Sedans & Coupes

The Toyota Avalon’s Disasterous Debut Is Its Worst Model Year

The Toyota Avalon may not be as popular as the Corolla or Camry, but it’s still a great car. It’s quite roomy for a sedan, making it an excellent car for families and road trip enthusiasts. It’s also available as a hybrid model that can earn up to 44 mpg on the highway.

The current Avalon model has great reviews from critics, but this wasn’t always the case. Earlier versions of the car proved to be headaches for many drivers, costing them thousands of dollars in repairs. If you want to buy one of these cars, here are the model years you should avoid, according to CarComplaints.com.

The 2014 Toyota Avalon’s problematic powertrain

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While other years had higher volumes of complaints, the issues on the 2014 Avalon were the most expensive to fix. A few drivers had problems with the car’s engine, reporting that it failed to start without any prior warning. According to one driver, the issue began after the car had only been driven 2,500 miles.

The worst of its issues was sudden acceleration. There were multiple incidences of drivers crashing into obstacles because the car accelerated on its own. When taken to a dealer, mechanics could not determine the problem. This led to a lot of wasted money trying to fix the engine, costing drivers an average of $7,600.

Some drivers and passengers also sustained injuries from these incidents. When reached for comment, the automaker told the public that these accelerations were due to the fault of the driver, according to ABC News.

As more complaints kept coming in, Toyota issued a recall for the accelerator pedals in some cars, but not the Toyota Avalon. Because of its negligence, the company had to pay a $1.2 billion fine in court.

2006 is the worst model year

A 2006 Toyota Avalon being debuted at an auto show
A 2006 Toyota Avalon being debuted | STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images

The 2006 Toyota Avalon was the debut model year for the car. Unfortunately, it is known for having many potential problems. It has numerous reported engine complaints, including a sudden loss of power. Drivers reported that their Avalon’s engine would die without any warning at around 60,000 miles.

To replace the Avalon’s engine, drivers usually had to pay around $2,060. In some cases, the engine failure was caused by a massive oil leak, another common problem for 2006 Toyota Avalons.

Since the problem happened at around 50,000 miles, many cars were still under warranty and repaired at no charge. Otherwise, ruptured oil lines cost $930 to repair, but some drivers were lucky enough to only need a new oil hose. 

The 2011 Toyota Avalon’s cosmetic problems

The Avalon from 2011 didn’t have any major problems, just a bunch of minor annoyances. A few drivers reported peeling paint, which was especially obvious on the roof of the car. Drivers also saw noticeable paint bubbles by the rear bumper.

The 2011 Avalon also suffered from electrical problems. Many drivers said that their car’s automatic sunshade would activate itself without warning. Power door locks would also lock on their own and the steering wheel would click at random times. Most dealers couldn’t fix these problems since they couldn’t replicate the issue in the shop.

Which models should you buy instead?

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Thankfully, the 2014 Toyota Avalon’s engine was the last severe problem for this car. The 2015 version only had a few complaints, such as malfunctioning speakers and a faulty infotainment system. Later model years have almost no reported issues.

If you want to buy a used Toyota Avalon, we recommend buying a newer model. The 2016 model usually costs under $20,000 and is highly regarded for its well-equipped infotainment system and athletic handling. If the price isn’t a big concern, the new fully redesigned Toyota Avalon is also an excellent choice for a large sedan.