NOTE: Library image used as none provided by the author.
Having owned four examples of the Toyota Avalon, I can honestly say that a better value family sedan, in this price and year range, you will not find. Comfort is the word that best describes the driving experience of an Avalon. Reliability is the second word that best describes Toyota's answer to the Falcon and Commodore of the early 2000's.[/caption]
Typical Toyota quality shines through when compared to the Holden and Ford, both of which suffer poor quality interiors when shown next to the Avalon. The Avalon also has better fuel consumption, and cheaper servicing costs (Camry running gear), and with rear seat leg room comparable to a Statesman or Fairlane, it makes the Toyota Avalon great value for your money. The looks are a bit Plain Jane, but drive an Avalon for a week, and the comfort, quality, handling and economy will make a convert out of any previous Falcon or Commodore owner.
The only issues that I could mention about owning an Avalon are the assumptions that you have to be an old aged pensioner to own one. My boys (teenagers) keep telling me that it's a Grandad's car. At 53 years of age, I'm not a Grandad yet (and don't plan on being one for a while), yet I can see what they're talking about. If I were a Grandad, I'd be looking for a comfortable, economical, and reliable car to enjoy driving on a daily basis, and I can tell you the Avalon fits that bill perfectly.
It also fits the pensioner budget as far as the purchase price is concerned. Good low-kilometre versions can be bought for around the $6k mark, and older versions can be bought for much less. As with all cars, regular servicing is the key. A well-looked-after example will easily see out the 350,000km mark, and servicing parts are easy to source and cheap to buy being based on Camry running gear.
Having owned the other brands in this market of car, the Avalon is easily the quality stand-out. If you're on a budget for a family sized sedan that does everything very well, and does it reliably, look at a Toyota Avalon. You wont be disappointed!