Image credits: © Toyota.

2006 Toyota Avalon

In Toyota's flagship sedan, it's technology that makes it so luxurious. Take the Limited's heated and ventilated front seats, for example. They keep you warm in the winter, cool and dry in the summer. Our engineers embraced technology so that you can embrace the luxury that is Avalon.

History
When the Cressida was dropped from the Toyota lineup in 1991, the Camry XLE V6 took its place as Toyota's flagship sedan. (concept carz) When the Avalon debuted in Fall, 1995, it introduced an all-new class of car for Toyota, representing the next level of quality, comfort and refinement. Avalon was the most sophisticated, spacious and best-equipped sedan ever offered by the manufacturer. In fact, when equipped wîth the optional 50/50 power-operated split bench front seat, Avalon is capable of seating six (grown) adults.

Built exclusively at Toyota Motor Manufacturing (TMM) in Georgetown, Ky., Avalon was produced wîth the needs and desires of the American public in mind. Much of the design of both the interior and exterior was performed by the Toyota Technical Centers (TTC) in Michigan, Arizona and California. Avalon was powered by a version of the 3.0-liter, 24-valve, all-aluminum V6 engine that was in the Camry. With its 192-horsepower engine (more than the Camry due to different intake and exhaust plumbing), four-speed automatic transmission and superior aerodynamics, Avalon's fuel economy was on par wîth Camry. All Avalons were equipped wîth standard dual airbags, and offered ABS as an option. The 1997 Avalon continued on essentially unchanged, but revised intake and exhaust plumbing resulted in a horsepower increase to 200, up seven. ABS became standard on all models while traction control became available for the first time. For 1998, Avalon saw its first minor change wîth the introduction of chrome front and rear fascia trim, bodyside molding and license plate bezel. The grille was revised and multi-reflector headlights provided better illumination. The trunk lid incorporated a spoiler-like design, and the jeweled taillights were also new. On the inside, side airbags were made standard, as were pretensioner seatbelts wîth force-limiters. Optionally available were heated seats wîth two-position memory. The chassis also underwent extensive reinforcement, resulting in less torsional flex, lower NVH and improved crash worthiness. For 2000, Avalon entered its second-generation roomier, more powerful and more technically advanced than its predecessor. The Avalon has always been a vehicle of firsts for Toyota. It was the first Toyota vehicle built exclusively in America. It was the first true joint venture between Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) of Japan and Toyota Technical Center (TTC) of America. And, it was the first Toyota product to be classified as a 'domestic' vehicle according to CAFÉ standards. ( posted on conceptcarz.com) Now the all-new Avalon is the first Toyota vehicle wîth both a Japanese and an American chief engineer. Furthermore, the all-new Avalon styling was designed at Toyota California design studio in Newport Beach, Calif. The 2000 Avalon was powered by an improved 3.0-liter V6 engine wîth Variable Valve Timing (VVT-i) that generated more horsepower and torque, higher fuel efficiency and lower emissions. The engine produced 210 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 220 lbs./ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm. Estimated city/highway fuel economy was 21/29 mpg. All Avalons featured dual front- and side-airbag systems as standard equipment and offer vehicle skid control, traction control and Brake assist as options. For the next two model years (2001 and 2002) Avalon carried over unchanged wîth the exception of a new color, Stratosphere Mica in 2002. The Avalon entered the 2003 model year wîth minor changes to the exterior and upgrades to the interior. It featured a new grille, wider lower air intake wîth a new design for fog lamps, revised tail lamp configuration. The XLS was upgraded wîth numerous standard features including driver's side electrochromic mirror, leather-wrapped §teering wheel wîth wood grain-style trim, available remote controlled DVD navigation system, rain-sensing windshield wipers and new 16' alloy wheels. The XL grade featured a newly designed multi-information display and perforated leather trim is available. The Avalon carried over unchanged for the 2004 model year, wîth the exception of Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). VSC became available as an option on XL models.

For 2005, the all-new third-generation Avalon was completely redesigned to feature improved performance and a more luxurious interior. The Avalon went from final styling approval to production, in a mere 18 months, the quickest development time of any North American-produced Toyota. A sleek grille wîth chrome accented horizontal bars and character lines defined a more contemporary Avalon profile. From the rear, large tail lamps and an elegantly sculptured trunk defined the Avalon. In addition, dual rear exhaust outlets offered a sporty touch to the vehicle's larger dimensions, a four-inch longer wheelbase and a one-inch longer width. The Avalon received an all-new 3.5-liter, 24 valve, VVT-i V6 engine which produced 280 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. torque. With this engine, Toyota introduced a unique roller rocker concave cam profile that provided faster opening and later closing of the valves which was a key contribution to Avalon's power increase. Estimated EPA fuel economy ratings were 22 city/31 highway. The Avalon brought several 'firsts' to the Toyota lineup including side mirrors featuring memory, integrated LED turn signal and puddle lamp on the Limited grade. Toyota's first low-profile wiper blade was uniquely developed for the Avalon. The one-piece blade assembly contributed to the reduction of frozen blades. In addition, a Remote Engine Starter was made available on all Avalon grades equipped wîth the factory alarm system as a port-or dealer-installed option. Interior features of the 2005 Avalon included a seven-way adjustable §teering column, sliding armrest, rear flat floor and reclining rear seats. Front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags and a driver's knee airbag became standard safety features on the 2005 Avalon. A new Touring grade was also introduced which featured a more firmly tuned suspension, higher coil spring rates, fog lamps, rear lip spoiler, graphite finish wheels and a leather-trimmed charcoal interior. New features for Limited models included the Smart Key System, power driver's seat cushion length adjuster and driver and front passenger seat heater and fan. For the 2006 model year, VSC becomes optional for XL and Touring models. Heated front seats also become options for Touring grade.

Source - Toyota
At times compared to a Lexus, from the outside the Toyota Avalon might be a bland looking four-door, but on the inside the combination of luxurious roominess, safety, ride comfort and value you wouldn't be able to find elsewhere. The Avalon emerged as one of the 10 best cars sold in North American in terms of problem-free operation in a recent J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study. Originally based on the platform of the then-current Toyota Camry, the Toyota Avalon is a full-size car that was produced by Toyota in the U.S. and Australia. The Avalon was produced as a front wheel drive four-door sedan.

When the Toyotta Cressida was deleted from the American car market in 1992 and the Toyota Avalon was designed to fill the gap left by that vehicle. Though the Cressida was a midsize, rear wheel drive vehicle, the all new Avalon was a full size, rear wheel drive car and had Toyota's 1MZ-FE V6 engine, compared to the Cressida's 7M-GE I6 engine.

On February 21, 1994, the first Avalon rolled off the assembly line in Georgetown, Kentucky as a 1995 model. In 1999, a second-generation model was released in the U.S. and Japan. Built in the same plant as the Camry, the 1995 Avalon was a completely new model that was placed higher than the Camry, making it Toyota's flagship.

Larger in almost every aspect, the second generation Avalon was introduced in 2004. Based on a stretched Camry platform, the Avalon featured a 3.0 L V6 engine that produced 192 hp and 210 ft – lb of torque. Minor updates to the front and rear fascias were underwent in 1998, along with the power rating being upped to 200 hp and increase of torque to 214 lb – ft. Basically the same size as the Camry, the second generation Avalon was US made and was exported to Japan's domestic market where it was labeled as the Toyota Pronard.

The original, first-generation Avalon still continues to be built in Australia in the Melbourne suburb of Altona. The original model is produced in both right hand drive for New Zealand, Australia and various parts of Asia, and left hand drive for the Middle East. Toyota was now in what it called its ‘Mark III' phase with the Australian Avalon. Though based on the same car launched in the US in 1995, the Australian Avalon had a slight facelift for the 2004 model year. In July of 2005 Toyota Australia ended production of the Avalon. Toyota of Australia was now concentrating on producing a vehicle much larger than the Avalon in late 2006 that will compete with the Holden Commodore and the Ford Falcon. Introduced at the 2006 Melbourne International Motorshow, the all new Aurion was unveiled and will go on sale in November of 2006.

A complete redesign from previous generations, the '05 Avalon is Toyota's largest, most luxurious, and most costly model sold under its own nameplate. Inside the Avalon was a 3.5 L 280 hp V6 engine along with a host of advanced technological features. Produced to compete with the Chevy Impala, the Buick LaCrosse, Nissan Maxima and the Ford Five Hundred, the new Avalon was unveiled at the 2005 North American International Auto Show. Featuring much more distinctive styling than previous generations, the third generation Avalon did have power dropped to 268 hp due to new SAE specifications along with torque dropping to 248 ft-lb. For 2005 stability control was expanded to the XL and Touring models and a keyless remote start became standard for Limited models.

By Jessica Donaldson

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