Model: 2004 to 2012 Toyota Avalon

Vehicle Type: Luxury Sedan

History/Description: The Toyota Avalon takes a place above the Camry in the Japanese automaker’s product lineup as a big, sophisticated luxury cruiser with a relatively simple goal: delivering an affordable taste of the motoring high-life to owners.

Toyota packed the Avalon full of some of the market’s most sought-after features and luxury amenities. Updates and face-lifts were applied to keep the model fresh and competitive, with 2011 and newer models featuring revised exterior looks, improved feature content, and more premium interior design touches.

Driver support systems include traction control, advanced brake assist functionality, stability control and tire pressure monitoring. Seven airbags, including a front knee bag for the driver, and front side curtain airbags for both rows, are also standard. All Avalon units are front-wheel drive, preferred by many drivers for all-season stability.

In the used marketplace, the Avalon will offer up hardware like a CD-changer, JBL audio system, self-dimming rearview mirror, a sunroof, heated leather seats, in-cabin air filtration, navigation, Bluetooth and automatic climate control.

All last-generation Avalon models got Toyota’s 3.5L V6 under the hood, mated to an automatic transmission. Horsepower figures sit between 268 and 280 depending on the year in question, and transmissions got five or six gears. From 2008 and on, the Avalon’s six-speed unit helped boost performance and fuel economy.

What Owners Like: First and foremost, owners on the internet tend to rave about the roominess, comfort, luxury and quality imparted by the Avalon driving experience. Long-haul comfort, acceleration, and bang-for-the-buck are also highly rated. The up-level audio system is said to deliver a noteworthy listening experience, too.

What Owners Dislike: Numerous complaints surfaced in online Avalon owner circles about the navigation system, occasional clumsy or harsh gear shifting and bland cabin and body styling.

Here’s a look at some owner reviews on

The Test Drive: Avalon seems, largely, to have impressed its owner’s community with reliable and trouble-free operation, though a few checks of any used unit you’re considering should be considered mandatory.

Though relatively inconclusive, some owners report frustrating and hard-to-track electronic issues with some of Avalon’s interior electronics. As such, spend some time ensuring everything inside the car functions as expected. Extra attention is advised for the navigation system, climate controls, all cluster lights, and the audio system. Pair your Bluetooth phone, set a navigation destination, try all of the steering-wheel mounted controls and fiddle with the climate system for a few minutes, to be safe.

Shoppers should also pay attention to the used Avalon’s front end – noting any pulling, vibrating or shimmying through the steering wheel that could indicate an alignment issue, or a possible issue with a CV joint or wheel bearing. Note any abnormal tire wear that’s heavier on the inside or outside of the treads, which could indicate an alignment problem, too. Here’s some more reading.

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