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Former Moderator
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, as you guys know, when I drive a new car, I usually post a little thread about it. My most recent encounter with a brand new car came last week-end. My dad works for a Toyota dealer (sales manager) so he gets to drive the new cars all the time. Last week end he had a brand new 2005 Avalon Touring. I asked for a test drive, and well, he agreed. :)

I was extremely impressed by the quality of this car. It's a huge departure from the last Avalon XLS, which was simply a pimped out Camry. This car feels completely different than the last one. Much more refined, luxurious and a more "real cachet". Its luxury feels more honest.

I was not sure about the looks when I saw the ads and the publicity but I have to admit that the Touring version looked pretty good IMO. The overall look has some German in it, and the front end is alright. Not the prettiest car on the market today, but once again, very good improvement compared to the older model.

The interior is very nicely done. There are no major flaws to be pointed out. Leather smells and feel good. There is sufficient space everywhere you want to sit. The dials are very easy to read and look pretty. The information center in the middle of the dash has more useful information than before. Most of the controls can be hidden behind little plastic doors that flip open at the touch of a button. Adjustments for the seats are plentiful and are stiff enough to support you pretty well. Mind you, they are not Bimmer seats though. ;) The stereo sounds VERY good, a very important point for me.

As far as driving experience, once again, MUCH better than the old car. The engine sounds very good under high load. It pulls evenly throughout the powerband, providing well enough power in 99% of the situations for such an heavy and big car. The touring model is fitted with better wheels/tires IIRC which helps in the handling department. The handling is nothing to write home about, but it's manageable. The car rolls alot in the corners and you can always feel its heft. The chassis is very stout. The brakes are up to the task of stopping the car. I took the car to about 120 mph and it was still pulling pretty fast. I did not want to take further risks of crashing the car, so I stopped. Stability at those speeds was OK. The car is too softly sprung to be dead calm about going that fast though. Wind noise was still very limited. The tranny shifts oh so smoothly and reacts pretty well to quick transition of the throttle. The Manumatic mode is OK. All of this goes through the front wheels though, so the fun factor is VERY limited.

This car will please a broader audience than before IMO. Its increase in overall quality over the old model is huge. Where the old generation Avalon was just a pimped out Camry, this one feels like a very different car/platform all-together. For somebody that is not concerned about ultimate enjoyment behind the wheel but wants a very luxurious and fast enough transportation, with awesome build quality and reliability, it's the car for you. Good bang for the buck! :)

Hope you enjoyed! :)

-Olivier
 

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95 Hardtopper X 2
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I like your write-ups, does it really feel like a 280 horse car, that is the engine they say is going to make over 300hp in the new IS350.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Honestly, it feels very good. The car is heavy though, so it slows down the pace a lot. But I remember that, in the first few minutes of driving, I just accelerated from a stop sign, turning right at the same time, and I created wheelspin without even wanting to, so yeah, it's pretty powerful. It should be a LOT of fun in a RWD car. :)

-Olivier
 

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Great review.

0-60 mph in mid 6s and excellent EPA fuel economy numbers for what it is. This 3.5L GR-series motor is said to be an incredible 100 lbs. lighter than the 3.0L it replaced (% wise, that's huge an almost unbelievable considering some *vehicle* programs are hard-pressed to shave that much weight, much less motor only).

This full-size family segment attracts one of the more loyal car buying public types (older conservative folks normally used to Crown Vics, Grand Marquis, and LeSabres). If Toyota can crack the shell here, it'll be another bomb on an otherwise path of carnage the Japanese car industry has invoked on the domestic car industry that has already claimed their small, mid-size, cross-over, luxury, and minivan segments.

Yet ironically a greater share of hands on their projects are those of North Americans. I read that the Avalon was styled in Newport Beach, CA (where the O.C. is filmed?) and the technical center in Ann Arbor, MI took control of all aspects and phases of *vehicle* engineering development. Commitment to NASCAR culture + real USA vehicle development shows Toyota's drive to blend with American culture.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Eric. I tried to be concise but I think I could not! :lol:

If the numbers you state for the engine weight are true, it is extremely interesting to see what they can do with this powerplant. I imagine all that weight savings must not only be on the "outside", so the internals must themselves be much lighter too, which could allow of very interesting RPM capabilities. :)

Their market penetration should be much better than the last generation of Avalon, especially if they can create a big demand from such motorsports such as Nascar, as you mentionned earlier. God I LOVE this company!!! :D

-Olivier
 

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Weapon of Mass Affection
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Toyota CALTY, is that where you refer to? IDK but it may be in newport beach. The interesting thng to note here is not that Toyota JPN is calling the shots altogether, they have allowed American employees to make cars for Americans. The only Toyota Corp cars not made in the US are the Land Cruiser/LX, LS430, and possibly two more models. I have driven the car too and was suprised to see all the Buickness gone. It sounds wierd but thats the only way I could put it, the car was floaty but actually went where I wanted it. I have a feeling the tires were underinflated on purpose to make it feel cushier. I still hate Toyota but atleast they are doing things right.
 

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Olivier,

Great write-up. That could've come from a magazine. Very informative and not unexpected given where Toyota/Lexus is headed. When you get someone like TrueSlideXL giving praise, even if begrudging, you know they've done a good job. Not hatin' True. I've enjoyed our Toyota/Mercedes discussions and look forward to more as we both get more seat time in the stuff just now coming to market.

Again, nice work Olivier.

Ken.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the nice comments fellas! I'm just trying to communicate my passion for cars through the forums. :)

Alex, talk to you soon buddy!

TrueSlideXL, honestly, I have no doubt where the R&D of the car was done. As STAGED pointed out though, it may very well be a local North American R&D. The car is definitaly made for the North American market, no doubt about it. I can really understand what you meant by the cushion feel, even though the car would follow orders.

Ken, I've always enjoyed our discussions regarding cars in general. You have way more experience than me but it seems we can still agree on certain points! :) Thanks for the nice comments.

Now, I just can't wait to try the new IS350! :)

-Olivier
 

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Olivier Caza said:
Ken, I've always enjoyed our discussions regarding cars in general. You have way more experience than me but it seems we can still agree on certain points! :) Thanks for the nice comments.

Now, I just can't wait to try the new IS350! :)

-Olivier
LOL, I thought all we agreed to disagree on is that Angelina Jolie had no ass (my opinion) and that it didn't matter (your opinion).

BTW, I finally spoke with Steve today. I'll send you an email later.

Back on topic. I can't wait for the IS350 either. Six-speed manual or auto, it could be a very good to great performer if the Avalon, which is a heavier car, performs as well as it apparently does with the same motor but with, apparently, less power than the IS 350.

Ken.
 

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Now...Whitesupra94
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The mags have the avalon pegged at a 15.1 in the 1/4. that doesnt seem too off consider my buddie's family has a g35 sedan which ran a 14.8ish. but it did cut a 14.3 in the cold...so maybe the avalon has alittle more in it.


with that said I did go drive a touring model and it felt pretty good. i expected it to get alittle flat on the highway but it pulled pretty good in even in third gear. Things I noticed about the car were that the electronic throttle by wire is better than some others i've felt, but its still slightly disconnected and electronic feeling. also the steering is good, BUT if you push the car at all it feels very numb before decidings its going to turn. you turn the wheel, feel the car resist, and THEN it goes. The suspension is firmer than the other avalons, but it is well dampened also. Not as stiff as a g35. Its a good car and something I wouldnt mind driving.
 

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I wouldn't be surprised if Toyota dumped large amounts of money on research in SoCal to engineer the car to fit peoples' lives there. Anyone familiar with the first LS400 will know there were basically Toyota spies living in the OC area watching rich people use their luxury cars and see how they lived their lives in an attempt to make the finest automobile possible and integrate it seamlessly into the lives of the wealthy American.

The Avalon obviously won't be as a large of an undertaking as the first LS was but it wouldn't surprise me if some of the same tactics were used.

I really want a chance to drive a new Toyota with the GR motor in it to hear, feel, and experience how it performs in anticipation for the new IS, ES, and most likely GS350 in the future. Nice write up, it's always good to get another opinion from someone else besides the magazines.

James
 

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you know whats funny? there is a 1 in 2 chance i put together the rear spring/struts/ and brakes on the car you just drove. sorry had to share
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ken, you're totally right. Aside from Angie, we pretty much agree on everything, especially when it comes to cars! :D Black Enzo...:drooling: :) If you can email me Steve's info, I would really appreciate. And I think that you should get an IS350 with a 6 speed. More on that in my next email...

Black, I totally agree on what you comment.

James, I did not know that Toyota/Lexus went to such extent to be sure to capture the North American's rich lifestyle, but more power to them since it seemed to pay off. You will fall in love with the GR series. Now that STAGED has mentionned something about the total weight of the engine dropped enormously, I recall how the engine felt willing to rev very easily. I would assume that with appropriate head mods (springs, retainers and cams), this engine would breath very well to high redlines. The engine sounds good in the Avalon, I can't imagine how well it would sound in a IS350, 6 speed, with a intake and nice subtle exhaust. :eek:

Mazx6, I presume you work in Toyota's Kentucky plant!? :) How is it as a factory employee to work for Toyota? Good treatment?

-Olivier
 

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toyota seems to get it right on with every car they sell
 

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That was a great write-up Olivier. It sounds like Toyota is upping the ante. I wish I had a chance to drive more high end Japanese cars to be able to compare them to the European cars I've driven. I'll be working back at the dealership this summer and will have the chance to drive many more Mercedes Benzes, Jaguars, Volvos, and Land Rovers. I should do a write up on them too.
 

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BOOBIES
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Excellent write up. I saw a Toyota on the street yesterday that I have never seen before. It looked pretty beefy so I figured it must have been the new Avalon. Here are a few pics :)







On a sidenote. I saw the new GS on the road yesterday and now that I think about it, these cars share a lot of styling similarities, especially the taillights!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Brewster and Eggy: Thanks for the kind words. :)

Thanks for the pics Eggy. My dad's was much darker than this, but white looks good. :bigthumb:

The new GS is sex material, I just love it. :D

-Olivier
 

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woow i just i never know theres a thread about the new avvy here well i am lucky tho :eek:
i am about to buy the limited edition with white pearl :D
I test drove many cars E class and new bmw 3series and i gotta say this avvy beat them in every optionand the price ! also aloot faster and looks more gorgeuos than thoes shitty german boxs, and i got the dimitions size from the inside damn this avalon is wider than the LS430 and the benz S class !
damn i just love this car and i am waiting for the order to arrive after 2 months :(

just loved to share my opinion :)
ali
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for the opinion Ali. Update the thread once you put a few miles on your car. :)

-Olivier
 
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