The Avalon is Toyota's largest full-size sedan, and it was built with the needs of family in mind. After being built in Japan and America, this latest Avalon was the first to be assembled entirely in North America. With a roomy interior, smooth ride, and exceptional value, the Avalon is a smart choice for anyone in search of affordable luxury, whether they've got a family or not. See also the main fact sheets for the Toyota Avalon.
- No center hump in rear = roomy rear seat
- High quality at affordable price
- Quiet Engine
- Smooth ride
- Suspension soft on hard stops
- Plain, unexciting look
- Dashboard buttons look too alike
- Front center console slightly bulky
Performance and HandlingEdit
The 2006 Avalon comes equipped with a powerful 3.5L 268hp V6 engine, which is significantly stronger than its predecessor. At the same time, this new engine alos allows for better gas mileage than its predecessor, so it's an all around improvement. It is, however, only available in a front wheel drive automatic, which may turn off some prospective buyers.
Handling is smooth, as one might expect from the flagship of a company known for its excellent build quality. The suspension is standard across all trims but the Touring, which is sport-tuned and stiffer. In addition, vehicle stability control is an available option on all models, which should help ensure a better ride. Because of good insulation within the cabin, road noise is also kept to a minimum, even at high speeds, which is a nice perk.
FuelEconomy.gov reports that the Toyota Avalon gets 22mpg in the city and 31mpg on the highway. There is only one engine and one drivetrain available for the Avalon, so there won't be much variation in these figures.
In safety tests carried out by the NHTSA, the Toyota Avalon performed very well. It received 5-star ratings for all front- and side-impact tests and 4/5 stars for rollover. This places the Avalon at the top of Autos.com's Safety category for Mid-Size Cars, tied for 1st with the Hyundai Azera, Kia Amanti, and Volkswagen Passat.
Reliability and MaintenanceEdit
Prior to the redesign in 2005, the Avalon was experiencing moderate problems with its engine, as reported by Automotive Informations Systems. With the latest generation, which only debuted last year, Consumer Reports states that first-year reliability has been average.
Interior and ComfortsEdit
The 2006 Avalon may not look too impressive from the outside, but once you step inside and have a seat, Toyota's trademark attention to quality becomes evident. The first thing you'll notice is the roominess of the cabin, not only in front, but in the rear as well, where legroom is plentiful. Rear headroom should also be sufficient, but the center of the rear seat is a bit hard and raised, so seating a tall adult there could possibly be uncomfortable or cumbersome.
The front center console is large, making for a good armrest as well as decent storage space. The look of the dashboard melds nicely with the interior, particularly with the Limited's wood grain accents, and everything is laid out in a neat, clean fashion. when not in use, the center dashboard controls hide away behind a smooth flip-up door, which is somewhat nice, but ultimately unnecessary.
Interior options vary by trim level. Some of the available ones are leather seating, a navigation system, heated front seats, and an in-dash 6-CD changer.
The 2006 Avalon more than likely won't be turning any heads as it cruises through the suburbs. It certainly looks more refined than the last generation, with a more forward-sitting, aerodynamic look. But aside from this stylistic upgrade, the Avalon remains plain and simple, almost to a fault. This no-frills look may be a subconscious implication of its impressive practicality, but at the same time, it also screams "two kids, a dog, and white picket fences." While this isn't likely to go over well with the younger population, Toyota doesn't mind, because that's not who the Avalon is marketed towards in the first place.
As a result of the Avalon's aesthetic simplicity, there aren't many major exterior options to speak of. Some of the standards include color keyed bumpers, dual rear exhaust outlets, and a rear window defogger. Optional features are a rear spoiler (except on the Touring, for which it's standard) and, for the XL and Touring trims, a moonroof.
Styles and OptionsEdit
The Avalon comes available in four trims, the XL, Touring, XLS, and Limited. All four trims are sedans equipped with the same engine, a 265hp V6, and all are 5-speed automatic front wheel drive. The differences exist in the options made available to each individual trim level. Some of the features found standard across all models are a tilt telescopic steering wheel, a multi-function information display, power locks and windows, cruise control, and dual zone automatic climate control.
The XL is the lowest level trim with the fewest of the more luxurious options. It's the only trim that features contoured fabric interior seating as opposed to leather, and it's the only trim with silver metallic interior accents. A power moonroof, color keyed rear spoiler, and in-dash 6-CD changer are all available options.
The Avalon Touring is a step up from the XL, with more standard features and some options which are unavailable on the XL. Beginning with the Touring trim level and moving up, leather interior seating becomes standard, as well as aluminum door scuff plates, integrated fog lamps, and 17" wheels. The Touring is also meant to be the "sportiest" of the Avalon trims, which frankly isn't saying much, because the family-oriented Avalon was never intended to compete in the Sports Sedan market. Nevertheless, this label gives the Touring a slightly stiffer suspension and a standard Spoiler.
The XLS is the next level up from the Touring. With this trim, a moonroof becomes standard, as well as auto-dimming rearview and outside mirrors, the in-dash 6-CD changer, and a trunk mounted cargo net. Heated front seats and the Touring's spoiler are options here.
The Limited is the top of the line Avalon. Some of its exclusive standard features include rain-sensing windshield wipers, advanced outside mirrors with puddle guards and memory, wood grain interior accents, driver's seat cushion extension, ventilated leather seating, and a 12-speaker JBL sound system. What more could a driver want from an automobile?
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