Last post on Apr 21, 2013 at 5:02 AM
You are in the Toyota Avalon
What is this discussion about?
Toyota Avalon, Interior, Sedan
#1419 of 3629 2001 Avalon XL-1 year Report
Apr 10, 2002 (11:05 am)
I’ve now had my 2001 Avalon XL for just over 1 year now. I now have 13,569. miles on it. The following is my report on how it’s doing. Overall, everything is just the same as it was the first week that I had the car. It has not been back to the dealer for any warranty repairs. But that doesn’t mean it’s a great car that I’m really satisfied with. Here are the highlights:
1) I check the gas mileage with every fillup. For around town, my average comes to 23.90mpg. I live in Florida where there is warmer weather, so the engine can run with a leaner mixture in the mornings, unlike northern areas. Last summer, I made a 5,000 mile trip from Fla. to VA. and then to the Chicago area and back to Fla. The average mileage for the whole trip (which included going through a lot of towns and cities) came to 29.27mpg. This is only 1.5 mpg better than my Chevy Venture minivan. That’s because the Avalon has only a 4 speed auto transmission, while GM’s have a 5 speed automatic. Toyota needs to put in a 5 speed automatic like they did with the new Lexus ES300. But overall, I have no complaints about the gas mileage. I burn premium gas in my car because, unlike the rest of you, I COULD tell the difference in power between regular and premium.
2) The engine is very smooth and quiet, which I like. What’s NOT smooth and quiet is the exhaust system which emits a certain vibration and noise when taking off. Most Toyota owners would think nothing of this. I just bring it up because on my Chevy minivan, the exhaust was completely silent and vibration-free.
3) The engine, while quick from 0 to 60, lacks sufficient low-end torque at low rpm’s. Toyota knows the problem. That’s why they purposely put in more low-end torque in their Lexus LS430 V-8 engine.
4) My biggest problem with the car is excessive road noise over very coarse roads. Unfortunately, here in Florida, most of our roads are very coarse. The radio in my car sounds too loud when stopped, and at speeds over 30, I can scarcely hear it and have to turn up the volume. Why don’t their radios have automatic volume controls like my Chevy had? I thought the wimpy General tires on the car were no good, so I switched to the superior Michelin XOne tires. Result? –No difference at all.
5) On windy days on the Interstates, the car seems unstable to me and requires a lot of steering corrections. Coming up behind trucks, the car tends to shimmy and rapidly dart from side to side. I must say though, my Chevy Venture handled exactly the same. XL’s have the narrower 65 series tires as opposed to the wider 60 series tires used in the XLS models. The XLS also comes with 16" wheels instead of 15's. So the XLS models might handle and steer better.
6) The engine races in the morning (1400 rpm in Park) when first starting out, much like cars of yesteryear before fuel injection. I wasn’t used to this, as Ford and GM cars seems to idle normally when cold, but I’m used to it now.
7) There’s a slight “extra noise” heard in the front end when going over bumps at slow speeds. My Chevy did the same thing. I guess it’s normal for front wheel drive, but rear wheel drive does not make this noise.
8) Starting out cold in the mornings, the transmission refuses to shift from 2nd to 3rd gear unless the engine is going at least 2600 rpm., even during very light acceleration. After 3 minutes, when the engine reaches a certain temp., the transmission shifts normally again. A friend of mine drives a 2001 Sienna, and he reports the exact same thing.
9) The car seems to grunt a little when first taking off from a stop. The transmission seems a little too tight to me. That could be the cause of the exhaust vibration when starting out. Also, it seems reluctant to downshift at mid speeds around 30 or so. I’ll take a GM transmission any day.
10) Every once in a blue moon, the volume on the radio will change on its own, but it’s so infrequent, that’s not been a problem with me.
11) There are occasional slight rattles in the dash and in the seatbelt anchor in the pillar between the driver and rear passenger side windows.
12) I went back to the dealer complaining about #2, #6, #7, and #8 above. They dismissed all 4 of my complaints.
13) Recently, I got to drive a friend’s 2000 Avalon XLS over the same roads I drive on. The exhaust noise was significantly less than my car. It has the wider 60 series tires, and I expected it would have even more road noise than my car, but to my surprise, there was noticeably LESS road noise than my car. But her car was also far from perfect. It had a very loud rattle in the right-hand side of the dashboard. Also, I noticed it had significantly less power than my car. She burns regular gas, but the main reason is that for the 2001 models, Toyota upped the horsepower to 210.
14) While the car has been reliable mechanically, my overall satisfaction with the car is lower than other cars I’ve owned. My overall highest satisfaction was with my antiquated, 1995 Chevy Astro van which I purchased new. It had some rattle problems, but was very good in all other respects.
15) Would I buy another Avalon? It’s doubtful, but it’s too early to say. The XLS model seemed to be quieter overall than my XL and that would be my choice of Avalon today. But I wonder if I’d be better off buying a 3 year old, used Lexus LS430 or a 2 year old, used Lexus ES300 instead of a brand new Avalon? Would the Lexus be worth the extra money, since they’re built in Japan instead of the Americanized Avalon built in the U.S.? I have my doubts. I think Toyota did too good a job copying the big 3. In 1993, I first drove a Toyota Corolla, and I really liked it. I can’t say that about my Americanized 2001 Avalon.
#1420 of 3629 mapper1...Horsepower in 2000 Avalons
Apr 10, 2002 (11:35 am)
I really think that the engine was the same in 2000 (when they redesigned the Avalon). It's been 210 hp since 2000.
My mom has a 2000 Avalon XLS with 44,000 miles on it, and the only problem we've had is that the right map light button has lost its spring. We'll have it taken care of the next time we have the car serviced. We love our Avalon, and my dad has said that he won't buy anything else other than a Toyota. We haven't really had problems with rattles. Occasionally I'll hear something around the dash area, and then I'll realize it's some of my mom's stuff that is rattling against the dash.
I hope all of you have a great day!
#1421 of 3629 Rough Road Noise
Apr 11, 2002 (2:01 pm)
Mapper1, I have to agree with you that the Avalon is extremely noisy on rough roads.
Last week I was traveling on a road that was "scraped" for resurfacing and it felt like the car was falling apart. On smooth surfaces the car is whisper quiet and handles reasonably well but pulls slightly to the left requiring more steering effort than is necessary.
Would I buy another Avalon? Hmmm! I will have to think about that. But seriously, if Toyota modifies the exterior styling (not by much) and bring the styling up to the 21st. century and at least offer these options: integrated phone, HID, NAV and a sunshade, I would strongly consider buying another Avalon.
However, I realize that if I want the above enumerated features I will have to move up to the Lexus brand name and pay a premium price. But what else is out there that is comparable to the Avalon? A domestic model maybe? (I know the Avalon is American made but carries a foreign moniker).
#1422 of 3629 Steering on the XL's
Apr 14, 2002 (11:10 am)
To boutzen's #1370 message about steering problems in his 2002 XL, I would say if his car is like my car(2001 XL), just keep driving it, and eventually it'll start pulling to the right. I rotate my tires every 5000 miles, and I noticed after I rotate them, the car steers fine, then gradually after 3500 miles, the car starts pulling to the right slightly. Rotating the tires seems to eliminate the pulling, at least for awhile. I really don't care for the steering in these new cars today. On rough roads at slow speeds, the steering wheel seems to "Kick" more. And the car seems to pull to the left or right depending on the crown of the road you're driving on. Sometimes the pulling is strong when on back country roads that are quite crowned. Older cars with slower steering never did that.
Apr 15, 2002 (3:44 am)
Is there any transmission, Engine problems with the 2002 Avalon? Any information would be appreciated....
#1424 of 3629 Like...Old Man River....it just keeps rollin'......
Apr 15, 2002 (3:35 pm)
Now at 85,000 miles on my '99 XL. Needed a new battery at 42 mos. of service. That goes with the bad stoplight bulb last year. And that, friends, is ALL since NEW. Will be looking at the 2003 the day it hits the showroom floor. One of the best cars sold in America. And it continues to get 30 mpg on the road. Just did Nashville to Atlanta (234 miles) on 7.9 gallons at avg speed just over 70 mph. Yes, it thumps and rattles a little, but who cares! Turn the radio up....
#1425 of 3629 Thumps & Rattles?
Apr 17, 2002 (8:59 am)
My 92 Camry LE w/ 161,000 miles never thumped or rattled? I'm interested in the facelifted '03 Avalon, but have concerns w/ posts on Avalon noises. Toyota design/assembly seems to be slipping?
Any '03 Avalon pics??
#1426 of 3629 Otis123 Thumps and Rattles
Apr 17, 2002 (4:37 pm)
Your 92 Camry was made in Japan. I would venture that the 92 - 96 Camry is probably the best overall quality Toyota branded car line ever sold in the U.S. A 95 or 96 Camry with under 100K is a great buy for anyone that can find one.
In 1997 Toyota shifted to Camry production in Georgetown (even though there are apparently some 97 Japan-sourced Camry's around).
From my experience with our 2000 Avalon XLS, I think the bumps are a design decision that Toyota made given the suspension they chose. I think the rattles are a by product of designing and sourcing the Avalon from U.S. suppliers. Toyota is unlikely to ever get the same level of quality from their US supply chain as they did in Japan due to differences in work styles, competitive sourcing and our tolerance for crap. It will still be better than the US branded companies, but not what we are used to.
If you want an equivalent to the 92 Camry buy a Lexus - even a good used one, not a new US made Toyota.
Apr 17, 2002 (6:09 pm)
Sorry, but I have owned a 92 and 93 Camry that were both built in America. In fact, we specifically looked for US built vehicles when we bought them new, as there were several advantages...To name just one, the sunvisors were much more sturdy...Our 2000 Camry was built in Japan, and has decent sunvisors...go figure!
#1428 of 3629 /direct/view/.ee9e70b/1410
Apr 18, 2002 (5:45 pm)
Avalon vibration? Oh yes and after Toyota tried 6 times to fix it suddenly the car was within specs. New tires, new rotors, new rims, new hubs, tire re-balancing and front end allignment and still, vibration in the steering wheel at speeds in excess of 64 MPH. After months of pain with Toyota I finally pursued arbitration proceedings against them and won. They now have a 2001 Avalon XLS to sell to someone else. I did not buy a $30,000+ flagship sedan to be jercked around. Toyota you let me down after years of owning several of your cars. Where is your customer service pledge? No more Toyota's for me....ever!