Toyota’s under appreciated large sedan named number one.
John Goreham's picture

Toyota Avalon Best For What?

Toyota’s underappreciated large sedan named number one at something. Go Figure.

Kelley Blue Book loves to create lists. We like them and enjoy re-reporting the crazy things they think up to rank. Unlike their questionable list of tiny, expensive cars they say are great choices for 'back to school”, we can’t disagree that their choice of the 2006 Toyota Avalon as the “Best Car Under $8K” makes sense.

The Toyota Avalon earned a reputation as a “grandparents car.” This author’s grandmother was an early adopter, moving up from a Camry before moving down to a Corolla. The car’s size, smooth ride, bullet-proof reputation for quality, and implied safety (big is safe, right?) was exactly what the senior crowd was in search of.

That pidgeon-holing of the Avalon was noticed by Toyota, and instead of embracing it, they changed the car into a great handling, rather quick sedan. Before that change, though, a lot of Avalons sold to people who didn’t commute and used their cars relatively gently. The “Little old lady drove this car to church on Sunday” myth may be closer to true with the Avalon than with most cars.

So what to look for in a used 2006 Toyota Avalon? First, start with maintenance history. If the car does not come with oil change and transmission service receipts walk away. The ’06 Avalon used the much more reliable 3.5-liter V6 engine. Prior to that, some early Avalons started out with the 3.0-liter, which we would avoid due to some engine sludge issues. Next, look for signs of paint respray that might indicate an accident. Minor hits will be no big deal in a 10-year old car, but if you think the airbags may have been deployed in a crash, move on and find another one.

See the KBB story here.

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