Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), also known as "sticker" price, is a recommended selling price that automakers give a new car that is above the invoice price paid by the dealer. It is a price that does not include any options that can be added to a particular car style. When shown as a range, the prices are starting MSRPs, without options, for multiple styles for that model.
This price range reflects the Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value for all trim levels, but not necessarily all available options.
The Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value represents the amount an auto dealer might ask for a specific vehicle; the actual sale price will vary. A vehicle's popularity, condition, warranty, color and local market conditions are factors involved in determining a final price. The retail value is not a trade-in or private party value.
The Suggested Retail value assumes that the vehicle has been fully reconditioned and has a clean title history. The Suggested Retail value also allows for advertising, sales commissions, insurance and other costs of doing business as a dealer. Most vehicles offered at this price have passed an inspection, and some may carry a warranty. Vehicle mileage is assumed to be normal or below normal.
Best Bets get average or better mpg, have average or better reliability, good crash-test ratings, and our experts' recommendations.
Expert Reviews 2 of 5
By Richard Truett
December 15, 1994
The last time Toyota tried to muscle in on turf owned by the Big Three, it misfired badly. We're talking about the full-size T-100 truck, an underpowered, somewhat dumpy-looking pickup that has turned out to be a sort of modern day Edsel for
Toyota, Japan's largest automaker. But Toyota doesn't make many mistakes. And with the new full-size Avalon sedan, Toyota didn't repeat any of the things it got wrong with the T-100. In fact, the Avalon just may give the folks who run General
Motors, Ford and Chrysler something to worry about. Unlike any other non-luxury sedan sold by a foreign automaker, the Avalon is available with a front bench seat and a column-mounted shifter - a layout specifically designed to attract the older
buyers who favor Big Three cars. The Avalon is aimed at buyers who are 48 to 56 years old and married, and who have a yearly income in the $70,000 range. After a week and more than 300 miles behind the wheel, I can tell you that the Avalon is a quiet,
comfortable, solid and well-built sedan that offers excellent performance, semi-sporty handling and plenty of room. In short, the car has nearly all the ingredients it needs to be a best-seller for Toyota. The only thing in question is the value it
offers. At $27,000 and change, I think the tested Avalon XL is a bit pricey when compared with such cars as the Ford Taurus and Oldsmobile Eighty Eight, two other six-cylinder sedans that offer a bit more equipment for the same money. An even more
expensive version of the Avalon, the leather-clad XLS, is also available. The Avalon's higher price might put off some shoppers, but others are likely to be so impressed with the Avalon that they will buy or lease it anyway. PERFORMANCE The
Avalon is based on the Camry sedan, Toyota's best-selling car line. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the Avalon has essentially the same drivetrain as the Camry. Under the Avalon's smoothly styled hood you'll find the same 3.0-liter,
24-valve, four-cam V-6 as the Camry. However, the Avalon's engine produces horsepower of 192, four more than the Camry. Toyota is building the Avalon only with an electronic four-speed automatic transmission; unlike the Camry, no manual gearbox is
available. The Avalon's ultrasmooth V-6 engine and refined automatic make for an excellent drivetrain. Performance is crisp from a stop, and passing power is superb at all legal speeds. A button on the dash allows the driver to change the
electronic transmission's shift pattern from ''normal'' to ''power.'' This feature really transforms the Avalon's performance. In the normal mode, you can feel the Avalon's electronics subdue the engine's power just before the first two or three
shifts. Yet when you switch to the power mode, it's as if the electronic device that governs the engine during shifting is disengaged. The result is fast, hard acceleration. Even tho
ugh the engine in the Avalon is virtually identical to the one in the Camry, I like the Avalon's motor better. You can hear it as it winds up. The engine makes a soft and pleasing purring sound as it revs - a noise that, to me, conveys quality and gives
the car a bit of character. The pleasing sound of the Avalon's aluminum engine is the main reason why the big sedan is not a dull, bland, boring car like the Camry, which is so quiet that it deprives your senses of the joy of driving. Fuel mileage
came in at 21 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway, excellent considering I drove with a heavy foot and ran the air conditioner most of the time. HANDLING Older buyers are bound to be impressed with the Avalon's firm, stable and quiet road
manners. Unlike other large cars, the Avalon does not cosset the driver with a wallowy, pillow-soft ride. Yet it delivers the same level of comfort and refinement as cars that have such rides. Toyota engineersr
tunedthe Camry's four-wheel independent suspension system to absorb most normal bumps and irregularities in the road without the resulting shock waves finding their way to the body and interior. The Avalon is exceptionally quiet over the road, but
not so much so that the driver has no sensation of what's happening underneath. Perhaps the anti-vibration subframes that hold the Avalon's major front and rear suspension components are the keys to the Avalon's refined ride. These subframes are
bolted to the Avalon's chassis. In most other cars, the suspension components are connected directly to the chassis. The Avalon also scores high for its excellent steering and braking. The power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system has a
wonderfully smooth and lively feel. The car can turn a complete circle in 37.6 feet. I found it easy to maneuver in and out of tight parking spaces. A set of power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes come standard on all Avalons. Our test car had the
optional ($950) anti-lock system. On many competitive American cars, such as the Buick Park Avenue and LeSabre and Oldsmobile Eighty Eight, ABS brakes are standard. FIT AND FINISH The Avalon is available with either a bench seat and
column-mounted shifter or with buckets seats and a console-mounted floor shifter. I asked for the bench seat and column shifter because Toyota is the only foreign automaker other than Rolls-Royce that offers a car with such a configuration. Toyota
plans to build about half of all Avalons with bench seats. Judging by the comfort of the seats and the design and layout of the attractive, one-piece dash, you would think Toyota had been building cars this way for years. The shifter works
smoothly, and it even has an attractive leather cover in the housing where it connects to the steering column. A button at the end of the shifter allows the driver to disengage overdrive, or fourth gear. It's an idea Toyota borrowed from Ford, but it
works well. Unlike the Camry, the interior of the Avalon is simply cavernous. Toyota claims the Avalon offers more interior room than any other Japanese sedan. Indeed, even the tallest (and widest) rear seat passengers will find plenty of leg,
foot and hip room. The rear bench is wide, somewhat firm and very comfortable. It is split by a fold- down armrest. Up front, a driver and two passengers likely will find the electrically adjustable bench seat to be terrific. It also has a fold-down
armrest in the middle. However, the front armrest opens and contains a small storage compartment and two cupholders. The dash is a monument to simplicity and style. Three easy-to-use rotary knobs - mounted in the center of the dash just below the
radio - control the air conditioning system. A set of attractive (brightly lighted at night) analog gauges with big numbers are planted directly in front of the driver and are free of glare during the
day. I could find only one area that might need improvement - the position of the windshield wiper control. The lever is located just in front of the column shifter. Three times during the weeklong test drive, I accidentally grabbed the wiper switch
instead of the gear shifter. Perhaps the wiper switch could relocated or made smaller. In any case, our test car came well-equipped. It featured a trunk-mounted CD player that held 12 discs, a powerful AM/FM cassette player with seven speakers, and
cruise control, power windows, door locks, mirrors, alloy wheels and an electric sunroof. For $27,000 and change, Toyota should make an alarm system and radio-controlled door locks standard. Even without those features, the American-made Avalon
ranks as one of the 1995 model year's best all-round cars. Specifications: 1995 Toyota Avalon XL VEHICLE LENGTH Overall 190.2 Wheelbase 107.1 WIDTH Tra
k-front 61.0 Overall 70.3 HEIGHT Overall 56.1 FRONT COMPARTMENT Head room 39.1 Leg room 44.1 REAR COMPARTMENT Head room 37.8 Leg room 38.3 WARRANTY
1-year, 12,500-mile service adjustments; 3-year, 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper; 5-year, 60,000-mile powertrain coverage; 5-year, unlimited mileage rust protection. MECHANICAL Drivetrain layout:
Transverse front-mounted engine and transaxle, front-wheel drive. Suspension: Front, independent with McPherson struts, stabilizer bar, anti-vibration subframe and gas-filled shocks; rear, independent with dual
links, stabilizer bar, anti-vibration subframe and gas-filled shocks. Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel disc with ABS. Engine: Aluminum 3.0-liter, 192-horsepower V-6 with double overhead cams, 24-valves and
electronic fuel injection. Safety features: Dual air bags, anti-lock brakes and side-impact protection. Fuel tank: 18.5 gallons. Weight: 3,285 pounds. Steering: Power-assisted rack-and-pinion.
Transmission: Computer-controlled four-speed automatic. Wheels: Alloy. Truett's tip: The new full-size, six-passenger Avalon sedan is aimed at older buyers, and it gives Toyota a solid entry into a market dominated
by Chrysler, Mercury, Oldsmobile and Buick.