Large car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $8,700 – $22,700*


2005 Toyota Avalon


2005 Toyota Avalon


2005 Toyota Avalon


2006 Toyota Avalon

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Passenger room
  • Ride/handling
Cons:
  • Navigation system controls

The competition has been catching up, so Avalon no longer tops the field for refinement, room, interior ambience or detail workmanship. Yet this third-generation car is just as much a Best Buy as previous models, and that holds for used examples too. Among the many assets here are a sterling V6 powertrain, solid driving feel, cushy ride, and Toyota’s strong track record for quality, reliability and resale value. Though an Avalon might cost a bit more than a domestic-brand rival on the used-car market, it would be our choice, all else being equal. It would certainly be on our “look-for” list, and should be on yours, too.

Overview

Toyota redesigned its largest car for 2005 and a showroom debut early that calendar year. Though retaining front-wheel drive, the third-generation Avalon boasted fresh looks, increased size and more power, but no longer claimed title as America’s only import-brand 6-passenger sedan. Avalon had offered an optional front bench seat with steering-column transmission lever, but the ’05s came only with front bucket seats and a floor console shifter. Against the 2000-2004 models, the redesign added a sizeable 4 inches to wheelbase and almost half-a-foot to overall length, plus a bit more width and height. Even so, an inch more rear leg room was the only notable gain in interior space.

Avalon continued with a single powertrain, but the engine was Toyota’s new 3.5-liter V6, initially rated at 280 hp and replacing a 210-hp 3.0. It paired with a 5-speed automatic, supplanting a 4-speed transmission.

Price levels expanded from two to four, ascending from XL through Touring, XLS and Limited versions. As the first “sporty” Avalon, the Touring came with a firmer suspension, rear spoiler and special trim. All models came with antilock four-wheel disc brakes, plus front side airbags, curtain side airbags, and a first-time driver’s knee airbag. Traction/antiskid control was available for XLS and Limited, but curiously not for the Touring. Leather seating and 17-inch wheels were standard except for XL, which came with 16-inch rims and cloth upholstery. Newly standard across the line were reclining backrests for a split folding rear seat and a steering wheel with telescopic as well as tilt adjustment. Exclusive to Limited were heated/cooled front seats and keyless starting, both standard, plus an optional adaptive cruise control designed to main a set following distance. A navigation system was available for XLS and Limited, while a sunroof was restricted to XL and Touring. Xenon headlamps were standard for Touring and Limited.

Yearly Updates

2006 Avalon
Aside from the usual color revisions, the main change this year was availability of a towing package as a dealer-installed option.
2007 Avalon
Avalon carried over unchanged.
2008 Avalon
A new 6-speed automatic transmission replaced a 5-speed automatic, and Avalon got a revised grille and bumper treatment.
2009 Avalon
Avalon lost its Touring trim level, and traction control and antiskid systems were now standard.
2010 Avalon
The 2010 Toyota Avalon saw no major changes.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Only one powerteam was offered, comprising a 280-hp 3.5-liter V6 driving the front wheels through a 5-speed automatic transmission. Due to a change in rating method, outputs on 2006 were revised to 268 hp and 248 lb-ft, but no engine changes were made. For 2008, a new 6-speed automatic transmission replaced the 5-speed automatic.

dohc V61
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/211
Engine HP 280
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 260
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
3-speed automatic

22/31

25.3

1. Hp adn torque re-rated on 2006 models to 268 hp, 248 lb-ft

Road Test

This Avalon compares well with V6 versions of the Chrysler 300 and Buick’s new-for-2006 Lucerne. For starters, it wins on both horsepower and acceleration. A test XLS ran 0-60 mph in a quick 6.2 sec. Powertrain behavior is exemplary. Toyota’s new 3.5 V6 engine is ever silky, and rises only to a muted, classy-sounding growl at full throttle. The responsive automatic is also smooth, and quick to downshift for passing, though some shifts were a bit syrupy on one test car. Avalon also leads the V6 Buicks and Chryslers for real-world fuel economy. One test car averaged 18.4 mpg in a city/freeway mix with gas-eating acceleration runs; other models returned 22.6-28.0 with mostly highway use. The one downside is mandatory premium fuel.

As Toyota’s flagship car, the Avalon has a deliberately soft “luxury” suspension that nicely smothers small disturbances, but allows some pitch and float over crests and dips that becomes more noticeable as speed rises. The Touring with its slightly firmer suspension shows less of this, but it also registers some bumps that other models don’t. Despite the plush ride, Avalon shows fine dynamic poise for a large sedan. Some of our testers would prefer more weight and feel to the steering and less body lean in tight corners, but Avalon is agile enough and tracks dead-true on the highway. The Touring is a touch more responsive in quick direction changes, though its steering is no more precise or informative. All models have strong, easily modulated brakes, though the soft suspension allows fair nosedive in hard stops, though it doesn’t compromise stability or control. Refinement is another asset. Besides the muted, sweet-sounding engine, Avalon shows little tire noise on most surfaces and only minor wind rush at highway speeds. In this respect, it’s a match for many costlier cars.

So, too, the attractive cabin with its comfortable seats, ample room for five adults, and no-strain entry/exit. The reclining rear seatbacks lack power adjustment, but add an extra touch of luxury. Gauges and switches are large and legible, and steering-wheel controls handle routine audio and climate adjustments. Too bad main functions and several accessories operate from a central bank of lookalike buttons, though they’re easy to decipher and reach. Navigation controls are accessed from a tilt-out panel, which we find slightly tedious, and programming the system can be both frustrating and a potential distraction while driving. A good basic driving stance is easily tailored for comfort, but styling slightly impedes visibility astern, especially for shorter drivers. Workmanship and interior materials are up to snuff, but Avalon is no longer clearly superior to like-priced rivals in this regard; one test car suffered minor dashboard rattles. The trunk is large enough for family excursions, but the wheel housings and trunklid hinges steal some space and complicate packing. Cabin storage is generous and includes a dedicated cell-phone holder that we wish every carmaker would copy.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2006 Toyota Avalon XLS

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 7
70%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 8
80%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 9
90%
Room/Comfort Rear - 8
80%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 9
90%

Total: 70

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
111.0 197.2 72.8 58.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.4 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.8 37.5 41.3 40.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2005 Avalon 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: The rear A/C vents may blow warm air due to a bad servo for the damper. (2005-07)
Engine stalling
Description: The engine may not start when pressing the start button after the battery charge has dropped, requiring re-initialization by opening and closing the driver’s door then depressing the brake pedal prior to pushing the start button. (2005)
Keyless entry
Description: The engine may not start with Smart Key systems if the battery goes dead or is weak (less than 9 volts) requiring reinitialization of the steering lock control module. (2005-06)
Oil leak
Description: An oil leak may develop on the right-rear side of the V6 engine from an unused bolt. (2005-06)
Audio system
Description: The audio system door may stick, requiring replacement of the sub-panel. (2005)
Sunroof/moonroof
Description: Water may leak onto the headliner and/or floor because the drain hose(s) for the moonroof may come loose and clamps should be installed on all four. (2005-07)
Trunk latch
Description: The trunk may not open or close properly because the brackets for the torsion bars bend and the bars come loose. (2005-06)
Windows
Description: Front windows may not close due to bent window regulator. (2005-07)
Windshield washer
Description: The windshield washers may not work, and the low fluid warning light may illuminate because the hose fall off the reservoir because the inside diameter is too large. (2005-07)

Recall History

2005 Avalon
Description: Steering yolk was not welded to the steering shaft, causing loss of control of the vehicle. Dealers will inspect and replace steering column.
2005-06 Avalon
Description: Some vehicles may have improperly assembled airbag inflators that may not fully inflate the bag as designed. Dealers will replace any affected airbags.
2005-10
Description: Due to the manner in which the friction lever interacts with the sliding surface of the accelerator pedal inside the pedal sensor assembly, the accelerator pedal may become hard to depress, slow to return to idle, or, in the worst case, mechanically stuck in a partially depressed position, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will install a reinforcement bar in the accelerator pedal, which will allow the pedal to operate smoothly.
2005-2006 Avalon
Description: If replacement brake fluid is used that does not contain certain polymers, or that contains only small amounts, a part of the rubber seal located at the rear of the brake master cylinder may become dry and a small amount of brake fluid could slowly leak from the seal into the brake booster. A leak of brake fluid could lead to a change in brake pedal feel and overtime, degradation in braking performance, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will replace the seal with a newly designed one. This service will be performed free of charge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.