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2008 Toyota Avalon

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$27,325

starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown

Sedan

Body style

5

Seating capacity

197.6” x 58.5”

Dimensions

Front-wheel drive

Drivetrain

Overview

The good:

  • Above-average reliability
  • Good crash tests
  • Adaptive cruise option
  • Reclining backseat
  • Interior space
  • Interior quality

The bad:

  • Ride quality in Touring
  • Side mirrors don't fold
  • Puzzling tilt/telescoping steering-wheel adjustment

4 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2008 Toyota Avalon trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best Sedans for 2024

Notable features

  • Revised exterior styling
  • New six-speed automatic
  • Revised braking system
  • Interior upgrades
  • CD changer now standard
  • Optional remote engine start

2008 Toyota Avalon review: Our expert's take

By Lori Hindman


Some cars are marketed to families and women, and some are not. The Toyota Avalon falls into the latter category. I hate to sound all gender-centric, but this is a perfectly nice car that’s made absolutely no effort to appeal to my demographic. It’s not like there’s a sign on the door that says “Dudes Only,” but the Avalon just doesn’t offer much in the warm and cuddly department. I can’t really explain it, but when I drive this car I feel like I’m driving my dad’s car, not my own. And I’m afraid that’s kind of what Toyota is going for with this full-size sedan.

Don’t get me wrong; the Avalon is a highly enjoyable vehicle. The interior is roomy, airy and very comfortable. The huge backseat provides plenty of room for passengers of all sizes. In fact, my kids were hard-pressed to kick the back of my seat. They managed it, of course, but it required effort on their part. Fortunately, I wasn’t bothered by the occasional bump because my big squishy driver’s seat adjusted in eight ways to provide the perfect fit. These comfy seats not only offered variable heat, but, wait for it … air conditioning. You know how when you’re wearing shorts on hot days your legs can get all sweaty and stick to the leather? It’s gross, and air-conditioned seats solve the problem. Cool air flows through perforations in the leather to cool your backside. It’s an odd sensation, but it sure beats the icky alternative.

Naturally, there’s tons of techie stuff in the Avalon. The Limited version comes with keyless entry and start, Bluetooth wireless link, a six-disc CD changer and satellite radio (with 12 speakers and a subwoofer, no less). There’s also dual-zone automatic climate control and laser-guided dynamic cruise control that maintains a set distance between cars. The V-6 engine offers plenty of punch for my lead-footed tendencies, and the ride is smooth as glass. If your kids need that rumble to nod off at nap time, the Avalon isn’t going to work for you.

What does make some noise is the power moonroof. Any time that roof or any of the windows were open, there was a loud vibration that actually hurt my ears. I couldn’t stand to drive at anything faster than parking-lot speed with anything open. I even resorted to engaging the window lock so none of the windows would open without my permission. I can’t tell you how mean my kids think I am for that. This may have been isolated to my test car, but if you’re considering an Avalon, make sure to open a window during your test drive to make sure.

The Avalon makes a few gestures toward families, but they seem rather weak to this mommy. The Latch connectors in the backseat are buried in the upholstery, and the seat belts actually duck into recesses in the seat when not engaged. It’s like the Avalon was saying to me, “OK, put kids in here if you must, but don’t make a habit out of it.” The rear seat belts just aren’t made to be easy to use; they run and hide when little fingers reach for them. Even when I tried to assist they were difficult to manage with one hand. I get the sense the backseat is meant for macho tough guys like my husband who have no intention of wearing a seat belt unless the car makes an intolerable amount of noise about it or a police cruiser comes into view. Maybe it’s just me, but I think seat belts should stick up and poke passengers in the backside to prove the point; buckle up, folks.

In more than a few ways, the Avalon reminds me of the huge American cars of mobster fame. Soft leather seats, a roomy backseat and, of course, a cavernous trunk. Every time I opened it up I couldn’t help wondering how many bodies would fit nicely in there on their way to sleeping with the fishes – it’s that giant. There’s a nifty raised compartment to the side that’s perfect for securing a gallon of milk so it doesn’t roll around on the way home, but the two cargo hooks are too low to the floor to do much good containing grocery bags. Still, the sheer cubic capacity is impressive: think Grandma’s luggage or trips to Costco.

Toyota’s flagship sedan is sleek, roomy and a pleasure to drive. It comes loaded with covered compartments and plugs for all your technology. It offers luxury and style at a not-unattainable price. But be forewarned, it’ll only let a mom drive it if she promises not to hang anything cute from the rearview mirror.

*For more information on the 2008 Toyota Avalon and its safety features, visit Cars.com. With questions or comments regarding this review, write to editor@motherproof.com.

LET’S TALK NUMBERS

Latch Connectors: 2

Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT

Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Galore

Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Galore

SENSE AND STYLE

Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair

Fun Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove On): Good Times

Specs

2008 Toyota Avalon

Base price: $34,415

Price as tested: $38,625

Engine: 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6

Fuel: 19/28 mpg

Length: 197.2″

Width: 72.8″

Ground Clearance: 6″

Turning Radius: 18.5′

Cargo space: 14.4 cu. ft.

NHTSA Crash-Test Ratings

Frontal Impact

Driver’s side: 4 Stars

Passenger’s side: 4 Stars

Side Impact

Front occupant: 4 Stars

Rear occupant: 4 Stars

Rollover resistance: 4 Stars

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.9
  • Interior 4.7
  • Performance 4.8
  • Value 4.7
  • Exterior 4.5
  • Reliability 4.8
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Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

This is a wonderful car.

Love this car, however I am not happy with the headlight issues 😑 other than, I'd buy another used one but maybe not 2008, more like 09,10 or 11 overall I luv it!!

5.0

I can launch from 0 to 60 under 6 second and Corne

I Love this Car,I went from an ,07 Lexus 250 which is fantastic to the Avalon which is a more refined Luxury Car & I dont regret it forA second, The looks At 1st were Lacking so with some Alloy Racing Rims, low Profile all season tires and Tinting windows, I know now I Finally have the Sports Sedan with more than I could ask for the price, I'm in Bliss...

5.0

Absolutely love this car

I've spent a lot of time behind the wheel in this car over the past nine years and 175,000 miles. I usually replace cars every 3-4 years, and have never owned a car for this long. Planned on selling it at 300k miles (in a few years) and getting another used Avalon. Could not ask for a better, more reliable, low-maintenance vehicle.

See all 60 consumer reviews

Safety

Based on the 2008 Toyota Avalon base trim.
Frontal driver
5
Frontal passenger
5
Nhtsa rollover rating
4
Side driver
5
Side rear passenger
5

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Toyota
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
36 months/36,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
60 months/60,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
7 years/less than 85,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12, 000 miles
Powertrain
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
160- or 174-point inspections
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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