Acura TL vs. Toyota Avalon

prigglypriggly Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 182
    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 Member Posts: 4,514
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 642
    The Acura TL's ELS system was chosen overwhelmingly as being superior to the ML system in this survey:
  • ronnronn Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 594
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 4,514
    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 Member 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.
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    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 Member Posts: 182
    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 Member 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 Member 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.
  • thereuarethereuare Member Posts: 3
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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.
  • wisngamecockwisngamecock Member Posts: 52
    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 Member 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 Member 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.
  • ronnronn Member Posts: 398
    Avalon vs Maxima would be a great choice for discussion, and to me would also be a better comparison. HOST...consider a new post with that. They are both cool cars. I would be interested in what Maxima drivers think of the Avalon.
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Hi ronn - feel free to create a discussion with that subject. Go to the main list on this Sedans Comparisons board, hit Add Discussion and go from there.

    It should be a good comparo.
  • igibanigiban Member Posts: 530
    There's an ES vs. Avalon thread already. Maybe just adding Maxima to it.

    A long while back there's an ES vs. TL (new models) comparison forum but it did not last very long mainly because of a general consensus that those two cars, despite similarly priced, are attracting different crowds, I'd say the reasoning logic applies even more so to Avalon vs. TL. I actually think there're more people cross shopping ES vs. TL, or Avalon vs. ES, than Avalon vs. TL.
  • gbjerkegbjerke Member Posts: 158
    Interesting discussion here. These were my picks last November. My wifes car was an '02 Avalon XLS which she loved. It's her driver unless we go on trips. My toy is a Corvette Z06 which she hates so it was her choice.
    Drove the Maxima---I liked it but she felt it was a little firm and noisy compared to her Avalon and she thought the lack of leather on the door panels was "cheap".
    Then the TL which I drooled over----drop dead georgeous. Her opinion, firm ride and nosier that her sled. She also disliked the fact that the passenger seat was only 4 way adjustable and she could not get comfortable with it. Frankly, I agreed with her on this point. Secondly, when she put a styrofoam cup in the cupholder it virtually disappeared...too deep...and if you wanted to use the second cup holder, you had to raise the arm rest to get at it....wierd!
    Question became, wait for the new Avalon or check the Lexus out. One drive in the ES330 and the rest is history. It has become her "favorite car ever"!
    Most of the attributes of a car is strictly personal preference. Wifey happens to like QUIET and SMOOTH; I prefer looks,handling and performance so my first choice was the TL; second was the Maxima but since I drive what I want she made the choice.
    "Bang for the Buck" goes to Maxima hands down. Last November dealers were offering them at invoice less the 1k rebate and the Maxima came with power tilt/telescopic wheel tied into the memory system---also heated steering wheel so for the $$$, it's great. However if one considers Maximas value a couple years down the road, you likely will have lost more than you gained.
    Doubt all this helps anybody, just my thoughts.
  • charliebearcharliebear Member Posts: 7
    I looked at both, and went with the TL. Avalon was too long (difficulty parking in garage) Also, my former impression of the avalon was that it was an "old man car." This is not true with the new avalon, but the TL is sportier. I liked the bluetooth on the TL and the Nav.
  • bmwdougbmwdoug Member Posts: 248
    I think you have hit the nail on the head. The TL is sportier, the NAV and Bluetooth on the TL are incredible! And, the Avalon has had a reputation as an "old man's car". However, I think the NEW 05 Avalon has an elegant style, upscale in my humble opinion.

    The problem I have with the TL is there is not much leg room in the back seat, and the head room is limited if you have a long Torso, or are tall. The Avalon has incredible leg room, and better head room. The Nav is not as good as Acura, but it does work, and is the next best system available. Bluetooth is missing in action.
  • deaniedeanie Member Posts: 172
    If you need a car with room for two infant or toddler seats in the rear with room left for one adult (as is the case with me), there is only one choice - Avalon. TL, ES have room for two only, the adult would be a tight squeeze in the Maxima, but the Avalon has the widest rear bench by an inch or two (does anyone have the exact rear shoulder/hiproom measurements? I'm just going by memory).
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,514
    IMHO, if you consistently need to carry 2 infant seats plus an adult in the back seat, but perhaps a minivan is more appropriate, and more comfortable for all concern in the long run.

    I checked out the specs and performance of the new Avalon in the current issue of C & D, and they are impressive for this genre of car. But the styling still does nothing for me. It is just not a car that makes you drool from looking at it.
  • igibanigiban Member Posts: 530
    "Secondly, when she put a styrofoam cup in the cupholder it virtually disappeared...too deep...and if you wanted to use the second cup holder, you had to raise the arm rest to get at it....wierd!"

    You/she might have the arm rest set on the forward position (for more arm resting). You can move it backward a bit so that both cups are wide open. One of TL's cup holders is kinda deep while the other is more shallow, for uses on different cups/bottles. Is she ok with ES cup holders tho? It's cute but won't hold your Starbucks too well. Anyway if QUIET and SMOOTH is the key to hers, get ready for a Lexus in your garage (on her spot) for a long time!
  • gladiator99gladiator99 Member Posts: 104
    Hi Guys! Picked up our new Avalon XLS yesterday and man what a great ride!! Our dealer was located about 100 miles away, so we had a nice drive home. I am satisfied with my choice of the Avalon over the Acura TL. The Avalon seems quieter and a softer ride. The TL I drove provided more road feel and also more road noise. The Avalon is a larger car than my 02 TL but still fits in the Garage.
  • gbjerkegbjerke Member Posts: 158
    Interesting on the cupholder bit...still, I think it is weird engineering.
    The ES cupholders are not great but they hold cups/even my tall coffee mug although I would not want to test that one while "carving up the road".
    Just returned from trying to find some warm weather...Illinois to Arizona to Tennessee, Kentucky, W. Virginia etc.---found a TON of rain and little for sun and warmth except for Kentucky and the Makers Mark Bourbon Distillery...(even dipped my own bottle in the wax). Great drive from there thru W. Virginaia and the Appalacians. Wish I would have had the Vette or at least a TL for all the switchbacks etc. The ES was not a fun car to drive in the "spirited" mode but it was comfort personified. Quiet as a mouse; 3,000+ miles and averaged 27.8 thru the entire trip.
    It's a cruising car plain and simple but I was impressed as long as one does not want performance/handling as part of the package.
    Hey, if my wife is happy with it, I'm least I better be!
  • opksopks Member Posts: 4
    You are comparing apples and oranges. Toyota is known and designed for comfort while Acura focuses that driving experience. Personally, I hate Toyotas because it is like driving a couch, and turning corners with it, well need I say more? After 1 year of research, drove Lexus, Volvo, BMW, Audi and Acura, I settled for TL -- value and quality. Personally, Avalon has an ugly body style with a fat square butt -- but yes it does provide that comfort as if you are in the living room. Enjoy your Avalon, and I my TL!
  • cafpafcafpaf Member Posts: 65
    I have very seriously considered both of these cars and ultimately decided on the Avalon. I have been driving Cadillacs for the past fifteen years and with my recent retirement, I wanted something smaller and less expensive but with all or most of the creature comforts we have come to take for granted and enjoy. Both of these fine cars fit the bill. The TL is definitely the "sportier" car an a lot can be said for some of it's technology. However, I had to read all of the reports and reviews and consider them from a practical standpoint from what was important to us and how we drive. We are not going to push the performance. We live in Pittsburgh and front wheel drive or all wheel drive is a must with our topography and weather. The Avalon simply suited our requirement better. It is larger and easier to enter and exit. (Particularly the rear seat). It has things like rain sensing wipers, daytime running lights, and auto on/off headlights. It also has more interior room (including the trunk), a shorter turning radius, and gets better gas mileage. I have driven both several times and the Avalon in just a quick but is quieter with softer ride. For us, that is performance. Although the Acura was less expensive ($34,000 vs $35,000 out the door including taxes and fees) we felt the Avalon was worth it and better suited our needs. Both are wonderful automobiles and I know that the owners of both will be pleased with their decisions.
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,514
    I think given your circumstances, and the type of cars you're coming from, you definitely made the right choice. As much as I like the TL, I can see how the harsher ride (as well as a somewhat "jitttery" steering feel) would bother some people. It just doesn't isolate you from the elements as well as the Avalon. (And you certainly can't complain about the 280hp!). Happy motoring.
  • toplss68chevtoplss68chev Member Posts: 2
    I am comparing these two cars as well as many others in this price range. We are looking for the elusive multi-talented car in the $27,000-$35,000 range. I have one issue with the Avalon and the way it is packaged. The traction/stability control cannot be had with the Touring???? We liked the interior better on the Touring (as well as the handling) than the wood inlay on the others. The wife through a curve at me the other day when she looked at the Mercedes c230 Kompressor, she actually liked it?? Anyone shopped this range (20+ cars) that has any input or warnings?
  • continuous2continuous2 Member Posts: 2
    the avalon has 58.2 in. in the shoulder rear and 56.2 in the hip rear
  • stickymanstickyman Member Posts: 53
    I agree with you 100%. I have several friends that love their Kia's. It is like dating, to each his own. I suppose that is one reason why there are so many automobile manufactures today. My one concern with the TL is the rattles, sqeaks, flat spotting, transmission, and vibration issues I have a 03 TL Type S, at 16,000 miles, a new transmission, two rattles in moon roof that can't be fixed. My 01 Avalon XLS, 60,000miles and not one issue and is still quite today as it was when I purchased it. By all means, the TL is Lux. sport vehicle and the Avalon is just luxury waiting to be driven.........
  • finfin Member Posts: 594
    Always remember that these are two very different cars. They have similar price tags and come from two of the world's best manufacturers, but beyond that, they are a world apart. Drive them both and go with one you like best. My choice has always been the Avalon because of the softer ride, more interior room and larger trunk. Great cars, either way.
  • frisconickfrisconick Member Posts: 1,275
    I am one of those who is deciding between the Avalon and the TL. I have not test drove either cars yet. I have a 96 Camery that I love, so Toyota has my loyalty. However, I just love the stlye of the TL, both exterior and interior. Plus, I believe, that younger people will go for the TL, older will go for the Avalon. Either car is an excellent choice IMHO. :P
  • stickymanstickyman Member Posts: 53
    My concern with the TL is vibration issue and rattles that people are complaining about. I have a 2003 TLS and replaced the transmission at 16,000miles. Acura took care of everything inclusing a loaner but, a $33,000.00 car with transmission issues that continued into 2004 is not good. Really look at the Avalon and maybe you should look at the M-35. My 2001 Avalon is still a wonderful car and my wife will kill me if I tried to sell it. Good luck with the decision, TL, Avalon, M-35, they are all fine cars. ;)
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