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Acura TL vs. Toyota Avalon



  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    I want warp speed!!! or is it wrap speed? :P
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    Was looking to get out of years of SUVs, wanted a sports sedan that was comfortable, fun to drive, and provided reasonable economy. Shopping list (in order): TL, G35, Maxima, 300. The Avalon not even on my list - until I stopped by a Toyota dealer and actually drove a 2005 Touring.
    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.
  • delmar1delmar1 Posts: 744
    Ahh...those transmission replacements are not inherent in the current version of the TLs. I believe it was in the year 2000?

    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.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    delmar1 - torque steer - not the one I drove - most apparent accelerating hard out out a corner - also reference some current road tests in R&T and C&D which do mention it. In the TL, however, most drivers would never push it to that point. You are right, however, they are different vehicles - kind of depends on what you like. Actually, of all the cars I 'interviewed' I would tell you that the M35 was the best balance between a 'tourer' and a 'sports sedan' with the 530 a close second. The M was something about $45k, the BMW $52k both beyond what I wanted to spend or pay to maintain (BMW). My buddies 2003 225hp TL just had its transmission replaced at 30k miles(warranty) - and this is his wife's car - so I'm not sure that Acura has successfully fixed thier transmission problems.
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    When my wife was looking for a car, we checked out the Avalon, I my wife took one look at the car and said "I'm not yet!" :P However, we test drove and I liked it's power, but not it's feel, but overall I rank it up there with the best large sedans. I would buy an Avalon over a Lexus any day.

    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.
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    When my wife was looking for a car, we checked out the Avalon, I my wife took one look at the car and said "I'm not old yet!" I meant to say. I am tired, had to work late. :cry:
  • delmar1delmar1 Posts: 744
    captain2....yes...torque steer has received press coverage in R&T along with C&D for all if not most fwd cars. It could occur if really screeching hard out of a turn (if pushing the car to its limit) or if rabbit starting the car. It occurs when there is extreme torque. I have jumped on the pedal and have cornered hard on several occasions and I haven't found it in my TL (and I have heard from frisconick the same). As your mentioned, "most drivers would never push it to that point."

    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.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    Toyota really could have upstaged its competitors by simply making the Av rear wheel drive - the engine/transmission in rear wheel drive already existing in some of their trucks. True performance cars of almost any type - rear wheel drive.

    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!
  • Check out Toyota's GS 430- that engine is something.
  • delmar1delmar1 Posts: 744
    I am not dismissing the Avalon...and I honor your decision to purchase one. I always say that one should purchase a car based upon needs and desires and I am sure you made the correct decision.

    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 pointed to a pre-2004). Torque 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 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.
  • Clarify.

    I see reports that transmissions are being replaced on the 2004 TL'S.
  • delmar1delmar1 Posts: 744
    I have not seen such and have not heard a peep about the 2005s on the boards.

    Share your sources.
  • delmar1delmar1 Posts: 744
    You got my interest I went to the offical governmental site for recalls to look into the supposition that there is something going on with the 2005 TL transmissions.

    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:


    That sounds pretty serious... :surprise:
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    a couple of really non issues seem to be bothering you:
    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.
  • delmar1delmar1 Posts: 744
    The GS suspension system is totally different than the Avalon...and it is noticable in its ride. Just check out the consumer report on that....not just by looks.

    The LS350 has many additional amenities beyond the Avalon. it worth the $30k kick? To some 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.
  • nimiminimimi Posts: 249
    . . . and reviewing further on the recall notice, the "potential" number of vehicles affected is 4,855; hardly an issue for the model line as a whole.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    was speaking, of course, of the LS430 - there is no such thing as a LS350 -being about the same size as the Av and having the same general ride character. look at what's on a 'Limited' for about $35k, you will be hard pressed to find a lot of amenties missing.
    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.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    let's keep in mind we are comparing the TL to the Avalon and all of these other vehicles aren't really part of the conversation ...
  • delmar1delmar1 Posts: 744
    You are absolutely correct Pat....stick to the forum discussion...

    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 an 04 TL and am about to buy a 06 Avalon.

    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.
  • delmar1delmar1 Posts: 744
    If you go to the TL problems and solutions forum...and other similar will find that you are correct that the 2004 TL had torque steer (which you own). And yet the 2005 does not...especially in the automatic transmission. And the 2006 will include further enhancement to mitigate whatever torque steer.

    Really...both the TL and Avalon are great cars. Depends on what you want.
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    Can't fault you for wanting an 06 Avalon, it's a great car. However the 05 TL is a big improvement over the initial year 04. You might want to test drive an 05 or an 06, you might be surprised. I have had my 05 for 6 months, and not one rattle, and no torque steer, and I do drive fast. :P
  • I'm sure you guys are right. My friend has an 05 TL and has had no rattle issues at all. Is really my fault for being an early adopter. Even with those issues I enjoyed my TL. I'm glad to hear they are continuing to improve the TL. I considered the RL instead of the Avalon but didn't want to take a chance on a 43,000 set of rattles. :surprise:
  • delmar1delmar1 Posts: 744
    Glad that you did enjoy your 2004 TL overall and understand that the 2005 has been enhanced. Yeah...I tend not to purchase the first year of newly released car versions (in fact here is another tip for home purchases as I used to be CFO of a homebuilder. Models and phase 1 are not the best as that is where they are fine tuning home layouts...moving windows, conduits, etc).

    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.
  • I looked very long and hard at the Avalon. I own a 2001 XLS and I understand about the ride, reliability, etc of the Avalon. I wanted a 05 Limited (Loaded) but, the best price that I could find was $34,695.00. I jjust purchased a 05 TL AT w/Navi for $32,650.00. When I compare the two cars, I have high horsepower, leather, XM, and Navi in both cars but, I also have $2,000.00 in the pocket that will now go for the golf clubs. Both cars are great, I just wish that Toyota dealers would understand that money is not cheap and we (buyers) do have choices. Maybe in 3 years, I can get a deal on the Avalon but for now, I'll enjoy the new TL and Golf Clubs ;)
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    I agree sticky, and the TL is much more fun to drive than the Avalon. I test drove an Avalon and liked it very much, but the TL felt much better, especially when cornering.
  • Okay here is my comparo after owning the 06 Avalon for 9 days (not long enough I know) and owning the 04 TL for a year and a half:

    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.
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    They are both great cars, but the one think that bothered my about the Avy is it's size, it's just too big. This is very evident if you are trying to find that rare parking space in San Francisco. I could just get a Civc. :P (I think the Civc is a fine car BTW)
  • The civic is a great car. I considered one just for the fuel economy. I tell you though while the Avy is bigger. It turns in a tighter circle and is easier to park then the TL. The TL's turning radius is not good.
  • delmar1delmar1 Posts: 744
    I bought my TL because it is a blast to drive ... I spend considerably more time driving than parking.
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