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2005-2007 Toyota Avalon



  • I agree 100%. I'm sure this forum is NOT an accurate sample of Avalon buyers and that we are much more demanding than the average buyer. Toyota has set their own bar extremely high. They routinely have 5 of the top 10 cars in quality so we tend to expect them to be flawless. (Thankfully, they aren't. Otherwise, our poor domestic brands would have been out of business long ago.)

    I had 5 Toyotas (1 new, 4 used) before my current 12 year ownership of a 1993 GMC Suburban. Every one of the Toyotas were great, reliable cars. The Suburban is routinely pilloried by Consumer Reports for poor quality, and yet I'm not at all unhappy with it. I've had a number annoyances and some significant issues (5 radiators) but I'd buy one again if I needed that kind of cargo, people, and towing ability.

    We should all remember that since the '05 was a completely new car we can expect the typical bugs that every manufacturer has with a new platform. We all know that the only difference between an '05 and an '06 is the serial number -- or is it? Perhaps we should be careful to tally these problems by model year so that we can all see if Toyota is addressing some of this stuff behind the scenes.

    As for me, none of the "quality" issues I'm seeing here have deterred me from my plan to buy a 2006 Limited next spring. I'm confident it will be a far better vehicle than the one I've been driving -- and very happy with -- for 12 years.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    my vehicle history not a whole lot different than yours - although any car I bought personally in the last 12 years were Nissans (for the wife and kids), my personal drivers were Suburbans, a 94', '98 and '01. Got about 15-16 mpg, and really very solid reliability for trucks I would drive 100K each. The Avalon comes because I didn't need the utility of the Suburban anymore, and wanted something that was better with gas, fun to drive, and still is as comfortable as my trucks were on the highway!
  • For those of you that have this, how much undercoating do you see under the car?
  • captain,

    I don't agree that driving in sequential 'S' won't help unless you also manually change gears below '4'. When driving at a constant speed, I find that driving in 'S' and leaving it in a higher gear, 4 or 5, reduces the tendency for the transmission to hesitate between gears, that alan_s described for a constant speed of 45.

  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    maybe because at 45 - '4' is the gear the car wants to be in anyway and accelerating from that speed does not require a downshift. At 20 the car should probably in 2nd, but in 'S' it will still be in 4th until you punch it, at which point it will hesitate as it finds the correct gear on the downshift. Try it.
  • Captain2, you're the guy I want to talk to!

    I'm hoping to rent an Avalon next week for a week-long trip just so I can see how it "fits" after 3-4 hours in the saddle. I've taken a 40 minute test drive and liked the car but have found that lots of cars are less comfortable on the long haul than they seem in the first half-hour.

    I'm spoiled by the spaciousness and comfort of my Suburban and have found that the list of truly "full size" cars is pretty short. There are quite a few that are big on the outside (Grand Marquis, Town Car) but surprisingly chintzy with leg & head room.

    The Avalon's numbers look good and felt good for my short drive. Now, a long drive or a fellow Suburban owner can tell me if I'm on the right track.

    What's your take? I'm a big guy (6'3", 280lbs). How do you think I'll like the Avalon, long term?

  • Though I agree with you to a certain extent, I don't think there is anything wrong in demanding the best quality from Toyota -- this has been their arena. I wouldn't expect anything but the best quality from Toyota. Think of it this way: Wouldn't you be upset if you buy a 30k+ engagement ring from Tiffany only to find the diamond loosely mounted with occassional rattle and the base somewhat scratched? ;)

    Just my 2 cents.
  • gwsgws Posts: 67
    I'm your height, but lighter... last month drove 1500 miles, much of it Interstate, in two days (11 hours and 13 hours)and found my XLS more comfortable than former Lexus GS on the same trip. I have read some forum complaints that Avalon Limited seats are less comfortable due to the cooling fan feature.
  • chodiechodie Posts: 13
    I have the engine noise at start up on my 2006. The dealer service manager said that all of them have it. I changed to premium gas and this helped some, also got better miles per gal.. I am going to switch to Mobile 1 synthetic and see if it will help. I have an 03 tundra that has had the same problem since new. The problem is that the piston and the block are made of different materials and the coeficient of expansion is not the same. Commonally called piston slap. Toyoto wouldn't fix my tundra, but that's ok. I have 45K and it still out performs any thing on the road. We should consider a 100,000 mile warranty for helping us sleep at night.
  • jayvisjayvis Posts: 76
    So you would immediately swerve without breaking at freeway speed? THAT is ridiculous!
  • jayvisjayvis Posts: 76
    Remember that YOU test drove the car and should have evaluated the transmission response at that time. I believe this issue falls in the "learn to live with your mistake" category.
  • Mobile 1 did not change my noise.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    my son is your size except 6'6" and finds the car comfortable but a little short on driver legroom. I'm 6'1 and 210 or so, have no problems - but I used to relocate the seat track on my trucks to provide more legroom. Think that you might want to investigate doing the same thing on the Av (if it is possible (and legal)) - moving the front seat back a couple of inches certainly wouldn't hurt the rear seat space much. let me know how it goes.
    Suburbans got a bad rap for years for reasons I could never understand. Used to to able to take 4 kids, 3 adults, a bed in back, and all kinds of ski gear on vacation every year driving about 1200 miles straight - except for Ford's late coming Excursion no vehicle that I could do this with other than a full size van that wouldn't go in the garage. Despite my obvious love for my Avalon, those Suburbans will still be the most practical and comfortable (on the highway) vehicles I ever owned. Bad rap I guess from those tree huggers at the consumer magazines?
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    agree - Toyota should be expected to maintain a higher level of consumer satisfaction then most the other mfgrs - it is what they built that reputation on. And they should do something about some of these not so minor issues like transmissions with minds of their own!
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    You and others may be interested in the hesitation forum here at Edmunds. Most of the discussion is about Toyota 5 spd. transmission vehicles.

    "Engine Hesitation (All makes/models)"
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    sounds like you could use a little time on Mr. West's driving simulator. I only hope that my first reaction is to swerve to avoid that oncoming ladder - there is certainly nothing that brakes are going to do, the thing is flying straight at me and neither me or it can possibly stop in that short a distance. Slowing down will lessen the impact speed but won't avoid anything! So I ask again, do you really want your car's computers deciding to slow steering responses when 'it sees' that ladder?
    To go a step further, and this may be beyond your comprehension - but well up the list of important safety features - the accelerator especially with some HP behind it. But only if you know how to use it.
  • alan_salan_s Posts: 362
    Jayvis: If the transmission behavior were consistent and obvious during test drives then I would agree with you. Of course during my test drives (I drove 3 different Avalons), the transmissions behaved flawlessley on each and so did mine until fairly recently. I did notice a variation in the brakes between the ones I drove though.
    Unfortunately (or fortunately?) the transmission problem is intermittent. It's not "hesitation" as Toyota calls it, it is unpredictable and gets downright confused! I am going to disconnect and reconnect the battery and see if it resets the transmission program patterns to factory default, but I want the dealer to do a diagnostic code scan first, just in case something shows up. Anyone know if the diagnostic codes are reset if the battery is disconnected?
    BTW, I have a relatively simple fix for the moonroof rattle over the front passenger, if anyone needs it.
    Off topic, but Happy Turkey Day to everyone! (Sorry Pat, I couldn't find the Turkey forum ...) ;)
  • Those of you that have done this or had it done, which direction, CW or CCW, do you turn the adjustment screw to raise the headlight? TIA
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    this is where my Av differs, I can get the transmission to pause while finding gears but generally only when flooring it from lower speeds. It is not anything that I don't know is going to happen. Wonder if VSC or Trac has anything to do with it, my Touring has neither. Be very interested to know if your attempts at 'reprogramming' your car meet with any results.
    don't eat too much - your gas mileage may suffer!
  • angeange Posts: 158
    Thanks for the comments. I understand the icing matter. I have not seen any air conditioning systm layout, but I thought the air would be on all of the time and heat would be blended to hold set temperature. I have had cars that permitted warm air to exit at the top and lower vents.

    Next time it about 20-25F I will turn the bi-low control on and raise the hood to see if the compressor clutch is engaged. I never checked but I thought that when the air light indicator turns green the compresser is running. Will check this out.

    I expected to keep my hands and feet warm at the same time.I don't like to drive with gloves. Not a big issue.
  • riley3riley3 Twin Cities MNPosts: 29
    Are your low beams too low? I have an '05 Limited and am disappointed in the range of the HID headlights on low beam. The low beams are very bright but for a short distance with a rather sharp cutoff. I'm thinking of adjusting them up but am concerned about shining in oncoming drivers eyes. Have you had your dealer check yours for adjustment to specs? Did your adjustments help?
  • larryt22larryt22 Posts: 125

    The article says Toyota hasn't decided which of 5-6 models to manufacture at the Lafayette Indiana plant. Says they could make 100,000 vehicles per year. Maybe it makes sense to move all Avalon production there so Georgetown can concentrate on only Camrys?
  • I'm going to the dealer Friday to see if they are within specs. Will report back. I think my low beams are too low.
  • At 20 the car should probably in 2nd, but in 'S' it will still be in 4th until you punch it, at which point it will hesitate as it finds the correct gear on the downshift. Try it.

    Your may want to review your driving style, captain2. With drive-by-wire systems, avoid suddenly punching or pulsing the accelerator. Sort of the same idea as braking with ABS; you need to apply constant brake pressure--never pump the brakes. Instead, step on the gas moderately and hold it steady. This avoids confusing the control system with conflicting sensor information.

    I am one of those drivers who value the Avalon's capacity for zooming first off the gate and I enjoy leaving everyone else behind. But, if I am driving at 20 and need to speed up quickly, I don't punch it, I just step on the pedal with moderate constant pressure. The engine revs up quickly and smoothly, the transmission almost always finds the right gear and the car forges forward without any hesitation issues.

    If you are driving in 'S' 4 and your speed drops to 20, it should downshift on its own to a gear lower than 4 with modest gas pedal pressure. The engine RPM rarely drops below 1400 under load. If the RPM drop below that, it downshifts.

    I have compared driving in 'D' vs. 'S' (left alone in 4th or 5th gear) on the same roads, with steep hills and curves and some straighter, faster stretches, and I am convinced that the transmission is smoother and makes fewer mistakes when in 'S' than in 'D'. Just don't punch it.

    Try it!

  • I just took delivery of the '06 Avalon I ordered a month ago. I noticed the ride was a bit more "jumpy" than the one I test drove, so I checked the tire pressure when I got home. All four tires were between 54 and 56 PSI! Can Toyota afford tire gauges?

    Also, I immediately noticed the dreaded transmission flakiness. upshifts were more abrupt than I had remembered during my test drive and a couple of times the engine revved a bit between shifts. Overall, the tranny just wasn't as smooth as I had remembered. The car only had 1 mile on it when I picked it up, so I hope it's a break-in issue, and not something that will turn out to be seriously problematic.

    On the bright side, the car is absolutely beautiful. The dark red is a perfect color for me -- it's been a long time since I've owned a red car (a '67 Mustang) :)
  • algeealgee Posts: 78
    It did not change mine either. Between the engine noise, road noise,terrible Limited model seats,and transmission slip, I am ready to get rid of this car. Never another Toyota. I am going to tet drive the new Buick Lucerne
  • n0v8orn0v8or Posts: 169
    Headlight veertical aiming instructions from the repair manual . . . .

    The final turn of the aiming screw(s) should be made in the clockwise direction. If the screw(s) is(are) tightened excessively, loosen and then retighten them, so that the final turn of the screw(s) is in the clockwise direction.

    The headlight aim moves up when turning the aiming screw(s) clockwise, and moves down when turning the aiming screw(s) counterclockwise.

    On HID headlights, both screws should be turned the identical amount in the same direction.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    havalongavalon- this is the the whole point - sure if you are gradual on the accelerator you will experience little problems with transmission gear selection regardless of mode selector position - which is actually the way I and most folks drive most of the time - but the control systems should not require you to adapt to it! Driven many cars now that use this silly 'drive-by-wire', and have not been able to get them to do what our Avs do. There are infrequent situations that may require maximum acceleration from 20 mph or whatever - why should we have to wait for the car to make up 'its' mind?
  • nimiminimimi Posts: 249
    Good luck in your quest for the "perfect car." But beware, it does not exist; especially clothed in any label by GM! You are in line for a lot of frustration and disappointment if Toyotas don't live up to your expectations.
  • gwsgws Posts: 67
    'I don't punch it, I just step on the pedal with moderate constant pressure. The engine revs up quickly and smoothly, the transmission almost always finds the right gear and the car forges forward without any hesitation issues....Just don't punch it.'

    Accurate and excellent advice... coupled with some defensive driving habits, drive-by-wire works satisfactorily in my experience with both the Avalon and a Lexus GS400.
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