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Funny you should say that, my mom test drove both Avalon and TL and loved them both, weve got a few others to look at but these two are definitely her front runners.
The TL is a great car - fun to drive, lots of technology, extremely sharp styling. But its smaller than I thought it would be, including the front seating as well as the back and trunk. I didn't mind the tauter ride, in exchange for the driving experience, which was first rate. But the space issue really caught me off guard.
The Avalon has just as much technology that is important to me (Smart Key is awesome!), and the inside styling is breath taking to me - very fresh, but classic. I find the exterior styling a significant upgrade from the previous generation, and I'm surprised by the positive comments from the younger folks at work.
After having compared these two quality cars, I agree with the crowd - it depends what your priorities are. My wife kids me that I'm 49 going on 65, and this geezer in training has decided its time for smoothness and comfort. I have happily transitioned from my long line of sport sedans to a big, nasty cruiser.
P.S. If you are thinking of buying an Avalon, make sure you pay attention to the feel of the front seats. They are the only real concern for me (and obviously an important detail).
The TL has an extremely well executed interior. It's better than the Avalon in many aspects including the Nav, bluetooth, Seats (styling and comfort), and dash layout. The one thing I don't like is the flimsy feeling gas pedal which seems unusually cheap. The Avalon, however, does offer a few cool features such as smart key, fake wood steering wheel and shifter, ventilated seats, rain sensing wipers, and rear sunshade. The dash layout is dissapointing though.
The TL definetly has a more sporty feel due to the tighter suspension which provides more feedback from the road. The Avalons suspension is a great deal softer providing an extremely smooth ride. As a result the Avalon is not as capable cornering at high speed, most notably while going over bumps.
The TL has a standard VTEC with 270HP, but seems lacking in torque. This is evident while accelerating up inclines or from a stop. You hear the engine whine, but it seems sluggish off the line. The Avalon has plenty of HP and torque giving it impressive acceleration for such a large car (roughly half a second slower than a G35). Even more impressive are the MPG numbers for the powerful engine. Easily the most efficient for its power output.
For me the Avalon offered a more enjoyable ride overall. I enjoy the isolation it provides with its extremely quiet cabin, and soft suspension. As someone mentioned earlier, in the TL you feel like your going fast, but in the Avalon you really don't. The difference between perceived speed vs. actual speed for me is around 15mph, i.e. travelling 80mph feels like 65. The soft suspension is only problematic on high speed turns (20mph above speed limits) with bumps, and since I do most of my driving on streets and not on oval tracks, I prefer the bumps and potholes to be absorbed by the car and not by my kidneys. The Avalon also has very small turning radius, which is useful in urban situations since is it such a large car. While both are extremely well engineered vehicles, they offer very different driving experiences and the only way to decide which you prefer is to drive both cars. I chose the Avalon because even at 22, it is a better fit for my needs.
The Avalon is a very fast car, and with the new exterior styling, finally it no longer looks like a big Camry. However, I am surprised that a 22 year old would by one over a TL, but your analysis of the cars makes perfect sense. My wife chose the TL and I believe that the ride is not harsh at all, in fact, I think the ride is smoother than my old '96 Camry.
LOL, me too :P
But the Avalon is a very fast big car, and makes a lot of sense to buy regardless of age.
You mean to say you're a level-headed young man, or you wouldn't consider a 4-door either? :P
My parents also own a 2003 Acura TL. Runs flawlessly, only problem was a recall on the transmission but that is the only problem. I trust Acura with their quality and reliablility. Acura also has better service than toyota (they wash and vacuum your car.
The TL is my choice, no offense. But i would probably choose the Avalon when i am 80.
8 years is a long time for a battery to last, and Toyota didn't make the battery. I had a 96 Camry for 9 years and not one problem, the best car I ever owned in terms of reliability. I did, however, buy a new TL, and the jury is out on that car. The new Avalon is very fast, and not bad looking IMHO, but not my wife's taste. Toyota makes fine cars. It's not Toyota's fault a Jeep hit you. BTW, cabs is San Francisco use Camrys all the time. :P
The Jeep Grand Cherokee was at a stop sign and just backed up because it was almost hit by a speeding Benz driven by an old lady at an intersection. The driver drove up and realize he couldnt make it so he backed up and i quess didnt see us. But i think Toyota need to design the cars better so that a case like this will have no damage except maybe a scratch. But their cars are so cheap so i get a dent in the middle and the grille has fallen off.
I guess i will consider a Toyota in the future. Probably the 2007 Toyota Camry or 2007 Lexus ES350.
please say where you got the answer, either by literature or by your actual road test. how does the car handle at max speed?
I think I read somewhere that it's 179 miles per hour, or something like that. I think the 06 is faster than the 05, but not as fast as the 05 used to be since they decreased the horse power from 280 to 268. Hope this helps with your decision. You are making a decision, right?
Top speed is not dependent on what the speed gauge indicates and is not dependent on the horsepower rating.
Think of it...say that you hit the 'top speed' on the speed gauge on the flats...then you went on a hill. Do you think that the car would organically slow down? Same as the horsepower...not a direct indicator.
Again...not sure what you all are doing trying to figure out the 'top speed' of an Avalon.
delmar, if speed wasn't important, why do we measure it?
Avalon vs. TL - Power - about equal - both cars have great engines/trannies (see below)
Avalon vs. TL - Size and comfort - Avalon - not close
Avalon vs. TL - Interior design/egronomics - Avalon (didn't particulary like the red/white/blue gauges on the TL) The Av is very clean, simple, and elegant.
Avalon vs. TL - Handling/Ride - a hard sell to push this into the Av corner as well because the TL is certainly a tighter car in corners much more like a 'sports' sedan - but the TL (and Maxima) do suffer from a good deal of torque steer which I find annoying and possibly dangerous. The ride is definitely smoother and quieter on the Av with no discernable tugging of the steering wheel..
Avalon vs. TL - value - pretty much a wash, the Av can be cheaper but they are very close optioned the same way.
Avalon vs. TL - reliability - the jury is still out on the Av although when was it that Toyota last made a bad car? I now have 12k on mine and there has been no need to take it back to Toyota! The TL generally outstanding except for those pesky $4000.00 transmission replacements. Give the nod to the TL on this one only because first year cars should be a little more troublesome, even if mine hasn't.
Avalon vs, TL - economy - about a wash although I do get 27 mpg overall and can run regular if I want to give up a little power
Avalon vs. TL - desirability - TL because it is an Acura. Avalon will continue to have that rep. as an upsized Camry for old folks until the word gets out.
Also...the torque steer does not come in play in the 2005 TL. No tugging of the steering wheel on the TL. I believe that the difference is that there is no road feel in the Avalon (believe that consumer report indicated the Avalon is disconnected from the road?)
As for running regular...all cars with 'premium recommended' can run regular fuel. The engine computer can make that adjustment with ease.
I would say that it comes down to whether you prefer a 'touring' or a 'sports luxury' vehicle.
It is my understanding that the 05 and 04 TL's are not have tranny trouble, according to CR, and that torque steer is not a prob in AT.
As for the transmission....the first year of the current TL was in 2004. I have heard that there was an issue with the prior TL version...but I haven't heard that it continues with the current TL. Also...from what I understand...Acura is standing behind their product and has extended the warranty for those model years effected.
I am not at all saying that the Avalon is a bad choice. Just that it is somewhat difficult to compare the Avalon to others you have mentioned. In the most recent Consumer Report, they indicated that the 'Avalon cannot be compared to the other sports sedans (in the issue)' and that the steering 'feel is without feedback'. Now...that isn't a bad thing...just that the car was developed for certain drivers. And those drivers may find the M35, 550, etc to be harsh also.
I would consider the Avalon if I was in the market for a Lexus ES or even the Lexus 430...with the Avalon as great value. And I would consider the M45 with the Lexus GS430. Or the G35 with the TL. Each within their peer group. And if was in a different stage in life with different requirements.
Toyota/Lexus has always been on the soft side of things - what was the last car that Toyota ever produced that could run 6s 0-60 or qtrs under 15s? Not a performance brand just solid well made cars. The Av has changed that to the degree in that it will run with about anything out there or at least until you push it into some corners (again something most drivers don't do) where its size and softness takes over - which is why I chose the slightly firmer Touring. I would contend that ride quality and handling are mutually exclusive terms, meaning you are generally not going to have one without giving something back on the other. Whatever balance between the two we choose is a question of priorities and not necessarily a function of vehicle quality. From my perspective, I decided that over the long term I would appreciate the Av's softer and quieter ride over the TL's (and G35) better handling in situations I'm rarely in.
Styling opinions are much more subjective, the Av's reputation as an 'old folks' car unfortunate for what the car has become - Toyota may have done better calling it something else! Read somewhere that the average owner was 60 something prior to the '05 - this will change as the Avalon is rediscovered instead of summarily dismissed with comments like "I'm not that old yet". I would have said the same thing prior to actually driving it!
The main purpose of my post to clearify a few comments made. To reiterate...the transmission issue which you indicated is from a preexisting model (current version of the TL originated in 2004...you pointed to a pre-2004). Torque steer...in all (including the Avalon) front wheel driven cars...and as you indicated...only if pushed to the max which we typically do not achieve. Ride differences....as Consumer Reports indicates...the Avalon 'is not a sports sedan' and 'lacks feedback'....while the TL is a 'sports luxury' and in a different classification that has a taunt aggressive sports look and feel (the only other Toyota brand car that is comparable is the Lexus GS series).
I say we both agree that both are fine cars. I am just clearifying several points and facts which you made which may mislead the casual reader here regarding the TL.
I see reports that transmissions are being replaced on the 2004 TL'S.
Share your sources.
No issues and recalls for the 2005 TL transmission...only a minor general electrical fuse repair.
Here is my clearification and confirmation of my statement:
As for the 2005 Toyota Avalon...there is a recall for the steering column where there is the possibility of loss of steering control:
ON CERTAIN PASSENGER VEHICLES, THE STEERING YOKE WAS NOT WELDED TO THE STEERING SHAFT. IF THE VEHICLE IS OPERATED IN THIS CONDITION, THERE IS A POSSIBILITY THAT THE YOKE MAY COME OFF FROM THE SHAFT, AND COULD RESULT IN A LOSS OF VEHICLE STEERING CONTROL.
LOSS OF CONTROL OF THE VEHICLE COULD RESULT IN A CRASH.
That sounds pretty serious... :surprise:
1) TL trannies - well documented problems since the 2000 model year showing premature failures at about 30-40k. Asked an Acura service manager about this and he did say this was all solved with the 270hp models (what would you expect him to say). I do not know if this is true or not but it is probably a little too early to tell on the 04/05 models. Laws of physics will tell you that any high hp engine will be harder on a trans. - some designs will be better than others at handling it - the Avalon is therefore an obvious candidate for the same sort of problems - we will just have to wait and see how Toyota did.
2) torque steer - agree that all front wheel drive cars do torque steer to some degree (laws of physics again). Some mfgrs. don't hide it very well (ever drive a Maxima), some do better. Have yet to be able to 'feel' it with my Av, you really have to push a TL to feel it. Other factors equal, both the Av and the TL would benefit from rear wheel drive
Interesting comment on the GS series if you are judging a 'sports luxury' by the way a car looks - by the way it drives it is certainly less fitting of that definition than the TL which costs $20k (or more) less - a testament to how good the TL actually is. As far as my Av goes, I think of it more as an 'LS350' at a 30 grand savings and wonder why folks are spending that much more for a label.
The LS350 has many additional amenities beyond the Avalon. Now...is it worth the $30k kick? To some yes...me no.
As you stated...both the transmission and torque steer are non-issues. btw...I am not bothered. Just stating facts. See my previous post #141 regarding the transmission as reported by the official governmental nhtsa. No issues and recalls for the 2005 TL transmission...only a minor general electrical fuse repair. The 2005 Avalon has steering wheels that may come lose and create a crash.
CR is interesting and sometimes a little suspect in their priorities. That last comparison test had the M35 the best car ever tested with the Av in a supplemental test scoring higher than anybody else (STS, A6, GS300, RL) except for the M. These are all 50k cars, but in the luxury sedan category recap the Avalon and the TL are tied in 2nd (89 pts) besting not only these cars but also 530s, E320's etc. etc. The GS, if you read the article, was lauded for those typical Lexus virtues of reliability, fit/finish, ride/quietness and downgraded for what comes with that - a softer 'less sporty' feel. Same as what they had to say about the Av. I can't believe that CR actually thinks the Av and the TL to be better cars than the RL, 5 series, A6, E series or GS. Better values, certainly - better cars - give me a break.
But if anyone is interested in knowing the difference between an Avalon and LS430, go to the Lexus site and use the 'comparison' feature of the Lexus web site. Same for the other cars. (Pat...please don't delete this...I won't elaborate on the differences and the readers should know that there are real differences).
I have had no serious issues with my TL but I have never owned a car that rattles as much as the TL. My car currently has 42,000 miles on it. All of my cars prior have cost less as well.
I think the people who have a TL earlier in this post just are not recognizing the tourque steer for what it is. It is quite evident many times. Turning corners from a stop. Slowing to make a turn. Accelerating hard is quite obvious. The tourque steer is a daily issue and I do not drive fast. Also this TL wasn't put together as well as my two previous Accords. It does look great though. Nothing beats the DVD surround sound system if you can find good DVD A' discs. These are few and far between. The blue tooth phone system is great when it works properly which isn't often.
Both great cars but not really comparable except in price.
Really...both the TL and Avalon are great cars. Depends on what you want.
If you enjoyed your 2004 TL but concerned with the possibilities of rattles in your new car....give the RL a shot. I was rather impressed with not only the outstanding features which would rival a Lexus LS or GS. The RL is also very quite and smooth....which you can get for a $50k list price car about $43k fully loaded.
Appearance: Both great but different, subjective.
Power: TL=270 Avy=280. But you feel the power of TL more. Winner =tossup
Fit and finish: TL=not good, lots of rattles, more then any car I have ever owned. (I know the new ones are better. I agree as my friend has an 05 TL and it's quiet.) Avy=Very impressive. Only some minor malallignments. Winner=Avy
Paint: TL=my white car's bumpers were not the same color as the car. The front end chipped horribly. Avy= A small paint blemish from the factory over the right rear wheel well. Too soon to tell otherwise. Winner=remains to be seen but at least the Avy is the same color all over.
Leather: TL=smooth as butter Avy=Not as high quality but thicker and will probably last longer. Winner=tossup.
Inside appearance: TL=sporty Avy=luxary Winner=Tossup per preferance.
Road manners: TL=great around curves. Fun to drive. BAD TOURQUE STEER. Feel most road bumps. Not as quiet as the Avy. Rough over anything less then perfectly smooth pavement. Avy=Quiet as anything. Smooth with very little road noise. Feel almost no bumps. Slightly more disconnected from the road. Total luxary feel. Winner=Avy (subjective)
Toys: TL=Bluetooth phone worked but not well. DVD surround audio is EXCELLENT if you can find the discs you like. These are very few and far between. Mine was non-navi but I hear the navi's are great in them. Avy=AC controls on steering wheel as well. Better sound system (JBL Synthesis) when not in DVD surround mode. Better FM reception. Winner=TL
I would be happy to answer any specific questions from buyers considering both as well.
My preference so far is Avy. It is however still new so give me a year for a better idea.