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Toyota Avalon Navigation System



  • larrymitlarrymit Posts: 80
    After reading all the comments on the usability of the Avalon nav system, I decided to give it a try myself at the local dealer.

    I have a 2004 Camry Solara with the touch screen nav. It works well and is relatively easy to program.

    The Avalon system seems to be based on the same software as the Camry system. The menus are the same. The only real difference is that you must highlight a choice with a joystick and press a button on the Avalon, rather than touch the screen as on the Camry. The Camry is easier to use, but the Avalon is not that much more difficult. I suspect that people who find the joystick interface unusable are (no offense) less coordinated or less familiar with non-keyboard interfaces. On the positive side, the nav screen is not smudged with fingerprints, which sometimes obscure the view. Given the configuration of the Avalon instrument panel, the nav screen would be a long reach for a touch screen, which is probably why this control interface was chosen.

    I made no attempt to test the voice recognition functions, so I can't comment on that.

    The database did include the street my home is on. The two year old database in my Camry does not.

    I've never had the problems with my Camry nav taking me on long circuitous (sp?) routes, so I would be surprised if the Avalon did so. There are options for preferred road types, etc. Perhaps people with such problems should check and see if any of these options have been changed from the defaults.

    I began the test expecting the worst. I didn't find the problems to be nearly as terrible as described by some here. I will give it a more thorough test before deciding whether to buy the Avalon nav, but, at this point, I'm inclined to buy it.
  • niteoneniteone Posts: 41
    correct, it really isn't that bad, but for somewhere around $1900.00, you should expect something along the lines of the Pioneer AVIC-Z1, which has it's own built in hard drive, and it's a much better Nav and music device for around $1500.00.
  • bobwileybobwiley Posts: 241
    larrymit: Our points are that the Avy's Navy System is an antiquated system in a $35K car and that is inexcusable. Toyita uses the same 3.5 V6 in the Lexus, Camry and Avy--same 6 speed tranny--seems reasonable to use the same Touch Screen Nav System. Much easier to "wipe off" finger prints on the screen than constantly having to cancel out an entry due to a "fat finger" mistake. All I can say is---I wish I'd saved the $1,900 and bought a $800-$900 Garmin that works better and is more accurate. First test at the dealer--see if it can locate your home--ours has been here almost 30 years--can't find it or the main road leading to it--duh?!! My buddy's kids gave him an $800 portable garmin---AWESOME--use in the car, boat etc----BEST DEAL!

  • larrymitlarrymit Posts: 80
    No arguments here. My point is basically: Try before you buy. See if you like the system before putting out the money. Some like the looks and convenience of a built-in system, even if it is a little less capable than an add-on system you have to stick to the windshield. (A recent issue of Consumer Reports tested navigation systems. While cheaper than OEM systems, they had drawbacks and few had the large screens of an OEM system.)

    Incidentally, not long after we bought our 2004 Solara, Toyota recalled the nav DVD "because it wasn't up to Toyota's standards for accuracy." If enough Avalon owners complain to Toyota about the inaccuracy of their nav, perhaps Toyota will replace the DVD at no cost too.
  • niteoneniteone Posts: 41
    "(A recent issue of Consumer Reports tested navigation systems. While cheaper than OEM systems, they had drawbacks and few had the large screens of an OEM system.)"

    did they test a Pioneer AVIC Z-1? Cause that's one good system. I purchased one for my 2003 Explorer, it's an in-dash unit that replaces the oem headunit, with a 7 inch screen, build in 30 gig harddrive, 10 gig for music that you store on it, 20 gig for the Nav maps. It's one very good aftermarket system.

    I thought about replacing the OEM Nav on my 2006 XLS Avalon, but I'll live with what I got on the Avalon. I just wish that maybe Toyota would take into account what aftermarket Nav system have and do, and at least have the same or better capabilities in their system.
  • larrymitlarrymit Posts: 80
    No, they didn't test any Pioneer systems. The most expensive system they tested was a Clarion Nice @ $1200. None were built-in systems.

    See Consumer Reports though you'll need a username and password to see the ratings.
  • larrymitlarrymit Posts: 80
    Buick includes two updates with their touchscreen navigation system in the Lucerne. I wish Toyota did this as updates are $200-$300 each.
  • jrjhmjrjhm Posts: 26
    As far as I know, the Lucerne doesn't have a navigation screen.
  • larrymitlarrymit Posts: 80
    Yes it does. A touch-screen nav is an option. I drove a demonstrator with one the other day.
  • jrjhmjrjhm Posts: 26
    I didn't know that. All the info I've read indicated it was strictly voice operated.
  • neil5neil5 Posts: 118
    I have doscussed with friend that has Limited AV with NAV like myself. The NAV is set for highway setting at default, therefore it often will take you out of the way and appears strange at times. If you amend the route to quickest or fastest route it will give you the smaller less traveled routes and will work efficiently...I have re-read the manual and it also states guys be careful once programming a destination set it to fastest or shortest route and you will be fine!!!!
  • dclkdclk Posts: 8
    early 30's, long time toyota driver/supporter, very critical person here,
    been a while since i've visited the forums but if i may i'd like to share a few points:
    OEM car audio/visual products rarely have as many features or are as user friendly as after market (pioneer, alpine, etc) products. for the after market folks, the a/v product is their bread and butter; for the auto makers the a/v is just something to help try and push their primary product (the vehicle), thus the R&D isn't as great. That's also part of reason why OEM a/v systems lag behind on offering features like mp3 input or DVD entertainment systems. traditionally the auto makers always "follow" in these areas and never lead (my opinion).
    even though toyota gets its nav sys from a supplier, that supplier isn't a front runner like many popular after marketers. consider the ac-delco/gm partnership.
    i'm no fan of the non-touchscreen ability of the avalon system. i think the primary reason why avalons have this set-up is because toyota decided to place it in the retro styled dash instead of the traditional upper center console area and it simply is just too far away for the driver/passenger to reach the screen. otherwise it probably would have a camry touchscreen nav sys.
    i bought a new authentic toyota camry touchscreen nav sys last year ($1575) from an e-business and installed it myself in my '03 sequoia (wasn't offered as option in the vehicle until '05). In short, we love it. no it doesn't have every location under the sun, even ones you think should be there since the business has been around for ages, but it may be because the older biz isn't listed in the phonebook (i think many nav disks entries come from this source, but i could be wrong). we travel a lot and our touchscreen sys is invaluable! we haven't used a road atlas since we installed it. it also always doesn't know the shortest route, but as mentioned by another submission, some defaults are set to keep you on major roads and i suspect (like mapquest, et al) it trys to send you through vender heavy tourist areas. and, it is likely impossible for it to know every local shortcut. but when you're in an area that you don't know, are shortcuts important?
    as a sidenote: there is a bypass on the touchscreen systems so that data can be entered while the vehicle is moving. it is part of a hidden service/diagnostic menu (requires touching the screen in a pattern). we use this feature occasionally as the steps have to be performed everytime the vehicle is started. i would think that this capability would be built into the non-touchscreens screens somehow. now i can figure how to get the rear seat dvd to play on the nav screen when in park/emergency brake we'll be even better!
    i've been lusting for an avalon since the redesign. the non-touchscreen and lack of scrolling music info are some of the reasons why i haven't purchased yet (waiting for improvements). but my 4cyl '97 camry is over 107k and still doing well.

  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    If you are as critical as you say, I would keep the 97 Camry, put on new shocks, bushings, etc. buy a LARGE print atlas at AAA, and save a whole boat load of money. The construct of your 97 Camry is far better than anything Toyota is putting out these days unless you have to have all the elctronic gizmos.

  • algeealgee Posts: 78
    Would be nice if you could share the typed instructions.


  • I recently purchased an '06 Avalon w/12,000 mi. with Nav system. The only instructions the dealer had with it is the "Quick Ref Guide." Is it safe to assume there is a more comprehensive manual for the system? If so, any idea what it would cost me via the dealer or if there is a better source?
  • Sounds like a nice purchase! Toyota i-Guide will provide you with an explaination of your cars unique features and technology. Just use the top menu and select cars... it should be pretty easy from there.

    Hope that helps,

  • m8trix--there's a whole book just on the Nav System--dealer should provide. Have fun--I HATE the system--too quirky--sorry I got it
  • gn0me1gn0me1 Posts: 2

    I just bought a new 2007 Avalon Limited this week with the navigation system as an option. I became very irritated when I found out that it is impossible to have the passenger access most of the system while I am driving. I searched all forums I could find but no seemed to have a solution. The only thing I could find was the "Service" menu and the "override" option that works for the touch screen version of the navigation system. I have the "joystick" version so it is no good for me.
    After reading all the posts I could find, I started experimenting with a lot of button combinations trying to find how to access the service menu and eventually I succeded!!!

    I have version 6.1 of the DVD and the "joystick" version (i.e. not touch screen) of the Nav. system.

    Here is how you do it:

    You have to accept the initial warning first, then you follow the steps below (at any time, even while driving).

    1. Press "Menu" button
    2. Select "DVD", this will show you the version of the DVD.
    3. In the joystick, press the arrows in this sequence.
    a. Up
    b. Down
    c. Up
    d. Down
    e. Left
    f. Right
    4. You should now have the "Service" menu on the screen.
    5. Go to override and HOLD the select button down until it changes color (maybe it beeps too, I have sound turned off so I don't know).
    6. Press the "Back" button

    This will allow you to enter addresses while driving and all other options normally greyed out. The procedure must be repeated every time you start the car, but it only takes a few seconds. :-)

    I hope someone finds this information useful, just remember, dont do this while driving, it is for the passenger. ;-)

    (If this has already been posted I apologize, but I really could not find it anywhere else.)
  • niteoneniteone Posts: 41
    thank you thank you..I've been looking for that for months.

    haven't tried it yet, but as soon as I get home, I'l try it.

    thanks again !!
  • Let me try if it works on 06 da man!
  • dandldandl Posts: 57
    Hi gn0me1,
    WOW!!!!! Thank you for "cracking the code" on the Navigation override!!! I am SOOO impressed!!! We found the link to your posting this morning and literally RAN to our Avy to test it out and VIOLA, it worked PERFECTLY and EASILY!!!! You have NOOOO idea how much your posting will be appreciated!!!!
    I personally might just name my first born after you ;)
    "...Gnomey...time for diiinnnerr...."

    Well, maybe not..but thanks still... :blush:
    Seriously, THANK YOU for solving a conundrum for many Avy owners and posting it on Edmunds!
    BTW: we have a 2005 Avalon Limited (loaded)and have begged and cajoled every dealer we have encountered to find a way to overrride this lock out feature and they all had no idea how to do it.
    Best Regards,
    Laura and Dan
  • jdre86jdre86 Posts: 30
    I was playing around and tried the override of the navigation system. It works and I'm happy that somebody finally found it, but my curiousity got the best of me as I tried fooling around with the other options. If I recall properly, I went to the "Loading" option and changed the country that the system uses. I think I changed it to some Chinese or Japanese version. The only thing that my NAV displays is a white screen with a blue box with the word CAUTION in it. Above and below the box are Japanese or Chinese letters, with an English translation at the bottom. It says something to the effect of error: please insert the proper disk or system does not recognize this disk or something to that effect. I took it to the Toyota dealership yesterday and they were unable to resolve the issue. I have an appointment for it to be kept overnight on Wednesday, but I was hoping that someone in the forum would be able to tell me how to reset the NAV or something of the sort. The dealership took the NAV DVD out and tried a couple other things to no avail. I will post a picture of the message later on this evening. Does anyone have any idea how to fix this?
  • gn0me1,

    Thanks for posting this info. Works on my '05 LTD with v4.1.

    Here's one I figured out awhile ago...

    A diagnostic service menu can be accessed by;
    1.) Holding down the INFO button.
    2.) and then cycling the headlights on/off three times, quickly.

    You'll get a system check screen that takes about :20 seconds to complete, then you can cursor around & explore.

    I've used it to give error codes to service techs and check the accuracy of my speedo gauge and be able to get time of day down to the second from the GPS as well as other technogeek fun. :shades:

    There's also an interesting but greyed out menu labelled "Back Video Monitor". Anyone have this active? :confuse:

    You can access the service menu anytime the NAV display is on but you will lose the audio system output and the only way I've been able to exit is to power down and restart. There's no BACK button like in the "Override" backdoor.

    Speaking of backdoors, since there's a Vehicle Speed Sensor override option for the Nav, anyone think there's one for the audio system text message display or the ever present "power on disclaimer". Probably not, since those two "features" are not field service related. Then again, if the programmer was American... ;)
  • gn0me1gn0me1 Posts: 2
    Thanks for the info pmvision!

    I tried it on my 2007 Avalon and it worked great. I played around with it and came up with some additional information.

    Once you are in the menu, if you hold down the "Info" button and cycle the light 3 times, then it switches to Japanese. I had to power down to get it back to English. Fortunately it was not permanent.

    I also found a way to get back out. Just hold down "Disp" button and cycle the lights 3 times, that takes you back to the normal operation.

    Now I only wish that someone can find the "crack" for the audio system message you are talking about. That would be SO nice.
  • Jdre86......unfortunately, I experienced the same problem you have. I was checking out other functions during the override process, and ended up with the same CAUTION message asking for a correct program disc. I tried disconnecting the battery, ejecting and re-inserting the DVD, but nothing works. Did you get your problem resolved? If so, how did you do it?

    Anyone else know how to get the Nav to respond?
  • jdre86jdre86 Posts: 30
    I've tried so many different things but nothing has worked. I found a replacement NAV unit on eBay for $900 which is considerably less than the $5000 that the dealership is asking. I may be going with that option.
  • It's difficult to believe that there is no procedure to get out of that Caution screen. Have you tried disconnecting the DVD nav unit in the trunk? What options did the Toyota reps come up with to restore the Nav???

    Is there anybody in this forum that may have any ideas of how to get the Nav system working again. I have a 03 Avalon with the Joystick. After messing around with the overide functions , I was checking out other functions and clicked on "loading". I then clicked on another program in the list, and thats when an error message popped up saying I needed to insert a correct program disc. I cant seem to get back to the normal nav functions.

    Any help or idea will be appreciated.
  • jdre86jdre86 Posts: 30
    I've spoken with the Toyota dealership many times and it seems that there is absolutely nothing that can be done. I've disconnected the NAV unit several times and taken it completely apart. I disconnected what I thought was the memory power backup thing and left it unhooked for a couple days. When I reconnected everything the message was still there. I've disconnected the battery, pulled fuses, you name it. Supposedly there are no options to restore the NAV. Toyota says that there was once a recovery disk available to restore it, but that disk for Gen 3 units are obsolete and if they do exist they are only in Japan. I find it weird that I drive an 06 Avalon and it has a Gen 3 unit instead of the Gen 5 which is current. $5000 is a price that I am not willing to pay, so I'll just keep searching for a remedy or buy a replacement NAV unit elsewhere for $900.

    I got some instructions here for trying to reset the NAV, but when I got to the part about pushing a black momentary switch, I didn't see one.

    link title
  • samskssamsks Posts: 12
    Day Mode will get "stuck" on continuously in the following condition. You press the Display button and get the screen with the Contrast & Brightness options, then you select the option that says "Day Mode" at the bottom of this screen WHILE THE HEADLIGHTS ARE ON. If you do this when the headlights are on, then it will be "memorized" and the screen will remain in day mode all the time. To put it back to "normal" mode, turn on the headlights and do it again. Viola! Dim screen at nite, bright screen during the day. Yes I did it too, took me a while to figure out. --sam
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