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2001 Toyota Avalon Sedan

4dr Sdn XL w/Bucket Seats (Natl)

Starting at | Starting at 21 MPG City - 29 MPG Highway

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  • $25,845 original MSRP
Printable Version

2001 Toyota Avalon Sedan

Printable Version

2001 Toyota Avalon Sedan

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2001 Toyota Avalon

Source: New Car Test Drive

A big sedan with Lexus quality and a Toyota price.

by Sam Moses

Base Price (MSRP) $25,845
As Tested (MSRP) $32,800

The Avalon is Toyota's top of the line model. It's a big, comfortable sedan that feels quick on its feet; it's hard to tell just by looking at it, but the Avalon handles well and delivers a satisfying ride. When equipped with the available front bench seat, the Avalon can transport six passengers in typical Toyota comfort and quiet serenity.

As practical as the Avalon appears, it can be equipped with luxurious leather seats, handsome seven-spoke aluminum wheels, and a JBL sound system that rivals almost anything you can buy for your home. It offers a strong value among full-size sedans that deliver this level of luxury, performance, comfort and reliability for around $30,000 (fully equipped).

Model Lineup

Two models of Avalon are available: XL ($25,845) and XLS ($30,405).

Both models use Toyota's silky-smooth 3.0-liter V6. This engine produces 210 horsepower with 220 pounds-feet of torque.

XL models come fully equipped with side air bags, dual-zone air conditioning, power windows, door locks and mirrors, and a 120-watt AM/FM stereo with cassette and CD players. XLS models add automatic climate control, a driver information display (compass, trip computer, outside temperature and calendar functions), fog lights, aluminum alloy wheels, remote keyless entry, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Walkaround

The Avalon isn't much to look at. Its best features are electronic and mechanical. That isn't to say it's unattractive, it's just not eye-catching. It looks like a Toyota sedan. If you want to travel in comfort and safety while going unnoticed, this is a good choice.

The styling has somewhat of a sharp edge to it, but the look is reserved. The wing-shaped halogen headlights and wide grille with vertical rails provide a slightly toothy smiley-face look. An air dam under the molded front bumper provides a subtle racy touch, and optional flowing trapezoidal fog lamps are needed to complete the facial aesthetics.

Interior Features

The list of interior features is long (especially with our Option Package 7). The Avalon is roomy inside and provides plenty of shoulder room. The front seat (ours was a leather bench with wide armrest) is easy to get in and out of, and the low front cowl (or dashboard) provides a big view of the road ahead.

The rear seat also offers good visibility and legroom. However, high windowsills make the chamber feel deep. Carrying of long, narrow objects is made easier as the rear center seat has a pass-through that opens up to the trunk.

The interior sports ample doses of burled walnut, good, simple switchgear, and solid-feeling control stalks. There's even a leather boot on the column-shift lever, a nice touch. The superb leather-wrapped four-spoke steering wheel feels lovely in your hands. There are big cupholders all around, grab handles over all four doors, and flip-out coin pockets in the front doors. Also included are soothing electro-chromatic mirrors that self-adjust to reduce glare, and an easy to adjust dual climate-control system providing independent climates for driver and passenger.

The data system is - well, aren't they all mostly just toys? The Avalon's "multi-information display" is in a big rectangular window in the center of the instrument panel. The compass is necessary (or should be), and miles to go before empty might be comforting if you're prone to push it to the last drop, but all the stuff after that - momentary gas mileage? - sometimes puts this instrument on the same overkill level as your Palm Pilot.

The optional leather is plush, in two-tone beige/ivory. The feel of the leather, the doses of walnut, the big recessed instrument panel, and especially the inside shape of the C-pillars, all make the Avalon interior reminiscent of a Seville. That shouldn't be surprising, as the Toyota Avalon was designed and built in the USA and a veteran of GM's large-car division led its development team.

Driving Impressions

If the Avalon is merely nice at a standstill, it's an eye-opener on the road - if you pay attention. But the car's big trick is that little attention is required, it works so well. Toyota couldn't have asked for better work from the guys in NVH (noise, vibration, harshness). At nearly anything less than full throttle, you'd swear you were coasting. All we could hear on a rainy day was a creaking in the windshield wipers, like an old screen door opening and closing, opening and closing.

The ride is flawless. Handling via rack-and-pinion steering is tight, even direct. While some still call such feeling "no character," we think "purity" is a better call. Oh, the chassis can be felt lightly rising and falling over undulations, but that's not a flaw, it's a soft balance appropriate to the car. We haven't taken the Avalon on a long trip, but we feel safe in saying our bones won't feel a thing after hours in the saddle.

Michelin 205/60R16 tires were impressive in the wet. We aimed for narrow rivers in the road that stretched for half a mile at a time, places where water collects in the worn spots from tire tracks, and at 60 mph we could have taken our hands off the steering wheel. We could see the water, we could hear it, but we couldn't feel it. We hit a shallow double pothole in the river. We heard a light thump, but scarcely felt it. We drove over a washboard-unpaved road. We felt it, but not much.

Then we got a little daring in the wet, blasting through a two-lane sweeper heavy on the throttle at 65 mph. The traction control connected in the middle of the turn, three or four times on and off, each time for a mere instant, and the car's direction stayed true without our having to do a thing except point it the first time. Something faster, smarter and more sensitive than us was doing all the tricky work.

We mashed the brake pedal as hard and fast as we could. Excellent anti-lock brakes said, "No problem. Thumpeta-thumpet-thump, there you are." We were stopped before the final splash landed. Because we were full on the pedal, Brake Assist wasn't triggered. Brake Assist applies the brakes full force if a sensor thinks that's what you need based on how quick and how hard you hit them. It was invented because most drivers don't brake hard enough in panic stops with ABS.

We accelerated away, feeling 210 horses rush the car along at a pace no Avalon buyer is likely to find inadequate. The upshifts of the four-speed electronic transmission were - well, where were they? We never felt them.

We saved the most exotic for last: Vehicle Skid Control. It's a Lexus hand-me-down, remaining innovative as it moves along from $50,000 cars to $30,000 ones. It's only available on the XLS, but it's a lot of option for $850. No, it's a steal for $850. Get it.

Vehicle Skid Control keeps you from sliding off the road. Electronic sensors measure four forces to detect a slide ("when the direction of travel does not correlate with driver steering inputs," in robot language), which may be either at the front or rear wheels. Using throttle or brake intervention, VSC makes the appropriate adjustment in grip. For example, if your tail is sliding out to the left on a right-hand turn, VSC will cut the throttle and apply the brakes to the left-side wheels. It won't take over the steering wheel, but with the other corrections it won't need to.

We found a hard-packed logging road, vacant on our rainy Sunday and slick from oil as well as water. We found a sharp curve with good visibility and no ditch. We charged it at spinout speed: all gas, no brakes.

Because the Avalon is front-wheel drive, understeer was our obstacle in this slow turn. We heard the VSC warning ding that says, "Whoa Bucko!" saw the orange traction-control light out of the corner of our eye, and then felt the car magically bite and come back into position. VSC had cut the throttle and hit the ABS brakes on all but the outside rear wheel.

Final Word

Toyota knows its Avalon buyers. It claims that a league-leading 51 percent of them buy another Avalon, plus another 26 percent move up to Lexus, or at least buy another Toyota. So maybe no attention-grabbing fanfare is needed. They'll discover the car, if they haven't already.

This is a great sedan, though it seems like the dignified styling could use a bit of swoop or flash to match the performance. We'd love to see a jet-black Avalon with a lowered nose and Vintage Red Pearl flames streaming from that toothy grin. But we may be the only ones who feel that way.

© New Car Test Drive, Inc.

 

Printable Version

2001 Toyota Avalon Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Opt
Printable Version

2001 Toyota Avalon Sedan

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Miles

Months

Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Warranty*
7-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty**
1-year of Roadside Assistance***
160-Point Quality Assurance Inspection
CARFAX® Vehicle History Report"****

Certified customers are eligible for standard new car financing rates*****

*Whichever comes first from date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. The Comprehensive Warranty covers any repair or replacement of components which fail under normal use due to defect in materials or workmanship. (Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.)

**Whichever comes first from original date of first use when sold as new. See your Toyota Certified Used Vehicles dealer for warranty details. Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. For AL, FL, GA, NC & SC, warranty coverage differs in the following ways: 7-year or 100,000-mile Toyota Certified Limited Powertrain Warranty coverage begins on January 1st of the vehicle's model year and zero (0) odometer miles and expires at the earlier of seven years or 100,000 odometer miles.

***From date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. Covers most services, including flat tires, lockout service, jump starts, fuel delivery up to 3 gallons and towing for mechanical breakdown or collision recovery to the nearest Toyota dealership. Services provided exclude any parts required. Coverage not available in Mexico. See Certified Warranty Supplement for warranty details.

****Beginning December 1, 2005 CARFAX® Vehicle History Reports" are a required part of every Toyota Certified Used Vehicle. See your local dealer for details.

*****Rates mentioned are for standard new car rates, and do not include new car specials or subvented rates. Not all buyers will qualify. Financing available through Toyota Financial Services for qualified buyers only.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 7 years / 85,000
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection All TCUV vehicles must pass a comprehensive checklist that includes a 160-point inspection. This way you can rest assured that your pre-owned Toyota is in perfect condition. To see full inspection list visit http://www.toyotacertified.com/inspection.html
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 1-year of Roadside Assistance from date of TCUV purchase.
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $50

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

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2001 Toyota Avalon Sedan

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