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2012 Toyota Avalon

Overview
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2012 Toyota Avalon Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

The 2012 Toyota Avalon sedan is more than just the company's flagship car, it's a testament to Toyota's ability to adapt its product to the uniquely American market. There are still a lot of people out there who like cars, not SUVs or CUVs or pickups, but cars. And, within that population there are many who like their cars big, plush and carefree. With the exception of the carefree part, this used to be the sole domain of the American automobile industry, with names like Buick Electra and Mercury Grand Marquis leading the way. Today, there are only a few large near-luxury sedans offered, making the Avalon's job all the easier. With appointments approaching a Lexus level of refinement and comfort, the 2012 Toyota Avalon 4-door sedan can easily handle competition from such heavyweights as the Buick LaCrosse and Chrysler 300. However, Hyundai's Genesis might be able to cause the big Toyota some heartburn, with features equaling and in some cases exceeding the Avalon's at a very competitive price.

You'll Like This Car If...

Looking for a big, soft-riding cruiser with loads of creature comforts, room for five and a massive trunk? Look no further than the 2012 Toyota Avalon sedan.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the 2012 Toyota Avalon is big on comfort and quality, it's not really a looker. Those who seek a more stylish and sophisticated design may be happier with the Hyundai Genesis, Buick LaCrosse, Ford Taurus or Chrysler 300.

What's New for 2012

Fresh from a mild makeover last year, there are no major changes to the 2012 Toyota Avalon sedan.

Driving the Avalon

Driving Impressions As one might expect, the 2012 Toyota Avalon is in its element when cruising broad expanses of smooth, straight highway. A compliant ride takes precedent over quick reflexes, but most...

Avalon buyers will likely find the car more than exceeds their performance expectations. Steering response and brake feel are strong, but again they do not promote the same type of driving excitement one gets from driving a Chrysler 300C or Ford Taurus SHO. The 2012 Toyota Avalon sedan's front seats are soft and wide without much in the way of lateral support. In back, the Avalon sedan delivers head and legroom in spades, and features a class-exclusive reclining rear seatback. While a relatively low center tunnel makes 3-across seating at least a short-term possibility, the two outboard spots are clearly the locations of choice. One caveat: Because the seatbacks don't fold flat and trunk capacity is a mere 14.7 cubic feet, the Avalon's cargo-toting skills are relatively modest.
Favorite Features

Optional DVD-based Navigation system
The 2012 Toyota Avalon sedan brings a new-generation DVD-based navigation voice-activated system that features a larger than normal LCD touch screen with improved graphics, more intuitive controls and an overall higher degree of user-friendliness.

Reclining rear seatbacks
Included on both 2012 Toyota Avalon sedan models, the 60/40 split seatback offers five positions of manually adjustable recline that adds even more long-distance appeal to the Avalon's exceptionally accommodating aft quarters.

2012 Toyota Avalon Details
Interior

To list the 2012 Toyota Avalon's interior attributes would take up more space than this review allows. Suffice to say a well-isolated cabin is at the top of the list, as is the lovely soft-touch padding on just about every surface. An Optitron electroluminescent gauge cluster is entertaining as well as easy on the eyes, and a reconfigured center stack plays home to the available DVD-navigation with its 7-inch LCD screen. With leather seating standard, even the least expensive Avalon sedan feels like a 5-star luxury car, and by opting for the available heated and cooled seats, some may feel they've gotten a Lexus at a Toyota price, and they just might be right.

Exterior

Last year's mild makeover brought a slightly more modern feel to the Toyota Avalon's nose and taillights, but the rest of the car remains ultra conservative and slightly dated. The 2012 Toyota Avalon sedan features bulging halogen/HID headlights and LED-infused taillights with plenty of chrome touches all over the car signaling its near-luxury intent. Both the base and Limited cars ride on 17-inch wheels and tires, but the Limited gets a handsome set of 10-spoke mirror-finish rims befitting its higher pecking order status.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Toyota Avalon sedan boasts an impressive features roster that includes a full array of power assists, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, wood-grain trim, power moonroof, 9-speaker premium audio system with XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth connectivity, USB/Aux/iPod inputs, a rearview monitor, power front seats, class-exclusive reclining rear seatbacks, seven airbags and Toyota's comprehensive Five Star Safety System with new brake override circuitry. The Avalon Limited adds a 12-speaker/660-watt JBL Premium Synthesis audio system, full climate-controlled front seats, enhanced perforated-leather and wood-grain trims, 4-door Smart Key with Push Button Start, a power rear sunshade, full HID headlights and more. All 2012 Toyota Avalon sedans include electronic traction and stability control, front side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags, as well as a driver's knee airbag.

Optional Equipment

The extras list for either version of the 2012 Toyota Avalon sedan is a short one. Key enhancements for the standard Avalon include the same 660-watt JBL premium audio system that comes in the Limited – with or without a DVD-based navigation system that trims the disc count in the CD changer from six to four. Also on offer are heated front seats, alone or as part of a package that includes a driver-seat/power-mirror-memory system and an 8-way power passenger seat. Save for a dealer-installed remote engine starter that also can be fitted to the base Avalon, the Limited limits its options to the aforementioned DVD-based navigation system.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Toyota Avalon sedan's sole engine/transmission combo – Toyota's 3.5-liter V6 and a 6-speed automatic transmission – delivers an impressive combination of swiftness, smoothness and economy. Although the engine's 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque are hardly the stuff of legend, it features efficiency-boosting VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) on both the intake and exhaust side. Coupled with a responsive multi-mode 6-speed automatic transmission, it helps this roughly 3,600-pound sedan impressively sprint from 0-60 mph in less than seven seconds.


3.5-liter V6
268 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29

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2012 Toyota Avalon Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 470 Ratings for the 2005 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.3/10
    Quality
    9.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.3/10
  • Comfort
    9.5/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

Most enjoyable car ever owned.

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "It's a Lexus without the Lexus price premium!"

Cons: "Cup holders should have some sort of light."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Bought the car because my wife liked the full power adjustments on the front seats. I liked the design. Toyota's reputation was also a strong factor."

non smoker,very clean, well kept, new tires.

By on Monday, April 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "At 65 mph on fairly level highway 35 mpg"

Cons: "no backup camera"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is a luxury car that gets a lot of compliments.It always looks nice and very shiny dark gray. If you are particular like I am, you will love this car."

Good car, but not great

By on Friday, March 28, 2014

I don't own this car

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Quiet, quick, gas mileage, spacious, visibility"

Cons: "Wind noise, handling, seat design"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"First of all I DO own this car. For some reason I wasn't able to post using the "I own this car" icon. Anyway, when shopping for a newer car my wife and I wanted a spacious, comfortable, reliable, full size luxury type car to replace my wife's aging 2001 Continental. We looked at all cars that met this criteria including the Genesis, Buick LaCrosse and used Lucernes, Lincoln MKZ and MKS, Audi A6, and some others. We eliminated the Audi due to cost but that was my favorite. The Lincolns are nice cars but outward visibility was lacking and this feature was most important to my wife. (The rear-view cameras are a nice feature but I don't think as reliable as actually seeing out the rear window.) The LaCrosse had the poorest outward vision of them all. I felt like I was in a cave. The Lucerne's were very old school inside even though they met all other criteria. I liked the Genesis but was a bit concerned about the reliability and Hyundai service down the road. I was hesitant to buy a Toyota since there are so many and I would have preferred a less common vehicle. After driving the Avalon (2011 Limited silver on gray) it was obvious that this car met every single criteria we had. It's the most spacious car of any we looked at and probably all that we didn't. It rides like on a cloud. It does everything flawlessly. The NAV and Bluetooth took some getting used to but after reading the manuals they become very intuitive and easy and effective to use. We both like the gray leather interior materials especially on the Limited which has heated and cooled seats, a wood trimmed steering wheel and some other upscale touches that give the car a very pleasant feel inside. And we're hoping that Toyota's famous reliability isn't a thing of myth and legend but the real deal. Here's where I'm not as overwhelmed with this car as so many reviewers are. The compliant ride is at the cost of sharper handling. Many cars today give both the ride and handling that should be expected in a modern car. The Audi is the perfect example of this. Pity it costs so much more. The seats are flat and offer absolutely no lateral support whatsoever. However I do like the depth of the seat bottom because it offers really good thigh support. Also the Limited model has an inflatable thigh cushion built in that adds extra comfort. However, the seat cushion isn't very thick and after a while you can feel the bottom of the seat cushion. Not a luxury feel at all. Zero complaints about the rear seating and comfort. I'm sure it matches or surpasses even a Rolls Royce. I'm disappointed in the amount of wind noise on the highway. More than the 13 year old car we traded in. All in all the Avalon is probably exactly what Toyota had in mind. A comfortable and reliable cruiser for people that aren't too concerned with lateral Gs or not sliding around in their seat when executing a sharp turn. My wife loves it. Me,...I'm not so thrilled. I expected more. If it's as reliable as it's advocates say it is, I'll be pleased with the purchase. But not thrilled."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Surprise! Blew a Head Gasket at 85,000 miles!

By on Saturday, March 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 86,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Quietness, rear seat and rear leg room,"

Cons: "Reliability, front seats, passenger blind spot"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I am a "little old lady driver" so I was VERY disappointed to find out my Avalon had blown a head gasket! That is why I gave it gave it a 3/10 for reliability. I had done every recommended maintenance and all regular oil changes. What a bummer! The front seats could be a little more comfortable. I am a "bony little old lady" and I can feel the springs in driver's seat. Very surprised at this. The seats in our 2005 Town and Country are much more comfortable."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Best cruising car ever 2012 Avalon

By on Thursday, March 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Style and lines, comfort, mpg, price, spacious."

Cons: "needs firmer and more lumbar support in drvrs seat"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I started out helping my sister look for a 2013 Avalon. She wanted something sporty and luxury based and this is what we ended up with. She loves it! I however didn't care for the stiffer ride so I looked at the older 2012 Avalon and it was just what I was looking for. It handles better than you're led to believe by the professional critics. It's a cruiser not a sports car and it delivers exactly. People 6 ft or more can't believe the room in the back seat, it's limo like and very spacious. The only thing I like better than driving is chilling out in the back seat. The rear seats in the 2012 recline, unlike the bucket like seats in the 2013 and 2014 models which are definitely more sporty.The pick up is quick, and once you get going it's like you're floating. Over all gas mileage is 22-23 mpg, while on the hwy we get 29-30 easy. Gotta love it, considering it's size. Shop around for a good deal, they're out there and you can't go wrong with this car, you'll be glad you bought it."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

BEST I'VE OWNED

By on Thursday, March 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "GREAT PICK UP. POWER TO SPARE."

Cons: "MUST GO FAR BACK TO GET SEATBELTS IN FRONT."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"GREAT LOOKS, QUALITY SECOND TO NONE. GAS MILEAGE ON HIGHWAY 30 MPG. LOCATION OF FRONT SEAT BELTS COULD BE BETTER. LOVE THE RECLINING REAR SEAT FEATURE."

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