I bought this Avalon having owned another 1st generation Avalon.
Didn't figure I'd need to have a PPI, but I should have gotten one.
Turns out the engine was a smoker.
Despite replacing the valve seals and spark plugs, it continued to smoke.
Quickly re-sold it.
Split seating up front, with a fixed center console.
Ease of maintenance.
Lots of legroom.
I think I missed an engine recall.
Oh well, it was 3 years ago.
I take this car up to big bear with a full car (6 people, the center front armrest comes up and has a seatbelt underneath) and it has never broken down on me once. The ride going there is completely smooth cruising at 80 mph, even though the Avalon's engine has more than enough power to go over that even with a full car. It has no trouble getting up those steep hills and is my car of choice when driving up to the mountains every season. It also survived a trip all the way to Sonora in Northern California from San Diego with a very steep mountain to climb at the end as well. Again, the car did not disappoint. Would highly recommend this car to anyone looking for an extremely robust vehicle.
I'm 18 and a serious car enthusiast and this was my first car when my dad handed it down to me when i got my license @ 15 and a half(had 150k miles on it). Of course it isn't exactly my choice of a car and I made a bet with my father that if the car died we would get a replacement car of my choice(reasonably priced of course). And I'm still losng that bet, that car has not died at all or shown signs of even slowing down. Sum of it all, you can't go wrong with this car if you need a used cheap low maintainence car for just point A to point B.
Pros: Comfortable, very spacious with tons of space to store anything you need. Even as a used, power will suffice for freeway use still. Very safe car and extremely reliable.
Cons: Gas mileage is in the neighborhood of 19 to low 20s. Handles like a cruiseship, but it should be able to make a U-turn still at lights. There is chassis sway when you are taking corners so it might be uncomfortable at those points.
If you intend to keep this car for a long period of time I suggest a slightly stiffer suspesion to make more sharper U-turns in neighborhoods to avoid 2 point turns and such. Other than that, the car should be good as is.
Bought 6 yrs old in 2004 with 29000 miles. Have 115K on it now and in 6 years have put brakes, wipers, tires, and battery....that's it. Would buy another in a heartbeat. Paid $11K in '04 and the Blue Book today is $6K. Too bad I'll never trade it.
Seating, horsepower, solid feel, stereo
Not a performance handling vehicle - could use tighter suspension and wider tires