If Toyota were ever to go into the business of building Buicks, the result would be…oh wait, Toyota already builds a Buick. It’s called the Avalon. Designed and configured specifically to appeal to an older American demographic, Toyota’s Avalon is big, quiet, smooth riding, powerful, and highly stable.
Notice though, the word “exciting” was nowhere in evidence in that last sentence. And, though it was omitted as well, the word “reliable” should have been implied.
Based since its launch on the same platform underpinning Camry, Avalon is essentially a long wheelbase, fully loaded Camry. That said, in addition to all the attributes we’ve listed so far, the Avalon offers also a high level of standard equipment. Toyota’s Avalon is about as close as you can get to a Lexus, without putting the stylized L on the grille.
The company’s flagship sedan in the U.S., Avalon entered Toyota’s lineup in 1994, as a 1995 model. Built in Georgetown, Kentucky, Avalon replaced Toyota’s previous large sedan, Cressida. The car is named for the town on Santa Catalina Island, just off the coast of Southern California near Los Angeles. Which, in turn, was named for a town from the legend of King Arthur. In the Arthurian legend, Avalon is where Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, was forged.
There have been three generations of the car offered since its launch in 1995. The fourth generation car was introduced at the 2012 New York Auto Show and will go on sale in the fall of 2012, as a 2013 model. This article will cover the second and third generation of the cars—built between 1999 and 2012.