Lexus vs Toyota Avalon

Lynne_SJOMarch 30, 2005

OK guys, here is another one for you. (I apologize in advance for this being a broad and very general question...)

I have posted about my search for a new car to replace my '96 Avalon XLS, which I love (hubby will inherit it) and I have test driven the new Avalons. Before making a final decision, I think it only smart to consider Lexus as well. I have never driven a Lexus, but plan to do that in the next few days.

Is Lexus worth the premium that they charge, given the fact that they are also built by Toyota and share many features with the Avalon? What exactly is the difference?

I find the choices way too confusing, with the ES, the GS, the IS and the LS. Geeze. If I were king, I would choose an LS430, but that is too much $$, since I want to pay cash. I guess my bottom line question is: "What model Lexus would be most comparable to an Avalon and for this model, why (or why not) would you choose it over the Avalon?"

Thanks, as always,


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I would have a tough time comparing the Avalon to any Lexus model. In terms of size, it compares best to the LS. In terms of price it compares to the ES, which in my opinion is just a rebadged Camry.

If the link below works, I have done a comparison on Edmunds of the Toyota Avalon (a six cylinder front wheel drive), Lexus GS300 (a six cylinder rear wheel drive), and a Lexus ES330 (a six cylinder front wheel drive).

I think that the difference between Toyota and Lexus is marketing. In the Lexus there is additional soundproofing, additional technology for parking, cruise control, ride and handling.

Good luck with your shopping.

Here is a link that might be useful: Edmunds Comparison

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 1:25PM
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The Avalon seems to correspond most closely to the GS.

One major difference between Lexus and Toyota appears to be in customer service. Lexus scores very well with J.D. Powers and in a few other surveys I've seen, while Toyota seems to do average to slightly below average with some cars which are essentially the same. I suspect that Toyota treats Lexus customers as the buyers of the premium brand that they are. But only you can decide if the price differential is worth it.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 1:27PM
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Much like the old Buick or Oldsmobile vs Cadillac debate of 20 to 60 years ago. GM, back then, was able to do an excellent "cover-up", recently this was no longer true..

In Japan, the Lexus is know as a Toyota (last I knew)..

That the top end dealers are better is a plus.
Check out the resale value between the Avalon and the Lexus..

Check out the new Cadillacs; maybe GM is learning a few things..

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 5:31PM
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Thought I'd add that my SIL recently bought a new Lexus LX i think (the bigger SUV).

So far she really likes the vehicle and her only complaint is that, (twice now) when she brought it back to the dealer for routine oil changes they kept the car much longer than they needed to simply to vacuum it and wash it and other frills.

The second time especially, she found this particulary annoying because she was waiting at the dealership while they do all this fluff. On top of it all, it was raining at the time so who cares about the wash. (He told the car was all done, but they needed to do these extra things). She just wanted her car to leave.

When she voiced her opinion, the service manager was practically falling over her to let them wash and prep it and then he practically harasses her into filling out a favorable survey report before she left.

Of course, it's these survey reports that scores "customer satifaction."

So much for the pampering, I'd prefer if they just do the work I asked for and let me go. Trust me you pay for that fluff before and after you purchase the car.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 5:33PM
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With Volkswagen back in the late 60s we had to change the oil, lube the hinges, grease the front end,clean the oil strainer, check all the lights, wash the windshield, remove the front floor dirt, and service the battery, fill the w/s washer, and inflate the tires, all in less than 15 minutes !! Impossible to do without "shortcuts", but very minor shortcuts.. !!!

For the customer, it was in and out in about 20 minutes without a car wash(this was extra, I guess)

Whatever happened ?? In the area of balance and reason ??

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 7:57PM
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Made my decision after many test drives and comparisons of size, weight, wheelbase, headroom, engine, ride, repair record, ergonomics/comfort, etc. Here is the summary:

The Lexus model that most closely compares to the Avalon is the ES330. Compared to my 1996 Avalon, it is nearly identical in terms of basic dimensions and I love that car, so that was the first basis for comparison. It is about 100 lbs heavier and has 1" less headroom and width. It has a bigger engine than the 96 Av, 225 HP versus 196. And it has many comfort extras and a quieter smoother ride. It is also the same price as a new Avalon Limited Edition, so I cannot imagine why anyone would not choose the Lexus.

Compared to the new Avalon, the Lexus has a smaller engine (225 versus 280 HP). The new Av is also about 200 lbs heavier and about 4 inches wider. In fact, it felt a bit tubby to me, which is why we started looking at the Lexus. And contrary to urban myths, the Lexus is not a Camry with a different logo. The engine is different as are most other things.

Comparing the Avalon to the LS430 was like apples and oranges. The 430 would compare most closely to a large mercedes sedan. It is 400LBS heavier than the new Avalon; it is a V8 as opposed to the Av's V6, and it is 7 inches longer. I was considering a used one with 10K miles on it, but at $50,000, I could not justify it, especially since I was going to pay cash. Also, I did not want a car that was so BIG. What a wonderful car, but too big.

I really liked the sportiness, design, ergonomics, and handling of the ES 330. We could not be happier.

I agree with others who have commented on their reputation for customer service. I experienced it yesterday, when I had to leave it to have the XM radio installed. They gave me a bran new 330 as a loaner and their facility is fantastic. Given my busy schedule and high pressure job, I think I like this pampering approach.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 1:38PM
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Gm, are you reading all this ??
You were the master, once.Took me years and years to determine that the '58 Cadillac and Chevrolet Impala used the same shell.
Very clever of GM (nearly 50 years ago)
Now Toyota is the clever one...

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 3:22PM
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Does anybody give a rip?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 3:37PM
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Does anybody give a rip?

The first sign of decay in any nation.
The softening up of our moral and ethical fiber, then the invasion of a helpless people..

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 1:52PM
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Lynne, I am glad you found a car that you like so much.

I guess we will agree to disagree on the ES330/Camry thing and what rebadging means.

The ES330 is built on the same platform as the Camry. The Camry is available with the same 3.3 litre engine. There is no doubt, however, that the Lexus is a more luxurious vehicle.

Enjoy the new ride!

Here is a link that might be useful: Lexus ES330 Review

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 5:46PM
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The ES shares a platform with the Camry with extra comfort features. The GS shares a platform with the Avalon with extra comfort features. They share a ton of common parts often including transmissions and engines. With the Lexus you are paying a premium no doubt, they are more expensive because they have more feature content, you also typically get a nicer dealership with all the extra features, cappucino while you wait, etc.

I dont fault anyone for preferring the Lexus to the Toyota but you get less value for your money because Toyota makes a higher profit margin on the Lexus. But hey that's what makes this country great you get to buy with your money what you like.

Toyota/Lexus are not the only ones to share platforms, every manufacturer does it. Its the only way they can afford to compete. Heck in this day and age we have Porsche sharing platforms with Volkswagen (ie the Tourag). So buy what makes sense to you!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 8:49AM
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Although the ES330 and Camry share many of the same major components, the ES330 (IMO) has a MUCH nicer interior than the Camry. The two cars are worlds apart on the inside (where you spend most of your time anyway) I noticed that the new Avalon's interior is much more 'Lexus-like' than the previous generation, and offers just as many of the same features (if not more) than the ES330. I also noticed it can carry a higher price tag when fully loaded also.

Badge engineering is everywhere. Manufacturers have been doing it for ages, and continue still today. Some just tend to make it more obvious than others...

    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 9:43PM
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A salesman at the Lincoln dealer told be the Aviator was not a rebadged (but admittedly gussied up) Explorer, but a true 7/8ths version of the Navigator.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 8:37PM
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Even though some of the Lexus models may share the same platform as Toyota models, Lexus cars are built to a higher standard, and if you've driven both you can tell. Don't believe me? Read the end of the article below....

Here is a link that might be useful: Tahara Plant

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 3:14PM
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It is really sad to see GM's decline, but they have only themselves to blame. No one forced them to commit to those extremely rich EE and retiree benefits and long term labor contracts that have them locked in and paying some of the highest labor costs on the planet. And when management "pretends" to hire benefits consultants to work with them to help them better manage cost, guess what? Labor has veto rights and always ends up getting their way, no matter how rediculous it is. It is like the tail is wagging the dog and they are getting just what they deserve. Maybe all is well for those GM EES that have jobs and seniority, but for the others, the future looks bleak.

Thank goodness, consumers have many other and better choices.

It is also sad to see the decline of Mercedes Benz. Though they are now owned by Chrysler, why in the world can't they make a reliable car like the Japanese? Before bying our Lexus ES-330 I really wanted to look at the Mercedes C-class. They are gorgeous - I just love the body design and look, but after reading the Annual Auto Issue of Consumer Reports - NO WAY. Thought of Beamers too, but they are also having reliability problems. Dang.

Love the Lexus and the navigation system, which I have come to depend on.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 1:51PM
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Mercedes-Benz has been declining since long before Chrysler ever owned them. I'm pretty sure that the ownership is the other way around..Benz owns Chrysler.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 5:04PM
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Lexus vs Toyota Avalon : Both great, as usual, the Japanese have learned well, done their homework to the nth detail and have surpassed all.......
But all things can always be done better - there can be no limits. GM , and America, can be number one again.
I think the first thing to realize is that we are NOT number one, maybe not even number ten !!!

I saw one of the recent or new Mercedes today ; it looked to be a Honda or a Ford sporty coupe, NOT a Mercedes..

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 6:07PM
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We bought a 2004 Lexus ES330 new . We looked at Avalon and Camry before we bought. The ES330 is basically the same running gear and engine as the Avalon and the Camry. FWD 3.3 liter 6cyl. It was updated in '04 to 3.3 liters from the previous 3.0 liters (the ES330) The car is a great car, we have the Navigation also and it works reasonably well.
Now the bad: while in Las Vegas this last weekend (1-28, 1-29-06) I was driving the car and stopped at a light. The brake pedal then slowly sunk to the floor! Whoa! says I, this ain't right! I pumped the pedal and the brake returned to a normal brake height. At the next light, guess what?... it sunk to the floor again! No brakes! I pumped it again a couple of times and the brake pedal returns to normal height. I does this 2- 3 times again on the way back to our lodging in Las Vegas. When I parked it in the parking space at our apt, I was able to make it go to the floor again with very little pressure on the brake pedal.
We called Lexus of Las Vegas on Monday 1-30-06 and had them flatbed the car to the dealer for repairs. They at first told me it was a "bubble in the brake line and they "bled it out"...BS..there was no bubble, there was no loss of fluid, there was no repair. They said because they "couldn't duplicate the problem" they weren't authorized to change the master cyl. That we should just come pick it up and drive it until it looses it brakes again!
I said .."NO WAY!!!!" Fix it , it's under warranty and it only has 17,000 miles on it.
Well it turns out that Lexus won't let there service mgrs. make a decision on their own, but must be able to "duplicate the problem" in order to authorize a repair.
My position was that the brakes had failed not once on Sunday, but several times and that anything over once was one time to many.
I asked if the service manager would put his wife in a car that had the brake pedal go to the floor and tell her that he can't do anything unless he actually sees the brake pedal on the floor. ( He'll be sleeping on the couch for a while!)

I told him I wasn't willing to see the brake pedal on the floor and my significant other on a stretcher being taken to a hospital because he couldn't "duplicate the failure" in his shop. I asked him if he had heard the term "intermittent failure" . He said yes, but his mantra was : I can't replace the part unless I can "dup......Blah , Blah , Blah" .
We live in Los Angeles, the car's in Las Vegas, & so is my S.O. And nothing is fixed, NO loan car for 3 days.
I then called the Lexus dealer in Van Nuys where we bought the car new (Keyes Lexus in Van Nuys Ca) and asked if they could intervene. I got the same answer: We can't do anything unless they can "Duplicate the failure"
Then I tried to call the Lexus customer service line (1800 25-LEXUS) and there's no answer at 4:15 pm PST. I tried it 4 times , It just rings and rings and finally hangs up on you. ( I guess their cars only break before 4:15 PM )
Bottom line: You may think you're getting the best, but sometimes you don't get what you pay for.
Today is Wednesday, 2-1-06 and the car has been at Las Vegas Lexus for 3 days, no repair, NO loan car. Refusal to tow it to our home so we can have it fixed in Los Angeles and ....A very Pi---- off customer.
A customer who when we signed the purchase contract also was given a warranty.. and they are not living up to their obligations on the agreement we both entered into.

So folks, like the housing market, so is the Vehicle market turning. Customer satisfaction is slowly going out the window. I hope the quality stays above water until Somebody out there cares enough to take care of the customer after the sale. If not, Toyota Motors USA will be joining GM and Ford, et al, in the slippery slide.
By the way, I was in the automotive field in the 70's and 80's and saw the dismal products that were made in those two decades, so I left the business. I ran an automotive service center. I still am an automotive enthusiast and work on my own antique and classic vehicles. I am not afraid of the new technology and have a broad understanding of it including the Computerization of the automobile.
BUT... I have a warranty.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 8:45PM
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I have had the same happen to me with an older high mileage Saab , twice.
This was an internal leak of the master cylinder and is bought on with LIGHT foot pressure..
Just rest the foot on the pedal and it will slowly fade to the floor. Increase the force and the car will stop fine, and the pedal will stay high..
This condition is rare, probably very rare.
And it is surprising to see this on such a new car..
Toyota people are men, not Gods...

Anyway, I would force the Toyota tech to exactly simulate your brake pedal action..
No one, including me, will normally apply "light pressure" on a brake pedal to test or bleed; but this will reveal a bad master cylinder, particularly in a very high mileage car..

Others will chime in, maybe I am wrong about this particular case...

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 9:27PM
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dealer service, and how well a company backs their product can make or break a brand. since any car will get us from point a to point b, and most anyone can make themselves comfortable in a model from any company. it all comes down to ones perception of value for the money.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 10:45PM
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Edy Bower

Toyota makes Lexus, so when something goes wrong breaks down its not that expensive to fi,x because it has parts made by Toyota , some Parts are made in japan or something parts
I will go with the ls400, i've had 4 of them 94-97. I've had the 96 for 5 years when i was 16 and I'm now 21 I SOLD IT on Christmas for 8,000 with 283xxx miles becauseit drove like if it was fresh out the dealer, and never had problems same as the ls430 Ultra With Massage Seats
In The Back My (Brother) has, He's had it for more than 2yrs and has never had any problems just keep it well maintained,,.A tune up every 5 months will keep it going up to 400-500k miles Ultra with Massage Seats
in The Back my brother has one he's had it for 2yrs and has never had any problems just keep it well maintained,, a tune up every 5 months will keep it going up to 400-500k miles, my last lexus wicth was 92 sc400 had over 320xxxmiles ran strong and smooth no problem just the starter because i had a big sound system of 4 12's that can barely fit by cano's customs in oakland CA on E 14th behind Burger king the best in the bay area... but i wouldn't get a es300 or 91-97 gs300 prefer getting a gs 400 or gs 430 most definitely a gs350, 94& UP if don't want to spend over $10,000 94-07 beautiful cars with 1UZ-FE enigine in in 89-2000 that i trust, & a 3UZ-FE in the yr 01-07... i sc400 is also a good reliable vehicle the only difference is, it's a 2 door sporty look only room for maybe one person in the seat with feet on back Seats....
and lexus will last you a very long time as long as it babied with tune up witch is ; $9 Each NGK Spark Plugs about: Spark plug wires 45, $47 all fluids change Motor Oil Transmission Oil, radiator flush filled with more 50/50 brake fluid, power steering fluid about , Air Filter, Oil Filter $6.99 Bosch, & Timing belt $150 witch is the easiest..... takes about 2-3hrs and all you pay for is the parts you need for about $350 but that's only a major tune up that you will need to service before 2yrs so it can pass smog with flying colors, all you need for a regular tune up is a Timing Belt, Oil Filter, Air Filter, Spark Plugs Spark Plugs Wires, and if you want a new (ICM) {Ignition Control Module} with the wire from the
Spark Plugs
Connect To.. Love Toyota To i also have one of those A 1996 Avalon witch is the same as the lexus to me but the Suspension is Softer and Smoother than the Avalon & Its a v8 Avalon is A v6 GOOD ON GASS 55 FULL TANK WITH PREMIUM

    Bookmark   February 27, 2015 at 4:08AM
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Bob Ice

Nice discussion get car transporters here.

    Bookmark   18 hours ago
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