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Toyota Avalon

CSX sports pack

2001 April: Toyota (.au) is selling 500 Toyota Avalon CSX Sports Pack models, for au$34,490 rrp. The special edition gets 16" Arista alloy wheels, a black mesh grille, and a rear spoiler. The mesh grille definitely improves the Avalon's looks, its weakest aspect being the nose.

The Avalon has been selling in modest numbers since its Australian launch last year. It is a sensible design, comfortable and with good power, but Australian's still prefer rear wheel drive in their big cars.

2000 July: The Toyota Avalon is in a store near you and after their pre-GST funny business, T' have fixed a 6% lower GST-era entry price of $28.5K for the bare bones Conquest model, e.g. no air con'. The Grande, with the lot, is well equipped with gadgets like power seats and power height- & reach-adjustable steering wheel, with memory.

The Avalon is a big car on the inside. It has a long wheel base (a very stretched Camry floor pan), the interior is well planned with good seats, and the result is excellent leg room, which is positively exceptional in the rear - as measured by some of the longest legs in Australia. The boot's big too - no rear diff' to keep the boot floor high - and you could probably do that Leyland P76 trick of putting a 44-gallon drum in the back . . . assuming you ever wanted to carry a 44-gallon drum in the back.


The steering is good, not excessively light as many Japanese cars are, and with reasonable, even firm, self centering. The brakes are also well weighted.

The Avalon is a good car; it would be right "up there" in Europe say, but it will be interesting to see if it can steal sales from Commodore and Falcon. The 3-litre engine has plenty of go, thanks to variable this that and the other, but the competition has 3.4, 3.5 litres or more. The gearbox is a 3-speed + overdrive automatic, not a fully-integrated 4 or even 5-speed unit, and there is no manual gearbox option. And will Australians buy a big front wheel drive car in significant numbers?

The launch TV advertising campaign features Dame Edna Everidge and Sir Les Patterson (does B.H. get double time?) extolling the Avalon's virtues as only they can. Now I have a lot of time for the Dame and for the Knight, a lot of time, but they are interesting images to associate with a slightly up-market car. And, a pity about the grille.


2000 March: The Toyota Avalon was unveiled at the Melbourne Motor Show. It is 4wd.sofcom.com --> a larger car than the Toyota Camry, is also to be assembled at Toyota's factory in Altona Victoria and goes on sale in July. Pre GST prices would start at $30.3K ($au) and range up to $51,620.

Toyota has done good business with the medium sized Camry which has no real locally built competitor in its market segment. The Avalon is a move up a size, trying to take business from the Ford Falcon and GM Holden Commodore, but it is Mitsubishi with its Magna that should be worried. Australians seem to be wedded to rear wheel drive cars with 3.5 litre or bigger 6-cylinder engines, like Falcon and Commodore, and it will be surprising if the Avalon can seriously change this. The V6, front wheel drive Magna is a good car but it has been a rather qualified success and now there are some doubts over its successor because of Mitsubishi's financial woes, and extra uncertainties after the Daimler Chrysler take-over. It is Magna and Avalon that will go head to head. The Avalon 4wd.sofcom.com --> has the 3-litre V6 engine which is the bigger option in the Toyota Camry; this is quite enough for the job but the Magna has a 3.5 litre V6 which fact M's marketeers can play upon. One might anticipate an enlargement in an Avalon upgrade or two.

Toyot@ picture

The Australian Avalon is based upon an American model but has a lengthened Camry floor-pan which is claimed to be stiffer. Let's hope the steering is sharper than the Camry's which is one of the deadest experienced.

The Avalon comes in four grades: Conquest, CSX (left), VXi and Grande, all with a 4wd.sofcom.com --> four-speed automatic gearbox. Twin SRS airbags and front seat-belt pretensioners are standard, as are power windows and mirrors, remote central locking and engine immobiliser, and an 8-function trip computer.

The CSX gains ABS, front side airbags, air-conditioning, cruise control and CD player. The VXi gets alloy wheels, a power operated driver's seat wood-grain and some leather trim, climate control a/c, an electric boot release, and an alarm system.

Toyot@ picture

Right: The Avalon Grande features front foglamps, special alloy wheels, leather trim, power operated front seats, power tilt and reach steering column, headlamps auto-on, power moon-roof, and six-CD player.

Go to the Toyota pages

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