesis yesterday. Nice car, lots of features, great warranty, good value... but my wife and I got into the old Avalon to go home and wondered, "Why are we getting rid of this car? It rides a lot better than the Genesis."

    If you like the Avalon/ES350 ride do not buy the Genesis. I went from an Avalon to the Genesis and hate the ride, it is very "unsettled" and firm.

    As for comparing the Avalon to the ES. They are both so similar IMO if you like the extra room go for the Avalon , if you want something smaller the ES is a hell of a car too.

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

  • You are asking questions I do not have answers for. I drive an Avalon also.

    The ES-350 owners manual says 93 octane recommended. That is premium.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,582
    "Recommended" means there's some drop in performance or economy or both, but you can use it. Same words in my ES300's manual, I've used regular for 15 years with no problems. The Av and ES350 engines are practically identical, the ES might have mapping allowing more hp with premium, or it may just be identical.
  • So let me understand this. You spend the extra money to buy a "luxury" Lexus, and although the owners manual recommends premium fuel (obviously put in the manual for a reason), you buy regular gas to save a few cents per gallon, allowing maximum performance and economy to be compromised.

    It is indeed a strange conundrum!
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,876
    edited January 2011
    I would also be wary of taking the word "recommended" too lightly. They can't force you to follow instructions printed in the owner's manual. There are bound to be other "recommendations" in there, like belt changes, oil changes, tire rotations, etc. So, sure... they recommend that you change the oil, say, every 5,000 miles. Can you wait & change it only every 8,000 miles, just because the 5,000 miles is only a recommendation? Sure. Have at it. It's your car.

    Not sure I get this one either - If my math is correct, a person driving the average 12,000 per year with a $0.20 charge per gallon for premium (over regular) gas would incur a total annual additional cost of $120.00, assuming the vehicle gets only 20 MPG.
    12,000 miles / 20 MPG = 600 gallons per year x $0.20 = $120.00

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  • texasestexases Posts: 5,582
    edited January 2011
    I'll explain in more detail: Toyota uses identical V6s in the Camry, Avalon, and ES models. This includes compression ratio, the key determinant in fuel requirements. IN THIS SITUATION, using premium might slightly increase fuel economy or add a couple of hp. I tested this by comparing economy with premium and regular, found no noticable difference, so I use regular.

    In fuel requirements, manufacturers have for years used "required" for those engines that must have premium.
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    I know we have discussed this elsewhere in the forums, but here it goes. The Avalon and the Lexus ES350 use the exact same engine (Toyota 2GR V6) the Avalon is rated at 268HP and specs regular gas and notes in the manual "for exhanced performance" to use premium.

    The Lexus OTOH is rated at 272HP and specs out using premium gas to obtain that number.

    I ran plain old 87 in my 06 Avalon and never had any problem whatsoever. If I had an ES350 I wouldn't hesitate to put in regular. The computer will adjust for it anyway.

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

  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    I don't think day to day driving will show the different between premium or regular. Unless you have a dino test which might show a few HP gain with premium.

    Just use whatever you are comfortable with :)
  • I usually put premium gas in the 2000 Avalon. There doesn't seem to be any problem with regular, but it *feels* more powerful and, more to the point, seems to get slightly better mileage, with premium. Of course, I can't measure the psychological factor, so, IMO, it's a wash as far as cost goes.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    "The Avalon and the Lexus ES350 use the exact same engine"

    Ummm, I think they call that marketing. The customer needs to feel that they are getting something more with the Lexus.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    "it *feels* more powerful and, more to the point, seems to get slightly better mileage, with premium"

    Anyone want to calculate the feel good factor? Twenty cents more per gallon for premium vs 2-3 more MPG? I'm thinkin it doesn't balance out. I burn regular unless mid grade with ethanol is the same price, but then you get less MPG with ethanol. Another wash?
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Nah, common sense. He pays extra for the luxury, then regains a smidgen of that on fuel and still has the luxury. OK, so it probably doesn't calculate, but of course resale would also have to be part of the calculation, and if you go that far, then include the costs for insurance, license, shop rate etc.

    Bottom line, buy what's a fit for you and forget it.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 588
    edited January 2011
    Now on my third Avalon, one from each generation... Here is a repost on mileage, etc: All Avalons will run on regular 87 octane, or better, gas. Ethanol at 10% added means nothing. They run just fine if they are an otherwise good engine.

    That said, my experience has been that gas mileage will improve 5% or more by moving up to mid-grade 89 octane from 87. That's 15 cents you can spend if 87 octane is 3 bucks a gallon and you enjoy a little better overall performance from the engine. Moving up to premium adds nothing to the mileage and would appear to be a waste of money. This has been true of all generations of Avalon, all engines, I have done this repeatedly, city and highway, and always get similar results.

    As for power production, premium will actually feel different if you usually burn 87 octane. Empty the tank and fill up with 91 or higher. There is a slight difference in straight line maximum acceleration. Not enough for me to pay the extra, 89 is ok, but if you want to pay for it...it's there.

    Enjoy the Avalons all...great cars.... :)
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