Bought this car when it had 85,409 miles on it. Have replaced struts, brakes, tires, keep the oil and all fluids changed according to Toyota specs/timings. This has been a great car, so much so I just gave it to my youngest daughter for college and I went out and found another great 97 Avalon XL with leather and sunroof. These cars will go the miracle mile if you do everything on a regular schedule, this is especially true of the timing belt--don't push past the 90K mile interval.
Quietness of this car is incredible, even after all these miles, not rattles, shimmy, or shake. Excellent mileage on the highway at 31 miles per gallon combined city and highway is 24 mpg. Reliability is the best I've had in any vehicle I've ever owned. Great car.
My sister bought the car new in 97 and gave it to me last year. Today the car has a little over 200k. Theres no problem with the car except for the front right suspension which makes noise on bumpy roads (mentioned in other reviews).
I bought the car used for $3500 in 2006 with 207k miles, and it now has 243k miles. The car has been very reliable for me overall. I have done some preventive maintenance, such as change the original timing belt and water pump at about 220k miles (recommended to be done at 100k miles). The car did develop some squeaky noises in the front suspension, but this was fixed by replacing the strut mounts for about $250 including labor. Also, the front driver's window stopped rolling up and down for about 6 months (luckily it was stuck in the "up" position), but then magically starting working again. Overall, the car has been excellent. I look forward to driving it at least another 100k miles.
LOTS of space. Good handling for a large sedan. Very comfortable. Very reliable.
Better cup holders. Better stereo controls. Owner before me had to replace rack and pinion steering assembly and I had to replace strut mounts, both of which are notoriously bad on this car. If you decide to buy one, make sure seller has fixed these problems, or you will probably have to ($1200).
I bought this car with 92,000 miles on it several years ago, using it for commercial (livery) use and then driving from Massachusetts to California in it. I now have over 152,000 miles on it. I had to replace brakes/rotors as well as the shocks (which I didn't bother fixing for 4 years, actually), but absolutely trusted this car all the way (no major repairs, just routine stuff). Unfortunately, my husband crashed it recently, and would rather spend $7k on a Honda rather than $3k to fix the Avalon. I'm heartbroken, but we'll still hold on to it in our garage and perhaps fix it later.
Love the engine (strong!!). People would always tell me good things about this car's reliability when they'd see it -and I can attest!! Smooth ride, although the shocks/strut seems to be a recurring problematic theme. VERY roomy all the way around, even with a baby seat in the back.
Kind of a "grandpa" looking car, but who cares it is so reliable you will be as old as a grandpa and still using it!!
I liked my first Avalon so much that I bought another in 2000 and we've put 330,000 miles on the pair. Both are nicked up but they still run fine (2008). In 19 (combined) years of use I've had only ~$3,000 in repairs (other than an accident, tires and oil changes). Cons: Weak in snow. Steerling column leak (both cars - use sealing fluid). Goes through tires too quickly. Toyota's known for quality and reliability and that's exactly what I've experienced. In 2007 I purchased a 1986 Corolla that runs fine. I now need a 4th car and it will be a Toyota. I still feel that I made a solid purchase every time I start up one of my Avalons.
Quality and reliability. Quiet and smooth ride (no noise as others have mentioned). Roomy and comfortable. Good gas mileage.
Variable speed wipers. Improved steering column (leaks). Faux wood trim items on the second Avalon have flaked off.