"Bought a 1998 Avalon used from a private party 3 years ago with about 80,000 on it. Have put on almost another 90,000 and have loved it every time I've driven it. Styling is a bit outdated and handling is a little mushy. Back end struts are a bit weak so when my 3 teenage boys are back there it rides low. Very few mechanical problems, very comfortable for long drives. Fuel economy is pretty good, not great. Easy to use controls, quality interior, plenty of power, great AC and stereo."
"I'm shopping for another car and keep coming back to the Avalon. After considering about every other car out there, I've come to realize that the most bang for my buck, in the long run, is probably another Avalon. I'm considering upgrading a few years but I know I'll still be getting a great car.
Amazingly, this car doesn't burn oil even though it has over 300,000 miles on it. The transmission seems excellent too.
At 200 hp, it will outperform our 2005 Impala with 215 hp by quite a margin. The Impala speedometer goes to 120 mph since it is the smaller 3.4L 215 hp engine. The Avalon has a 3.0L 200 hp engine but the speedometer goes up to 140 mph. I believe the Avalon could do the 140 mph.
The ECT button (electronic control transmission) when engaged delays shifting for sport performance. It will lay you back in your seat and really scoot when you need it to. I was tempted to teach a newer Mustang a lesson at a stop light one time but decided to be nice to him :) I really think I could have given him some trouble, even though he had the big bad V8 and a girl friend he needed to impress....
One other thing - this car is very, very comfortable. I'm 6'-2" tall. This car sits and rides so well! The back seat has plenty of room too!
The final word on the mechanical aspect - This car is very quiet. I've tried to restart it on more than one occasion only to discover that it was already running. I soon learned that you had to listen real close to make sure it was running :)"
Cons: "2 dinky cup holders, easily knocking engine"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This car has lasted me a long time. And it will continue to run past 200K if oil is changed on time and it is not raced. The car is very comfortable to drive in, I would take it for a ride instead of a Lexus SUV I own. The interior design is falls apart with age, but everything remains functional. For example, the leather seats wear out, but the dash remains all workable. The seats still function, and windows. All the service I did on it was replace water pump and timing belt to make it last. Those are the 2 things that can make or break this car. Some Avalons we owned, we did not replace oil on time, or it was low on oil, the engine starts knocking and then the engine is a gonner. So important to check the oil level occasionally, or suffer having to replace the engine. The oil pressure in the car is higher than others at idle, therefore, overall the oil in this car is high pressures to make sure the engine runs lubricated all over, that is what makes it last long. If water pump and timing belt aren't replaced after 100K then I don't recommend buying the car. My father owns only these models of cars (1995-1996) are the best because they don't rust, EVER. We use synthetic oil and it runs like a clock. The paint wears off with time on 1997-1998 more than 1995-1996. Other maintenance work that was done was usual replacement of oil, filter, air filter, tires, brakes, pads... Overall a very low maintenance and reliable car."
Pros: "reliable, huge trunk, great gas mileage, holds 5 adults comfortably"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This has been the most worry free, reliable, useful, good looking car i have ever owned. I (and my teenagers) have put 100,000 miles on it in the last 8 years. I bought it used with low miles knowing it would carry me and my kids safely and without any problems. The trunk is HUGE, roomy back seat (kids called it a limo). It has been worth every penny and more! It still has much life left in it- and with good conscience, i will sell it to a friend- can't do that with many cars! The mileage has been 22/28 on regular gas with synthetic oil changes every 5000 miles."