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Acura TL vs. Toyota Avalon

prigglypriggly Posts: 642
The new 2005 Toyota Avalon has just entered the automotive fray and while it is a commodious and somewhat stately highway cruiser, it has a decidedly sporting side with a truly great 280 HP motor with 260 ft-lb. of torque which provide superb acceleration figures, not unlike those of the 2005 Acura TL. Both cars, the TL and the Avalon, purport to have premium audio systems, both are competent highway cruisers. It seems natural that there will be significant cross-shopping between the two makes and therefore worthy of debate here on this board.


  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    Hi..To me, there is no comparison between the two. I drove the Acura TL and RL..both of which were nice, but had much more road noise than the Avalon. The TL especially had alot of road noise, and was a very bumpy ride. The RL which is getting rave reviews is stii not as smooth and quiet as the Avalon.My personal choice was the Avalon Limited. I have had it a month, and must say it's awesome!!!
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 642
    The TL ride is more firm but at highway cruising speed I did not see much difference between the two insofar as road noise or wind noise was concerned.

    The thing which I find so disparate between the two is the audio system. The Acura TL ELS 5.1 surround sound to my ear sounds significantly better than the DSP sound of the JBL Synthesis system in the Avalon. The 5.1 surround sound results in discreet sounds coming from all the speakers whereas the dignital signal processing is attempting to give that impression but falls short. Additionally, I found the quality of the Panasonic speakers in respect to depth, tonal balance and clarity superior to the JBL speakers including the paper cone subwoofer of the JBL system.
  • dan41dan41 Posts: 180
    These are, IMHO, two different cars that may appeal to two different groups of buyers. The TL is smaller and is no where near as quiet as the Avalon. Having said that, I test drove the 2005 TL twice (I use to own a 2002 TL Type S - previous generation to the 05) and found that the newer TL had more road noise and a tougher or more firm ride than the Avalon. The TL is considered a near Luxury but, IMHO, the Avalon is so much more a better car in terms of comfort, ride, styling and speed. The TL, IMHO, has a better navigation system and also offers Blue Tooth technology (I do wish the Avalon offered Blue Tooth). Other than that, these are fine cars, so I suggest you take both out for long test drives and decide for yourself.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    I have no doubt the Avalon is a more luxurious, plush ride. Afterall, it's Toyota's flagship.

    But I doubt any potential TL buyer would seriously cross-shop the Avalon, because I think any TL owner cares at least a bit about having some style to go with the substance, and the Avalon continues its tradition of eye-watering styling. It is just a awful, awkward, gag-inducing excuse for modern automotive design.

    It is so bad it actually makes the Camry look decent.
  • bmwdougbmwdoug Posts: 248
    I too think these two cars are going to be cross shopped quite a bit, because they are in the same price point, and in my opinion, they are both near luxury cars. The TL has it over the Avalon in Navigation and Bluetooth, which I love. The technology on the TL is second to none. The Avalon has a more limo like ride. The TL a bit more sporty, although, I think the new Avalon looks pretty elegant.

    The Avalon Navigation from what I understand is okay, but not up to Acura Standards. I am not sure if voice command works very well or not with the Avalon. Bluetooth is not available, but I have read about some after market kits. So, maybe it could be added. The roominess and elegance of the Avalon are pretty cool. Two great cars, a tough choice between the two.
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    Nice comparison..The one advantage that sold me on the Avalon is the fact I'm 6'2, and the Avalon has much more room. The tech. is great in the Acura, but the looks and ride are by far better in the Avalon. I was willing to give up the perhaps better Nav. and Bluetooth for this car.
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 642
    ronn, how would you rate the audio system in the Avalon?

    To my ear, the Scheiner system in the TL sounds better, especially with DVD-A discs?
  • igibanigiban Posts: 530
    I have not gotten a chance to hear the audio in the new Avalon, but I do know Lexus ML is just as nice as ELS in TL. Avalon's might not be as good as ML I'd guess. I'll say this tho: if someone thinks Avalon actually looks sharper than TL from the outside (mild shock to me), then Avalon overall would most likely fit that person's taste better.
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 642
    The Acura TL's ELS system was chosen overwhelmingly as being superior to the ML system in this survey:
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    I like the audio system in my Avalon..I did not have CD's with me when trying out the TL, but I find the Avalon system to be great...I use CD's most of the time...I am thinking of adding the XM
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    This someone thinks the Avalon is sharper looking than the TL. I do not like the chopped off look that the TL has. Avalon much sleeker lines..that of BMW. The front is better looking also in my opinion.Tried the RL also...still find the Avalon the better car
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    One of my biggest reasons for the purchase of the Avalon was not only looks, but the room it has. I was looking for a car where friends can sit in the back without touching the front seats. I am 6'2, and the TL is much smaller inside. I did not have near the legroom in the drivers seat, and the Avalon has much more space in the back.
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    I find the style of the 2005 Avalon to be superb!!!! I did not like the old style..
    It is classy...and gets the looks. I have had more people stop and tell me what a gorgeous car this is, than any I have had before.
  • just__mejust__me Posts: 508
    I have to be honest about deciding on which car to buy. It comes down to basics. The Nav, Radio, Bluetooth etc., are secondary after thoughts. First comes who makes a quality car. Second the comfort of the seats, the room front and back, the quietness of the engine and the ride and overall power of the engine and overall specifications. The style was always secondary to me because I couldn't care less if someone said wow, look at that car, or a status nameplate. It came down to basics. Well my friends, the power, the comfort and all the things I mentioned that were important to me, the 2005/06 Avalon has and the style seen through my eyes is elegant, refined, not macho or racy. It's like a guy dressed in a tuxedo going out with a classy gal to a fine restaurant. Put the Lexus name plate on it, and it would sell for at least 20 grand more no questions asked. My XLS is everything I ever wanted in a car. My six CD changer sound for my ear is great. I'm sure the Acura TL is a fine car and I won't knock it. However overall I do believe the Avalon is a better vehicle with more room to stretch your legs. I post on the Avalon 05X forum board but wanted to put my two cents worth here. One other thing. Every service department at the Toyota dealerships have been excellent, it seems to be a Toyota thing, and the depreciation on the Avalon is much better than so many other makes.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    My feeling is similar to Post #4 above. They have a similar price tag..but beyond that, they are really different cars. Acura is sport, Avalon is a quiet ride in a larger car. I shopped in '99 and '03, car for car. For me, Avalon won. Same story now. Will look at the '06 models in in the Fall. Probably the same answer. You do need to drive both, look at the options they offer, then decide. Great car, either way.
  • igibanigiban Posts: 530
    You just need to convince yourself, which seems firmly so. I think they look very differently, and as least from that standpoint, they really attract different people, despite being on the same price point. I'd not quite picture myself driving an Avalon at my age (and I am past 20's already). Maybe later when a big luxy cruiser is more desired. ES is as big as I'd go now.
  • igibanigiban Posts: 530
    Maybe on DVD-A, which I have few. On CD I can't really tell one better than the other much. They are all very good. Lexus has a bit quieter cabin so that may help a bit.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    As igiban said, you only need to convince yourself. Only your opinion is important to you. I'm not saying the Avalon is a bad car. It is no doubt smooth, quiet, refined, luxurious. But in terms of styling, I just think it is another example of Toyota styling, which I have always found to be either ultra conservative or awkward, almost cartoonish. They seem to style by committee -- no central theme or corporate style. I can't think of one Toyota/Lexus model that can grab a buyer's attention (in a positive manner) on style alone.
  • gladiator99gladiator99 Posts: 104
    I agree that the TL is a fine car but the Avalon is somewhat smoother and of course a larger, roomier vehicle. The engine with 280 HP and rated at 39 mpg in Canada and is another example of Toyota's superb engineering. I just traded in my 02 Acura TL for a new Avalon XLS. I also drove both cars and I have previously owned a 95 avalon, which I felt was a very solid and smooth vehicle. The Avalon surround sound system didn't sound as good as the Acura's but was impressive. I had a tough decision as I really liked both cars, but the Avalon's looks and ride won me over. I have had great service from both Honda and Toyota. I agree with you on the depreciation thing, Toyota has the edge here. That's my impression, however each of us has different tastes and that's what makes the world go around.
  • Great comments. If I was alone in the car I'd rather have the Acura, but the room in the Avalon is hard to ignore. I find the TL too small inside, but like the driving feel much better. For some of us the superior nav in the Acura is important. Wanted a new Avalon but find tight right knee room in front if one keeps the nav control door open and my head touches the roof in back. The front passenger seat feels too high for me. My 96's passenger seat also moves vertically while the new Avalon's doesn't. The passenger seat in the TL wasn't great either.

    Both cars were quiet enough for me, but the o5 Avalon freeway ride didn't seem as nice as my 96 Avalon, but still okay. Neither car (TL or 05 Avalon) felt like a luxury car to me. The new Avalon would have replaced my MDX, but the MDX rides as comfortably and has more room for the driver and better headroom for the back seat passengers.

    I found the Avalon costs several thousand dollars more than the TL (Limited with nav etc. vs. TL with nav).
  • dan41dan41 Posts: 180
    by gladiator99: Prior to purchasing my Lexus, I owned a 2002 Acura TL Type S. I now own the Avalon Limited and I can only tell you that you have indeed made a good decision on purchasing the Avalon.

    Regards: Dan
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    Glad the Avalon won you over!! Nice comments. I would like to add that I have always found Toyota to have better materials on the inside. More polished with seats etc. Better quality. I was ratehr surprised at the TL and RL as the interior didn't look as nice.
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    Great choice with the Avalon... I would like to add a comment that I found the interior spaces to be more attractive and better materials used than Acura. Toyota has always been a step above Honda and Acura with quality materials inside.
    Enjoy the new Avalon.
  • These are the exact two cars that made it to my short list. In fact, I was sold on the Avalon before I drove it. I was looking at the limited, and here in Northern VA. they are not discounting them at all. The one I had in my hands including TTL was out the door at 39000.00. However, I did not like the feel of the car over curved roads, S curves, and so forth. Plus the car is almost a foot longer than the Acura TL. Back that baby up a few times, and I personally had trouble, probably due to the shape of the rear end and my poor depth perception.
    I went back and test drove the Acura again, and it definitely felt more attached to the road, where the Avalon just floated along. Plus out the door with TTL the Acura was 5000.00 less.
    These are both great cars, but you do have to test drive them because that is where the real difference is.
    Now, I have a deposit down on an Acura, but it has not come in yet.
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    Best of luck with your new Acura.. While I have the Limited, we all have to get what we want, and they are all great cars.
    Regards, RONN
  • mcardlemcardle Posts: 36
    I've been checking out the Avalon forum for months, and went to the auto show with the Mrs. a couple weeks back... thinking it was to say "here's our next car". Upon seeing the Avalon, the first words out of her mouth were "The dash is u-g-l-y. Can we look at something else?" Hmmmm...

    So we then started looking at other cars around the $35 mark, and the TL was one. Definitely a different look and feel, but two very good cars from two outstanding manufacturers.

    We'll have to go spend some time in both soon, but I'm glad to see others who have taken the time to compare.
  • tinatinatinatina Posts: 388
    I would personally opt for the TL due to the better price, better resale, better fit and finish, and better warranty over the Avalon.

    The Avalon rear tailamps were misaligned in the picture I saw. My guess is that this is intentional. I also agree that the interior dash of the Avalon is awful.

    However, I would probably look at the Lexus ES 330. They usually discount those quite a bit. I may by this vehicle in May.
  • I realize this is a TL, Avalon comparo. To me these are very different cars. IMO the Avalon is more comparable to the Lexus ES and Nissan Maxima. Big, refined, quiet near lux rides (Maxima is probably more of a sport/sedan hybrid). Whereas, the TL is made to be a near lux sport sedan.
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    We Avalon folks don't feel the dash is ugly. Pretty awesome in our eyes. As afr as fit and finish, Toyota has always used the finest of materials in their cars. Lexus dash very attractive...I don't think so. You should study the Avalon's reviews top the others hands down!!!!Opinions are what makes the world go round....good luck with whatever you choose.
  • mcardlemcardle Posts: 36
    I don't think so either, but since I've acceded control of interior design inside the house, I may have to do the same inside the car. We'll see... Thanks.
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