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2003 Toyota Avalon Sedan

4dr Sdn XL w/Bucket Seats (Natl)

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

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  • $25,945 original MSRP
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2003 Toyota Avalon Sedan

Printable Version

2003 Toyota Avalon Sedan

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2003 Toyota Avalon

Source: New Car Test Drive

Introduction

Toyota Avalon is a large, comfortable sedan with tight handling and a flawless ride. It's smooth and quiet with extremely low levels of noise, vibration, and harshness, a good car for long hours in the saddle. It has plenty of power and excellent brakes. Electronic wizardry and a well-developed chassis make it an easy car to handle in hazardous road conditions. When equipped with the available front bench seat, it can transport six passengers in typical Toyota comfort and quiet serenity.

Revised front and rear styling give the 2003 Avalon a more road-gripping look. For passenger comfort and convenience, an air filtration system and sunvisors with extensions are now standard. For 2003, Avalon is safer than ever, with multi-stage front airbags and ISO-FIX child-restraint tethers.

Model Lineup

Toyota Avalon is available in two trim levels, XL and XLS. Both use Toyota's silky-smooth 3.0-liter V6. This engine produces 210 horsepower with 220 pounds-feet of torque. Avalon is front-wheel drive.

XL comes with front bucket seats ($25,845) or a front bench seat ($26,665). XL models come fully equipped with side air bags, dual-zone air conditioning, air filtration system, power windows, door locks and mirrors, sunvisors with extensions, and a 120-watt AM/FM stereo with cassette and CD players.

The more luxurious XLS model reverses the pricing with the bench seat version ($30,305) being less expensive than the same vehicle with bucket seats ($30,405). 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.

Leather upholstery is optional.

Walkaround

Some might say that the Toyota Avalon is not eye-catching. That isn't to say it's unattractive; it looks like a Toyota sedan. Its best features are electronic and mechanical. If you want to travel in comfort and safety while going unnoticed, the Avalon 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 the optional flowing trapezoidal fog lamps are needed to complete the facial aesthetics.

Interior Features

Avalon is a roomy car with plenty of shoulder space. Our Avalon came with a leather bench with a wide armrest. We found the front seat easy to get into and out of. The low front cowl (or dashboard) provides a big view of the road ahead.

The rear seat also offers good visibility and legroom. High window sills, the trend nowadays, make the chamber feel deep. Carrying long, narrow objects is made easier as the rear center seat has a pass-through that opens up to the trunk.

We tested an XLS model. Its 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 settings for driver and passenger.

The list of interior features is long. The data system is housed in a big rectangular window in the center of the instrument panel. The compass is useful, and the miles-to-go-before-empty function is comforting if you're prone to push it to the last drop.

Leather, which is optional, is plush and the two-tone beige/ivory looks good. 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 Cadillac 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

Toyota Avalon is smooth and quiet with extremely low levels of noise, vibration, and harshness. At 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 label this as "no character," we think "purity" is a better call. 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.

The 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. 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 long curve on a two-lane road, 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-thumpeta-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 the pedal. It was invented because most drivers don't brake hard enough in panic stops to engage the 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, they were so smooth.

We saved the most exotic technology for last: Vehicle Skid Control (VSC). It's a Lexus hand-me-down, remaining innovative as it moves along from $50,000 cars to $30,000 cars. It's only available on the XLS, but for only $650, it's a real deal. Get it.

Vehicle Skid Control keeps you from sliding off the road, by automatically controlling any discrepancy between where you are steering and where the vehicle is heading. Electronic sensors measure four forces to detect a slide, which may be either at the front or rear wheels. Using throttle intervention or applying individual wheel braking, 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. Coming into a sharp curve with good visibility and no ditch, we charged 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!" Simultaneously the orange traction-control light came on, and we 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. The car maneuvered safely around the corner with relatively little drama, an undeserved reward for our foolhardy behavior.

Summary

Toyota Avalon offers a strong value among full-size sedans. Smooth and comfortable, it's a great sedan, though its styling could use a bit of swoop or flash to match its performance.

Avalon is a practical sedan, but 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's Toyota's flagship sedan.

 


Model Line Overview

Model lineup: XL with front bucket seats ($25,845), with front bench seat ($26,665); XLS with front bench seat ($30,305), with front bucket seats ($30,405)
Engines: 210-hp 3.0-liter dohc 24-valve V6
Transmissions: 4-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard): dual multi-stage airbags, front side-impact air bags, side-impact door beams, child door locks, ABS
Safety equipment (optional): Vehicle Skid Control with traction control and emergency Brake Assist
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in: Georgetown, Kentucky

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): XLS ($30,405)
Standard equipment: ABS, cruise control, power windows, power door locks, power heated mirrors, AM/FM/cassette/CD with 7 speakers, cloth upholstery; automatic climate control, driver information display (compass, trip computer, outside temperature and calendar functions), fog lights, aluminum alloy wheels, rear map lights, leather-wrapped steering wheel
Options as tested (MSRP): Package ($895) includes heated front seats, JBL Premium stereo with 6-disc in-dash CD changer, 205/60R16 tires, aluminum wheels, power seats with driver seat memory, leather upholstery
Destination charge: ($485)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $31,785
Layout: front-wheel drive
Engine: 3.0-liter dohc 24-valve V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 210 @ 5800
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 220 @ 4400
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 21/29 mpg
Wheelbase: 107.1 in.
Length/width/height: 191.9/71.7/57.7 in.
Track, f/r: 61.0/60.0 in.
Turning circle: 37.6 ft.
Seating capacity: 5
Head/hip/leg room, f: 38.7/55.2/41.7 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r: 37.9/55.1/40.1 in.
Trunk volume: 15.9 cu. ft.
Payload: N/A
Towing capacity: 2000 Lbs.
Suspension, f: independent
Suspension, r: independent
Ground clearance: 5.1 in.
Curb weight: 3439 lbs.
Tires: 205/60R16
Brakes, f/r: disc/disc with ABS
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gal.

 

Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of June 10, 2002.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-GO-TOYOTA - www.toyota.com

Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive, Inc.


 

Printable Version

2003 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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Rollover Resistance
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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

2003 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.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles

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.

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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 ReportTM****

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 ReportsTM 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

Printable Version

2003 Toyota Avalon Sedan

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