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Toyota Avalon Limited vs Lexus ES 350



  • kenb757kenb757 Posts: 149
    The 2011 ES 350 recommends 87 octane, same as the Avalon. Same engine, same output now. In both cars, you might gain about six hp by using premium, if you want to spend the money.
  • texasestexases Posts: 7,897
    That sounds like a similar approach Ford is now taking with their latest V6 and V8 engines: list hp for regular, and indicate that premium will net a few more hp.
  • I recently purchased a 2011 Avalon Limited, soon I discovered the seat was very uncomfortable after 15-20 minutes of driving. I kept feeling lumps in my drivers seat.
    I brought it back to the dealer and they advised it was caused by the cooling fan(s) in the seat. That it is a known issue by Toyota and has NO FIX.
    I then drove a new Avalon (w/cooled seats) and it had the same problem. My friend and the Toyota dealer also feel the fan lumps.
    I have set-up a case file with Toyota.
    Has anyone heard of this problem?
    Please advise. Thanks
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Input from a friend:

    It really depends on the fuel table coding. In most cars you will only have a single fuel table that supports 87 octane and therefore anything else is a waste of money. But, if you have DUAL fuel table that is properly calibrated you will see a difference. This one of the changes we add to the GM ECM tune I install it in the 8.1L V8 used in RV's.
  • robsisrobsis Posts: 162
    Haven't noticed this on our 2011 Ltd. I wonder if it is variable, vehicle to vehicle? Ours is quite comfortable on long trips....
  • snowypinessnowypines Posts: 1
    edited February 2011
    Yes, my 2008 Avalon Limited is the same with the cooling fan motor poking me on the right side. I finally had to buy a seat cushion, which defeats the purpose of the cooled and heated seats. It is quite uncomfortable without the cushion. But to be fair, my wife does NOT feel it when driving. Therefore, the weight of the person may affect how much they feel it, and since I weight quite a bit more than my wife, that could be it. But couldn't they design a better seat on such a nice car?
  • Lumps in seat are real. This is a "Known Issue" to Toyota.
    It is not the cooling fan, the single fan is located center front by your crotch.
    After my consistent complaint the Toyota Rep meet me at dealer and dealer (I was present) took apart the drivers seat. The problem is the spring(s) are felt by anyone over approx. 200lb. Our weight compresses the foam to the point the bottom springs are contacted & your feel them.
    The fix (done on my 2011') is to add a layer of padding.
    The seat cover comes off fairly easy, after the seat is removed.
    The added padding is not put over the fan area; so both the heat (a heater pad) & fan will fuction properly. Being a known issue, why doesn't Toyota correct this, I ask? It's simply based on # of complaints, I was advised.
  • cathyouelcathyouel Posts: 4
    edited March 2011
    Just bought a 2011 Avalon and my husband and I have noticed the exact same driver's seat discomfort!!! Frustrating! We did a LOT of research and test drives, and decided on Avalon as the rest of the car is gorgeous and exactly what we wanted! Did not know exactly what was causing the discomfort ( my husband especially notices it after driving 30 minutes or more, as he is 6'4" tall and 225lbs), and was talking to the service manager at our dealership this evening about what to do next to fix this( ...we really don't want another car!!!). Reading this post was incredibly helpful....sounds like we need to get the Toyota rep to our dealership and work it out ASAP.

    Question: Do you have any more details on the fix that we can describe to our dealership/Toyota rep??? Is there a "standard" fix, or was this a custom solution to your problem? Toyota says there is no Service campaign or bulletin on this as of this writing. How much additional padding did you add? My husband is tall and wants more padding, but not too much or headroom will become an issue! Any help/details/insight appreciated!!!! Thanks!
  • Get your Toyota factory Rep. involved. They may try to blow you off. Your husband will be very happy with the fix. It was a custom fix that the Orland Park, IL. Toyota rep can explain to your area rep. They can talk. This is a "Known Issue" to Toyota. Once fixed you & husband will love it.
    Best Luck,
  • This is great info and very timely! I am speaking to the dealership's GM today. He gave us another 2011 Avalon to try out for a couple of days to see if that car was any better. Guess what? It too had the exact same driver's side discomfort in the seat bottom. I am going to try to convince him to get the Toyota Rep involved. By any chance do you have any contact info (Name, number, etc) of who you dealt with at Toyota Orland Park IL so I can connect them???? Once again thanks for your've given me hope that this can get resolved the right way!!!
  • I reply because I felt your pain (in butt). Your dealer may not be aware of this Avalon "factory KNOWN issue". Be insistent - the problem really exists.
    Ask your dealer to get Toyota Rep. involved. Both should contack Mr. Thomas Barton at Orland Toyota (Orland Park, IL.) 708-429-3900. The Toyota Rep for Orland Toyota is Mr. Melvin Maw. He should have done a report on this work and filed it with Toyota..
    ps: I also drove another 2011 Avalon, they ALL have same fault in seat.
    Best Luck
  • Jim,

    You have no idea how much I appreciate your quick replies and the information you just provided!!! This is fantastic!!! I will DEFINITELY let you know how I make out on this. LOVE the car and just want this fixed...Thank you! Cathy
  • Cathy and Jim,

    I have been following your dialogue, as I have the same problem with my 2011 Avalon that I bought in February. I am in the process of having the driver's seat repaired in the same manner as had Jim. I was wondering if the passenger's seat should also be re-padded, as it is only slightly more comfortable than the driver's seat.

    Jim, I think I also feel something hard against my tailbone that feels like it resides in the bottom of the seat back as opposed to the seat cushion. I do not know if you experienced that as well. All I do know is that I feel pain in my coccyx, butt and upper thighs and sure hope this re-padding addresses all of those issues.

    Thanks to both of you for having shared. It has been extremely helpful.
  • Cathy & Sylvester, Please keep me informed of your out come(s). The pasenger seat seems not to have this problem (or as eventent), I don't know why, as I would thing it is a mirror image of the drivers seat. I feel the main fault of seat is it can't handle a weight over >200lb.
    Although this may not be called a safety issue, Toyota should advise dealers of this problem and supply a FIX (a proper cut out of correct density material to be added) for their customers over 5'8" and/or weighting over 200 pounds.
  • marco33marco33 Posts: 15
    edited March 2011
    Hi Jim & Sylvester,

    Cathy's husband here, Marc. Cathy and I both feel that the passenger side also has an issue, but it is not nearly as severe or pronounced as the driver's seat. I am not sure why. Would have thought the seats are identical, but I have noticed one definite difference. Driver's has extended thigh support adjustment ( not sure what Toyota calls this) but passenger does not. You can basically extend the front edge of the driver's seat bottom to provide more thigh support, but you can't do that on the passenger side. Otherwise, I think the seats are identical. Maybe this is the reason the passenger side is not as bad ????? Maybe there is a motor bracket or something for the driver's side that is NOT there on passenger side??? Just my theory. Bottom line is that Toyota should fix BOTH seats, but driver's side is really our primary concern at this point, since driver comfort could potentially result in safety concern (i.e. shifting in seat at speed to get comfortable)

    BTW, totally agree on the >200lb criteria Jim mentioned. Others who weigh less don't seem to have the same complaint, which would seem to make sense. However, I would want to make sure ALL those drivers <200 lbs drive the car for at least an hour first!!! Then if they don't feel the discomfort, I would be convinced!!!

    Jim, our dealership GM is reaching out to the contacts you provided in IL...he has been VERY cooperative and receptvie to what we have to say on this matter. I remain optimistic!!!! Will definitely keep you and Sylvester updated. Thanks again for the help and suggestions!!!
  • marco33marco33 Posts: 15
    Hello Jim,

    Bad news to report. My Toyota GM ( or service manager) called the Orland Park IL contacts you provided. The bottom line that I got back was that the fix that they did to your Avalon driver's was not "sanctioned" by Toyota. They told me they replaced your seat with a "Sequoia seat, but that was not a "Toyota-approved" solution from a warranty viewpoint. Can you comment? My dealership GM is telling me he can't unilaterally change the seat or it potentially voids warranty and/or safety ( air bag). This makes sense on one hand, as I can understand he cant just go and start modifying things without Toyota's approval. So how did you get to your Sequoia seat solution??? Who suggested it??? Thanks!
  • marco33marco33 Posts: 15
    edited March 2011
    Hello again Jim,

    Tried calling the contact (Thomas Barton) at Orland Park IL Toyota where you had your Avalon seat fixed. Unfortunately, he no longer works there.!!! I am trying to resolve your description of the fix ( added padding to your seat) vs what my dealership GM told me after they talked to Orland ( replaced with a Sequoia seat???). I am hoping to meet the factory rep this week and having this info would be really helpful. Is there anyone else at Orland you dealt with that is familiar with your repair that I could speak with ????
  • marco33marco33 Posts: 15

    Sorry I have not posted in a while. We are still struggling with Toyota on this issue. They sent their rep- - very nice and professional - - but he was not very forthcoming with any information. He did his internet research and did say Toyota is "aware" of all these complaints, and that there is " alot out there" this issue. He also acknowledged the lumps that my wife and I are feeling in the seat, but officially states there is no defect and that the seats conforms to its design! He has spoken directly to your Orland Toyota rep, but he told me your "fix" was "dealer-sponsored" and not anything that Toyota devised or sanctioned. So my dealership won't do for me, what yours did for you!!! ugh.

    What Toyota HQ has told me TWICE now is to fill out out the claim form in the glove box with all the manuals, and start the third party arbitration process. Basically, I have been advised that I can claim the full price of the car and see what I get! Wouldn't inserting a 1/2 piece of foam for $20 between the frame and seat bottom make more sense for everyone? The ONLY reason I am going though all this aggravation is because my wife and i love....I mean LOVE.... the rest of the car....its a home run ( except for the seat lump). Customer loyalty should not be this hard...(Toyota if you are reading this PLEASE invite me to a customer focus group!!!)

    BTW, that "lump" in my case (Avalon Limited) is a small rigid plastic air plenum that connects the flexible air hose to the blower motor for cooled seats. The plastic plenum is a "connector" ( somewhat similar to the end of a garden hose) that directs cool air into a hole in the seat bottom padding. There are built in air ducts in the seat pad that direct air through the holes in the leather. What I am feeling is that rigid plastic "connector". I have asked the dealership to remove that plastic piece, as I dont car about cooled seats. But so far no luck. No one wants to touch it!

    That's the update! I'll keep you posted!
  • Hi Marco, I was wondering what your out come was, sad how Toyota treats their customers - "Fill out the form". There IS a problem with the seat, I & you call it a defect; Toyota calls it "A Know Issue". I guess my dealer DID do me a favor.
    I advise you just get it fixed by a auto upholstery shop. As you correctly stated the material used for the fix won't be much money, mainly labor.
    I can't tell you the thickness or density of the material- for I did not see it.
    The upholstery guy when he opens the seat (and talks to you) will figure out the correct fix. I estimate the time to remove seat, fix(add padding) & reinstall at 2 hour +/-. The seat cover comes off easy. You will keep heat & cooling.
    My seat now is perfect, yours will be also. Soon you will forget this pain in the [non-permissible content removed] ordeal.
    I wonder the real number of complaints on this problem., how many other forums is this talked about.
    Keep it touch - best luck.
    Jim B.
    Frankfort, IL.
  • robin5robin5 Posts: 19
    I have a 2011 Avalon and there are NO lumps in my seat. Believe me, I would feel it if anyone would. What I can't stand is how the car doesn't sense the remotes. I've been complaining since 12/2010 and in 8/2011 finally insisted they show me they, "Work every time". The car is in for the second time and they can't figure out what's wrong, but at least they're trying. Or say they are.
  • I have been reading about the lump in seat problem. I have a 2005 Avalon without heated/cooled seats and have no problem. I have noticed that the interior of the Avalon has changed. I sat in a 2012 Avalon in the showroom the other day and didn't notice a problem. but I wasn't looking for one at that time.
  • dan445dan445 Posts: 2
    I just picked up a 2013 Avalon Ltd with heated and cooled seats. Not only do I have the piece of plastic near the rear of the seat (cooler connection), the seat itself is very uncomfortable - lumpy is a good word.

    Car has 300 miles on it. Love it, but very uncomfortable and I drive 1 hr each way to work.

    I'm guessing Toyota won't help? Answer seems to be to take it to a car upholstery company and get another layer of cushion installed? I would do that if it works. Love the car so far.

    Will come back after my visit to Toyota next week.
  • dan445dan445 Posts: 2
    Good news!

    Went back to Toyota dealer with a print out of this thread along with another posted elsewhere. They did the right thing! They sent the car out to a seat upholsterer and they added a little foam. Took one day; got a loaner. Seems to be fine now. They said it was not a "sanctioned" fix, but were going to try anyways. Seems to have worked - still have cooling and heating in seat.

    My 4th Toyota in 10 years. Way to go DCH of Mamaroneck NY!!
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Went back to Toyota dealer with a print out of this thread along with another posted elsewhere. They did the right thing! They sent the car out to a seat upholsterer and they added a little foam. Took one day; got a loaner. Seems to be fine now. They said it was not a "sanctioned" fix, but were going to try anyways. Seems to have worked - still have cooling and heating in seat.

    My 4th Toyota in 10 years. Way to go DCH of Mamaroneck NY!!

    I have also ran into this kind of service at Toyota dealers. Pretty amazing in these times. I lost my only key to an Avalon once that was 10 years old. Towed it to the dealer - where I DIDN'T buy it, and they put a new computer in the car and gave me 2 new keys, with 100,000 miles on the car. I was stunned!
  • ushy66ushy66 Posts: 366
    edited June 2013
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    I'm sure your dealership's service department would appreciate your thanks in the form of a nice review for them:

    Plus, other owners searching for a good dealership in your area will see the good review and hopefully reward them with more business. :)


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • allavalonsallavalons PennsylvaniaPosts: 67
    I currently own an 2005 Avalon Limited with approximately 80,000 miles and decided it was time to replace. My wife was pretty well set on a new Avalon because she loves her current one. I did a lot of research and told her we would go test drive both an ES 350 and Avalon then decide which one we liked best, with my wife having the overriding vote since she drives this vehicle more than I do.
    The dealerships are less than 2 miles apart so it was easy and quick to do the comparison drives. We started with the Lexus, my wife wanted all the bells and whistles so the car was in the $43K+ range and the Avalon had a $41K MSRP for comparison. We drove both cars over basically the same roads, used the ECO/Normal and Sport modes in each. Because of the comments concerning the new Avalon ride I made sure we went over some fairly rough back road and well as interstate highway.
    The 350 had Mich and the Avalon had Bridgestones, but the 350 we test drove was not the color we wanted so when we talked deal we specified that the car we wanted had to have Mich and they agreed to swap out if needed at no additional cost. The Toyota dealer said they could try but that was a $450 hit to their deal. I also wanted the protective film, again the Lexus dealer threw that in on the deal ($400 option if dealer installed) but again the Toyota dealer said that would again be a hit to their profit on the deal.
    The next issue was the financing 1.9 for the Lexus but 2.9 on the Avalon (Toyota dealer said it would cost them $400 to buy down the rate to 2.0% which was the lowest they could go).
    Finally it came down to the bells and whistles my wife wanted/liked.
    1st Lexus has power adjustments to steering wheel tilt/telescope vs Avalon manual. Not a biggie but with the memory function we don't have to change manually each time we change drivers.
    2nd Lexus had park assist which beeps when approaching objects front or real (like poles or guard rails when parking. Avalon not an option at any price or package period.
    3rd Lexus was instantly comfortable, quiet and roomy (2013 increased to 111 inch wheel base same as Avalon) for rear seat room, color combinations, while subjective added to the roomy feel. The Avalon definitely is smaller than the 2005, the salesman tried to explain there was more distance between our bodies and the doors for the side curtain airbags, but overall it was more cramped side by side, and the salesman offered without our comment 1st that they had reduced the back seat leg room, fore to aft.
    4th and this was the defining issue, was the overall ride. The Toyota salesman tried hard to sell the feel of the road, etc, etc. but he admitted after we discussed the deal, that he said to himself "OH SH*T" when I told my wife to take a side road that I knew had rough pavement that the Lexus handled flawlessly. The Avy seats felt hard like sitting on a board, the ride was harsh and every uneven surface transmitted itself into the ride. Both were quiet and responsive but the ride and smaller inside room were the killers.
    While we decided privately without the salesman around, my wife that loved her AVY and wouldn't trade it unless she got all the aforementioned bells and whistles said she was so sad at what they did to the Avalon for 2013. Not the grill thing, not the interest rate/pricing, but how they had abandoned the things that made the AVY what it has always been about.
    Once we finished the deal, the Toyota dealer could not match the deal on the Lexus, I even gave then the numbers from the other dealer but there was too much for them to overcome, not to mention the Lexus as more than the Toyota standard 3 year 36K mile warranty (Lexus is 4 Yr) and with the addins Lexus offered Toyota was not willing to take such a skinny profit.
    That and the fact that the AVY could not provide the options my wife felt were her deal breakers made our decision easy. My wife for the 1st time ever is excited and loves the new Lexus even though we won't have it for 2 weeks (just coming into port on the 8th of August, another positive the Lexus is built in Japan to their controlled high standards) which if the wife is happy then I'm delirious because if there is ever anything wrong, this was her decision more than mine.

    Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to try to provide a recent objective comparison, the experience with both brands, dealers and cars, and other than MSRP, rates, and options without getting to the specific offers, which again depends on negotiation skills, dealer cooperation and approach to sales, not to get into final price. I wanted to show value, real and perceived, because everyone values different aspects of a vehicle with differing importance. I was very surprised that I was able to negotiate a deal on the Lexus (and had never purchased a car from this dealer before) that the Toyota dealer, who I have purchased 5 cars from since 2003 (they have 8 different car lines) could not match, not even taking the issues with ride into consideration.
  • Thanks for the detailed description of your testing and buying experience. It just goes to show that it doesn't matter what the experts (most automotive magazines and Consumer Reports) think, it's mostly your own subjective experience that counts.

    A couple of additional comments: All things being equal, Lexus dealers will treat you and your car *much* better when you go in for service. Some adjust their rate schedule accordingly, but they seem to be polite -- maybe obsequious -- and should offer you a "free" loaner, wash and perhaps detail your car without extra charge, etc. (Based on my experience as owner of an Avalon and an ES330.)

    Once you know what car and options you want, however, you can nearly always get a better deal by getting online quotes from sites like this one or others and planning to buy at the end of a given month, perhaps quarter, to increase the chances of a fleet manager offering a better deal in order to make or exceed a quota for that period. I verified this personally when I bought my wife an Accord Coupe several years ago.

    Finally, speaking of the Accord, several Avy fans on this forum have mentioned the redesigned 2013 Accord in a positive light. The loaded "Touring" version (not like the Avy Touring model) may be more like the old (2012) Avalon than the 2013 Avalon is, in terms of room, comfort, features, etc... with considerably better handling. If I were in the market today, I would certainly take the wife for a test drive before taking delivery of the new ES, if for no other reason than to satisfy my curiosity.

    PS: My experience with the local Honda dealer is equivalent to that at the Toyota dealer: The service departments are adequate but they all overcharge and try to upsell unneeded services. They do the same at the Acura dealer (we replaced the Accord with an Acura TSX) and, to be candid, at Lexus, too, but Lexus provides the best "customer experience". At Acura, they wash the car but don't dry it. What's with that?

    PPS: I was shocked to read, in the latest Consumer Reports, that they found the new Chevy Impala superior to the new Avalon. I'm skeptical, but again, I'd drive one if I were in the market for a new car today. And, if money is no issue, one word: Tesla.
  • i would of searched for a 2012 avalon.miles would of been extremely low.beautiful ride.lots of space.and you would of easily saved 10,000$ easily.just my opinion
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    I find it interesting that when some new models arrive, publications rave and rave. Then miraculously, after some months go by, all of a sudden their opinion has changed and some things are not so great compared to something else. Makes me wonder if they try to promote the new product for a time. Can't wait to see what they say about the Impala down the road, but I hope it really is that good. The big three have made great strides. Too damn bad it took them 30-40 years to get their head out of where the sun doesn't shine, but you can't fix a problem if you insist there isn't one. Maybe they will actually get to the top of the pile, product wise, yet. We drove the CTS. Did not like it. Drove the ATS. Loved it. I see hope and can't wait to drive the new CTS. BTW, we have an 08 BMW 528i.

    Good job om the comparison.
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