My dad bought it new in 96 and has driven it around town 80-90% of the time. Over the past 19 years he's only had to replace the components that typically fail in these first generation Avalons: the valve cover gaskets (at 150,000 miles) and now a new rack and pinion assembly (at 180,000 miles).
For its age and considering that the vast majority of the miles have been hard "city" miles the car drives exceptionally well, accelerates smoothly (the 3.0 is VERY torquey), and shifts effortlessly. The seats are incredibly comfortable and roomy and I am often complimented on how well it still rides 19 years later. Also, the build quality is fantastic; interior materials are of very high quality, road noise is kept to a minimum, and there are NO noises generated from inside the car.
Even after losing oil pressure twice (at 145,000 miles and 175,000) the engine still runs like new, you just can't kill these Avalons. I fully intend to replace the timing belt and water pump for the second time soon and drive it for many years to come. Gas mileage is superb, I average around 20 in town and routinely in the low 30s on road trips at around 70 MPH.
by,by. American cars. had my share, started whith a corona,then the Cressida,s now the Avalon, all performed great for me ,my Avalon I have now just reached 235.kl and still feels strong ,of course I do the regular maintenance, just bought a 96 whith 127.)000.kl.on it .im looking forward to good reliable transportation,whith this one .love this modle xls.
I love my 96 Avalon. I have had it for almost 2 years. In the course of this time it developed a significant oil leak and I thought it would cost an arm and a leg to fix. It was only $225 (including labor) to replace the crank shaft seal and since the timing belt is adjacent to it, that was replaced as well! I have replaced struts, tires, a control arm, a caliper, and have had it regularly maintained. The display lights are going out and the CD player and tape player no longer work but the radio does. It has 198,000 miles on it and is still running splendidly. When it is time for this gem to retire I would really like another Avalon.
I love the climate control, huge trunk, comfy seats, outside temperature display, the fact that there are no problems with "blind" spots, the roominess, and the leather seats. Most of all I greatly appreciate the reliability of this car.
A car that has this many miles and it and and has withstood the wear and tear that it has does not need any suggested improvements.