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Toyota Avalon Limited vs Lexus ES 350



  • guestguest Posts: 770
    I have read several posts regarding the issue of Avalon vs Lexus.
    I don't expect anyone to agree, just our own observations.

    First we drove many hours to drive a lexus ES-350 with the premium package and all the bells and whistles. What a waste of time, the car was noisy and rough riding, yes it was pretty, but practical NO, it was difficult getting in and out of it, almost needed a shoe-horn so to speak. True we are not young, but certainly want a vehicle we be comfortable in.
    Now for the final conclusion: we own an Avalon, my opinion only, we would not trade our Avalon for a new lexus, which is to say the Avalon is superior to a ES-350 sedan. Saying nothing of the savings $$$$

    For those people who want the lexus Badge, all the more power to them. I hope you enjoy the vehicle, but I wonder if they considered the Avalon prior to purchasing.
  • zekeman1zekeman1 Posts: 422
    I have them both and both are two distinctively different vehicles with the Avalon being much like the 430; I don't believe they were meant to "compete" with one another. The Avalon has a very comfortable, almost squishy ride, and the 350 has a tighter suspension therefore not as floaty feeling. The Avalon is huge and you almost feel lost in it; I like them both. Both have positives and negatives and it's up to the consumer to decide which fits his comfort level and checkbook!
  • In my opinion the avalon looks much much better than the ES inside and outside , but the only thing i like in the ES is the bluetooth + Ipod AUX and the front headlight !
    Otherwise its fugly ! iam 21 years old and would never trade my avvy to the ladys car !
  • dreyfusdreyfus Posts: 24
    Wow! I'm 49 and wouldn't be caught dead in an Avalon as it looks too much like a grandpamobile (my teenagers concur). I think the ES350 is so much more sporty & sexy.

    It just goes to show you that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It's good we live in a time and place of choices instead of all having to buy the same black sedan.
  • You think a front wheel drive Luxury barge is sexy, and sporty?
  • tdohtdoh Posts: 298
    Well I'll give you that the ES 350 isn't really sporty by any means, but it's not as if the Avalon is necessarily any sportier than the ES just because it's RWD (I'll assume your comment was concerning the sportiness of the ES vs. Avalon since after all, this thread is regarding Avalon vs. ES 350 comparo).
  • zekeman1zekeman1 Posts: 422
    it's not as if the Avalon is necessarily any sportier than the ES just because it's RWD

    Avalon is RWD? You are incorrect.
  • Last week I purchased my second Avalon, a 2007 XLS with Navi and upgraded stereo. My previous Avalon was a 2000 XLS with all available options, except Navi. So far, I have not noticed significant differences between the two cars, except for the engine, which is more powerful but also quieter in the '07 version. The trunk seems a bit smaller in the '07, but I appreciate the practicality of a full-sized spare on an alloy wheel, which takes up some of the trunk space. I like the reclining back seats and flat back floor, which was a key feature for me for family trips with my two offensive lineman sons (just like the 10-hour trip to the inlaws for Christmas). The navigation system takes some time to learn, but once you understand the logic it is OK. I will be adding aftermarket Bluetooth and MP3 capability, but am holding off on the backup camera for now. I have read previous comments about the "floaty" ride, but when you drive on bad Canadian roads all year (potholes, frost heaving, tar strips, etc.), you appreciate the softer ride. I had no problems with traction on snow and ice in the past week (kept tire pressures at 35-37PSI as recommended in another Edmunds forum).

    I did check out the ES350, but the Lexus dealer here in Calgary wanted $6,000 more for essentially the same car as what I got in the loaded Avalon XLS. I paid a little extra for a 5-year, 120,000 km extended warranty, but the dealer took $1,000 off as loyalty discount, added 3M treatment, protection package, rubber mats and cargo liner at cost and free oil changes for as long as I own the car, plus I negotiated a sweet deal on my trade-in. After test driving both cars a few times, I agree the ES350 has a sportier ride, slightly classier interior and looks like an Avalon on Jenny Craig, but the "L" badge wasn't worth $6,000 to me.

    Anyone know of good internet sites for aftermarket Bluetooth and MP3 packages for the '07 Avalon?

    Also, is the moon roof deflector worth it? I haven't tried one before and an debating its practicality.

    BTW, the rubber mats are essential for drivers in snowy regions to keep the carpet clean.
  • luckylouluckylou Posts: 308
    Hi Roger , I have enjoy reading your post it answers many of my questions . I am leaning to get the 2007 Avalon Limited my main reason is the driver cushion extension that is only offer in the Ltd.
    Instead of children we have some big dogs and they always travel with us , I was wondering if the rear bench seat is removable , this I probably need to ask the service manager. If this is possible it will save money from buying an SUV.
    BTW what color is your Avalon ?
  • Hello Lou,
    I have a 2006 Limited and haul our Airdale/Lab around in the back seat on every drive. I made a 1/2" plywood platform that extends the width of the seat and covers it to within a couple of inches from the front seat backs. I put two hinged legs on the front ends for support and place two large, rolled-up towels under the platform at the rear edge to even the seat out. Covered the whole thing with a rug remnant from Home Depot and it works like a charm for taking Hank on our drives. To protect the upholstery, I drape an old cloth over the seat back and bottom.

    Actually, I made this platform four cars ago and just keep modifying it as necessary to fit each new one. Give it a shot.

    P.S. My blue Avalon is car #40 for me and the one I am most satisfied with. Beats out the LS 330 I had before it.
  • luckylouluckylou Posts: 308
    Thanks Dandydon.
    My thinking was because I have older dogs and found about the Avalon flat rear floor , will be easy in and out . If removing the rear seat is like brain surgery I will try your route.
    Maybe a few screws is all that is needed and will have a large area to accommodate a pair of Shepard / Lab . With the flat floor and no bench seat it would be great.
    Tomorrow I ' ll drop by the dealer and check with the Service Manager and see if it can be done.
    Also will come very handy while transporting rescue dogs .
    I owned a 1998 Avalon great car, till 2003 , so I am ready again for another one.
  • Hi Lou: The Avalon I purchased is the titanium metallic, with is silver with a slight hint of blue. It is a similar color to the silver 2000 Avalon XLS I had, but a little darker. I have not tried to remove the back seat yet, but I did test out the suspension, shocks and power when I went to the inlaws for Christmas. With my wife, 2 boys and myself, we had over 800 pounds of people on board. With suitcases and Christmas gifts, I figured the total load was close to 1000 pounds. The suspension never bottomed out once and the engine had lots of power for highway passing. In one passing situation, I kept my foot on the pedal too long (oops) and looked down to see the speedometer at 95 mph, with much more left. BTW, I didn't buy the Limited, because that version is not available in Canada, so I missed out on the extended power seat range, laser cruise control and bluetooth. Roger
  • luckylouluckylou Posts: 308
    Hi again
    In the past 2 or 3 months I have been waiting for the new Tundra. But as of lately specially since reading your post I feel that going the Avalon way is the more sensible way.
    The local dealership has a terrific service department and if I can swing a good price ,sometime this week I also will be driving an Avalon , I would like the Dark Blue with Graphite interior , plus a couple of option , the VSC and maybe the Nav. or XM radio.
    The Nav. option is very expensive so I don't know which way to go.
    Do you have any advice about the Toyota Nav. ??
    Thank for you help .
  • guestguest Posts: 770
    Lou: i have an 06 Limited with Nav and it is a very user "unfriendly" system compared to those in the Acura TL & Infiniti G35. Read some of the Navigation System Posts--and---go to the dealer and try it. The "joy stick" system is cumbersome. i know if I had it to do again, i'd jsut buy a $700-$800 Garmin! The VSC & XM radio are great options! Good luck!
  • luckylouluckylou Posts: 308
    Thanks Bob , I i'll read the Nav. post and follow up with the dealers.

  • Lou...let me tell you that you can't go wrong with either the avalon or the tundra.. I bought the XLS back in sept. and I simply love the car. My first "toyota" but certainly wont be my last.... also, my 23 year old son, just bought a new 2006 Tundra about a month ago. Its his 3rd truck.. he started with a ford, than gmc sierra and now the Tundra....he says no comparison..for him it's toyota from here on out.. so you see, we have both vehicles in our family... love em both.

  • luckylouluckylou Posts: 308
    Thanks Roland.
  • Hi Lou: As the previous posters have stated, the Avalon Nav system is not user friendly (in comparison to the Honda/Acura version) and sometimes directs you to use routes that are not your best or fastest option. I have tried it several times in the past 2 weeks and their suggested routes are often down roads with frequent stop lights, when a faster route option (such as a freeway) is ignored. On the positive side, the system quickly adapts to your new route when you do change to the faster or more efficient route option. Overall, I would give the system a C-, but I would defer to more veteran users. If you like the Avalon, choose one without the Nav system and look to an aftermarket Nav system if you want that option. A more important feature, in my opinion, is Bluetooth for hands-free calling. Check the Bluetooth discussion for suggested aftermarket options. Happy New Year! Roger
  • luckylouluckylou Posts: 308
    Roger , I have been reading the post about the Toyota Navigation and you are correct about the Nav. profiling . As my health have been failing my wife and I don't travel long distances or strange places anymore. I would rather have the parking sensors and the traction control instead of the Nav. and save the MSRP of $1900.00.
    I would also like the XM Radio , Body side molding ( you would think this would be standard), and maybe larger wheels and tires.
    Do you have an opinion about the larger wheels and tires ?? Size 18"
    Another annoying thing is Toyoguard for $699.00.
    For you and your family a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.
  • tdohtdoh Posts: 298
    Whoops, my bad...dunno what I was thinking. :blush:
  • Hi Lou: I think your decision on the Navi in the Avalon is wise, it is not worth the cost. I have never tried either the XM or Sirius radio service, so it is not a big deal for me, even though my XLS is wired for satellite radio. The traction control is a must for me, but I did not get the parking sensors. I did trade in a 2006 Honda Ridgeline for this Avalon, mainly because the Ridgeline was hard to park in the city and hard to see to change lanes. Based on what I have read in other posts, I am leaning towards getting the body side moldings. I kept the regular sized wheels and am not in favor of changing the wheel sizes, unless the vehicle is designed to handle those changes. I did purchase an extended warranty at dealer cost for 5 years and 120,000 kms. Cheers, Roger.
  • bobwileybobwiley Posts: 241
    Roger & Lou: I have the XM Radio and love it--NO COMMERCIALS and the choices of music/nesw/weather and sports is awesome! Best of all--I never lose a station!
  • wbb56wbb56 Posts: 38
    After driving an Avalon for the first time this weekend--I am almost ready to put a deposit on a fully loaded Limited (Nav, Bluetooth, etc..). I've owned and driven a lot of cars over 30 years--and the Avalon is one of the best, if not the best cars I've ever driven. The added bonus of limo-like interior space and a trunk that swallows up 2+ golf bags and push carts make it incredibly practical too.

    However, I am intrigued by the new '07 Lexus ES350 and would love to hear more from ES 350 owners about their experience with the car before I make my final decision to purchase. The price of the fully loaded Avalon LImited is $38k+ (before negotiation)--the Lexus ES 350-depending on options--seems close.

    Important features for me: Quality, comfort, performance, sound system, interior space, practicality (luggage space/trunk size), value, resale value. My wife drives a Volvo XC-90-so we have a large people hauler if necessary. But I routinely carry lots of "stuff", plus my 14 year old, and my new 5 week old (with huge car seat!), golf clubs, etc..etc.. And have been driving an SUV for years.

    I like the looks of both cars--and am driving the '07 ES later this week.

  • tdohtdoh Posts: 298
    Dunno if you've already made your decision, but based on your comments I'd say you should go w/ the Avalon--it is a bit more roomier than the ES 350, and price-wise is a relatively-better overall bargain when compared to the ES. The ES has the advantage over the Avalon in regards to some of the features you listed as being important to you, but it seems that interior space is a very important factor to you...hence my suggestion that you go w/ the Avalon.
  • netwonnetwon Posts: 53
    Just one note of caution. The Toyota Avalon (all styles/trim levels) cannot be factory equiped with Bluetooth despite having navigation.

  • Funny, I just picked up my new 2007 Avalon Limited with bluetooth installed. I ordered it with bluetooth. The dealer didn't have to do anything to it. It arrived from the port with it installed.
  • No offense, but according to Toyota, they don't offer Bluetooth. Are you talking about voice activation of the Nav system?
  • wbb56wbb56 Posts: 38
    They may say they don't offer it--but if you do a search for vehicles from their website--one of the options you can choose is Bluetooth. Not sure if this a regional thing or not-I'm searching the Southeast region. Could be an option that's installed at the Distribution center. I have spec'd several that include Bluetooth.
  • Yes, those options are added by SouthEast Toyota distributors.
  • dubldocdubldoc Posts: 15
    Both good cars, but size and price seem to be the most important factor to the Grandpa and Luggage crowd. Personally, I dont mind shelling out a few more bucks for a higher ranked brand with better customer service ratings, especially considering resale down the road and a better warranty. And did I mention the 350 is made in Japan while the Avalon is not? Could this be why Consumer Reports listed it as a higher preferance? If a few bucks means that much, try a Kia... ;) If size matters, don't give up your Crown Vic....
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