Well, I've been posting about some annoying sounds coming from my Avalon and now I feel the need to politely vent (since the dealer and Toyota corporate haven't really been that helpful or responsive). The Avalon should really be a great car- a big, comfortable near-luxury car with good power and great reliability. This reputation drew me to the model and my test drive didn't contradict this impression, but now that I have driven the vehicle for a 2 weeks, I am really disappointed in it. The car gives you the initial impression of those aforementioned qualities, but the details make it feel like a large Corolla rather than a near-luxury cruiser. Here are a few things that bother me:
- If the wind noise I posted about is indeed normal, then this is one of the loudest cars I have ever driven. The constant drone is maddening and it forces me to turn up the radio to enjoy talk or music. Tire noise is also pronounced. My last three cars were a VW Tiguan, Mercury Sable, and Mercury Grand Marquis. All were quieter. If they wind up fixing the noise, then the Avalon will just be average.
- There are little fit-and-finish issues that I would expect to find in a car that costs a few bucks under $40K retail. The fake chrome dash creaks when pushed, as do the door panels. Harsh plastic sounds emanate from deeper in the dash when traveling over rough pavement, and my right front speaker has begun to rattle when playing speech sources.
- For a big car aimed at a discerning demographic that cares about comfort, the front seats aren't all that comfortable and they don't heat up evenly. My old Tiguan had much more comfortable seats and they were warm all over.
- The standard sound system is odd. A lot of the sound is shifted to the front of the vehicle and it is painfully bass-heavy. It is hard to find the sweet spot for general listening. This is not a deal-breaker, because I don't often listen to music, but I was just expecting better.
- The front storage space is way too small.
- The car has a tremendous amount of torque steer. Now, I admit to having a heavy foot and that most drivers probably don't encounter this too often, but hard acceleration can really make the car jittery at times. Again, not a deal breaker. It kind of reminds me of my old, mid-90s Maxima, but I just assumed the tech would have improved and eliminated extreme torque steer between then and now.