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Avg. Price Paid:$10,454 - $14,096
Original MSRP: $27,325 - $34,665
MPG: 19 City / 28 Hwy
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2008 Toyota Avalon Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Toyota Avalon was new.

According to reviewers, the 2008 Toyota Avalon has plenty of V6 power and capable handling.

The Avalon "really shines on the open highway," says Edmunds and is "rewarding to drive."

Acceleration and Power

The 2008 Toyota Avalon has one engine, a 3.5-liter V6, that U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman says "can be ferocious if encouraged . . . making it effortless to merge onto interstates and zoom past trucks." Car and Driver echoes this praise, calling the Avalon "superior under the hood," with "exhilarating thrust." The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette adds that the Avalon provided "brisk acceleration and response."  The engine makes 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. The 2008 Toyota Avalon has an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated fuel economy of 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Auto reviewers agree that the 2008 Toyota Avalon boasts "impressive numbers for a full-size sedan with a powerful V6," as Edmunds says.

Edmunds says that for 2008, Toyota has "upgraded the previous five-speed automatic transmission to a new six-speed, the result being minimal gains in acceleration and fuel economy -- which were already above average anyway." They add, "These qualities, along with a quiet and composed ride, make the 2008 Toyota Avalon an excellent choice for a road trip."

Handling and Braking

Most consider the Avalon's handling nimble and the overall ride both smooth and solid. U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman finds that the Avalon's "maneuverability hits a sweet spot, too: The car is sturdy and substantial at cruising speeds, yet limber in parking lots and other tight spaces. It feels big but only when you want it to." Forbes calls the Toyota Avalon a "fairly supple and quiet ride." Kelley Blue Book says the ride is "generally smooth." Edmunds adds: "The Avalon is no athlete, but this full-size Toyota carries itself with reasonable composure on winding roads. The steering is too light to feel sporty, but it responds to driver input in a precise, fluid manner. Additionally, a tidy turning circle makes the Avalon feel unexpectedly nimble on tight city streets."

Reviewers especially like the 2008 Toyota Avalon Touring trim, with its sport-tuned suspension. Car and Driver appreciated the "stiffer springs and dampers," noting that this trim feels more at home on the highway than the back road with its "noticeably firmer, more responsive characteristics." Edmunds notes that while the suspension has "firmer underpinnings" it "never feels harsh," concluding that "this Toyota car carries itself with a great deal of composure on winding roads." In contrast, Car and Driver calls the Touring ride "[e]xtra-crunchy," saying that Toyota "may have overdone the sport thing with the Touring suspension, however. Ride quality over broken pavement approaches Porsche-style crunchiness."

Performance Options

Avalon XL, Touring, XLS, Limited

The 2008 Toyota Avalon XL, Touring, XLS and Limited trim levels all come with a 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve Dual VVT-I V6 engine, with 268 horsepower at 6200 rpm and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. All models are front-wheel drive with MacPherson strut front suspension and dual-link independent MacPherson strut rear suspension and engine speed-sensing variable-assist power rack-and-pinion steering. The Touring trim, in edition to the listed performance specs, also has a sport-tuned suspension.

Review Last Updated: 3/23/09

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