Pros: "Fantastically reliable, no unexpected failures"
Cons: "Absolutely, positively NONE"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Until 2002, I had almost owned nothing but GM's, Chevy's and Buicks and Chevy Pick Ups. Did some research on internet and talked with friends who owned other cars. Determined Toyota to be best buy and stopped by dealer.
Was impressed with Avalon and since it was for my wife and she liked it, we bought it. Had to replace battery once, one oxygen sensor, tires and have serviced regularly, including minor brake job. Absolutely no other problems ever. It never even acted like it didn't want to start. I am so satisfied, I bought a 2014 Avalon, just like it, same color even, plus other bells and whistles. We both love our TOYOTA. Selling the 2002 to my daughter after having 100,000 mile service. Dealing with Toyota (dealers) is much more pleasant than with all "American car" dealers. Plus, Toyota is made in America, so I don't feel guilty about buying foreign products."
"I bought a new 2000 XLS in December 1999 after having ordered an Acura TL and found I couldn't get comfortable in the driver's seat. So: across the street to the Toyota dealer.
For the first few years, I looked for excuses to get rid of it: it seemed too geriatric, with the Buick Roadmaster ride, large fonts on the center display, etc. But, of course, as I got older while driving it, those features began to look better and better.
Seriously, the only flaws worth mentioning have to do with the overly soft suspension. If you have one of these, especially if you buy a low-mileage used one, I recommend you do what I did: Replace the shocks with stiffer, aftermarket ones, like KYB, upgrade all the suspension bushings, and upgrade both the size and quality of the tires. I've got a set of Continental W-rated M/S tires now that improve the handling tremendously; Michelin Exalto A/S, either H- or V- rated, are also excellent, and you can buy them at Costco, which means free rotation and rebalancing for life. Go at least one size over (I'm using 2 sizing), you won't regret it. Upgrade the brakes whenever you have a chance; at least, use Akebono brake pads.
What's worn out after 12 years and 130,000 miles? The catches on the center console and the sunglasses holder. The JBL stereo is good, but at some point, the rear deck speaker blew out, and the part alone is over $200 (it requires more than that in labor to install) so it's now just disconnected. Also, an oxygen sensor was expensive to replace and there are three more of them sitting there waiting to cost money.
But: It's fast, economical (although the trip computer is wildly optimistic about mileage), and very spacious and comfortable. The suspension upgrades have stopped it from wallowing on bumpy roads and leaning too much on turns, but the ride is still very smooth.
When I first got it, it was in spite of the exterior design; I though I was driving a great white whale! But now it looks like a classic -- simple, clean, and not too big compared, let's say, to the current Avalon. If this car were any better, it would be an ES350, but then my clients would think they were paying for my Lexus."
"I have owned this vehicle since 2014.
My brother bought it used in 2002 and had regular maintenance since that time. Smooth ride, great gas mileage for age and somewhat easy to self maintain. Some have questioned the styling,
but for myself, I like the boxy look over the new,lower look due to the claustrophobic feeling of the interiors. Most of the new car features can be added to this car."
Pros: "Very comfortable, good on long trips, spacious"
Cons: "Not great on fuel, feels like a boat in the turns"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I had this car throughout college and it continues to perform well as a daily driver and for long trips. One of the best road trip sedans I have ever driven or ridden in. The back seat is very spacious, and it has a very roomy trunk. There was so much space in this car I would use it to move in and out of my dorm room in college. Granted, it was filled to the brim.
Repairs have been minimal, and the car has proved to be very reliable. I think it is a great alternative to the more expensive luxury sedans (such as Lexus), in that it has many great features at reasonable price. It will likely not have as many features as a Lexus, but if you don't mind missing out on some of the luxury then the Toyota Avalon is a great choice. The interior quality isn't bad at all, but it isn't particularly elegant. I must mention that I really enjoy the JBL audio system.
I cannot overstate how comfortable the seats are and the amount of room the car offers. There is ample elbow and head room. I am 6'3" and find there to be plenty of leg room as well. Even with my seat all the way back there is plenty of room in the back for the passengers. The suspension is very soft. This provides excellent ride comfort, but a lot of sway under tight cornering. Compared to smaller cars (such as a Toyota Corolla) the Avalon handles like a boat. However, it has a better turning radius than other large sedans. My Avalon also has an extremely strong parking brake.
Overall, it's a great value for money. I have found it to be reliable, comfortable, and spacious. Fuel economy isn't great, but it isn't terrible either. It is great for long trips and daily driving."