The Toyota Avalon, aka Toyota Pronard in Japan, is an E-segment or full-size vehicle, also described as a large car per FCAI Australia classification. This four-door five-seat sedan was Toyota's flagship model in the USA, Canada, and the Middle East before the Toyota Aurion replaced it.
The Avalon has had five generations since 1994, rolling off mainly from Toyota’s manufacturing facility in Georgetown, Kentucky, USA. From April 2000 to June 2005, however, Toyota Australia undertook production briefly at the Altona plant in Melbourne, launching the Avalon as an all-new model in 2000.
One thing to note, though, the Avalon was not available in the Australian market before or after this period. While the Avalon had five generations, this article will highlight on the Australian-built Avalon which went in production from 2000-2005, a period within the second generation of its USA-built counterpart.
First Generation: XX10 (1994–1999)
The Avalon had its debut at the 1994 Chicago International Auto Show. Toyota built the Avalon alongside the Camry, using a lengthened version of the XV10 Camry platform, and thus it has a parallel code of XX10.
This front-engine, front-wheel-drive passenger vehicle had 3.0L 1MZ-FE V6 engine under its hood, generating power up to 140 kW and 285 Nm of torque in the initial release but increased to 150 kW and 290 Nm in 1997. It came with a 4-speed A541E automatic transmission.
The launch edition had these dimensions: 2,720mm (wheelbase), 4,831mm (length), 1,786mm (width), and 1,420mm (height). In 1997, the length, width, and height increased to 4,874mm, 1,791mm, and 1,440mm, respectively, with the wheelbase unchanged.
Second Generation: XX20 (1999-2004)
The second generation, with the code XX20, grew 30mm in width and 26mm in height but retained the wheelbase and length dimensions of the first generation. Interestingly, with this increased size, the Avalon had actually reduced its coefficient of drag to 0.28.
It used the same stretched Camry platform and powertrain in the previous models but uprated to 157 kW and 298 Nm. It shares this engine with the Lexus ES and Toyota Sienna.
The Japanese market imported the Avalon from the US and sold it as Toyota Pronard in 2000 but did not sell well in Toyota’s home market, prompting its discontinuation in 2004.
Australian-Built Avalon (2000-2005)
The Avalon’s stint in Australia was short-lived. It received a bland reception, with buyers preferring its competitors at the time, including Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon. Its low appeal prompted Toyota to introduce the Aurion, another Australian-built and Camry-based upmarket model.
Its journey to Oz began in 1999. Toyota Australia built the Avalon in its Altona facility in both left and right-hand-drive versions, targeting not only Australia, but also the markets in New Zealand, some Asian regions, and the Middle East. Its bodywork resembled the original Avalon released by the US factory in Georgetown, Kentucky in 1994.
Engine and Transmission
This large front-drive sedan featured the same engine and transmission, the 3.0L 1MZ-FE VVT-i V6 petrol engine paired with a 4-speed A541E automatic, powering the drive wheels up to 145 kW and 284 Nm. However, it offered no other options in terms of body style, drive type, and engine.
Trims and Features
2000, Avalon Mark I
At launch, the Avalon sedan came in four trim grades – the Conquest, CSX, Grande, and VXi. All variants had the same 3.0L engine.
- Conquest, base – consisted of dual front airbags package, adjustable steering wheel (tilt & telescopic), remote control central locking, engine immobilizer, power mirrors, power steering, power windows, 4-speaker radio cassette, seatbelt pretensioners (front seats), and a trip computer
- CSX – added the following to the base: ABS, air conditioning, cruise control, CD player, 6-speaker radio cassette (instead of the 4-speaker version), and side front airbags
- VXi – added the following to the base: ABS, automatic AC/climate control, remote anti-theft alarm, alloy wheels, cruise control, CD player, leather steering wheel, power seat (driver), and 6-speaker radio cassette (instead of the 4-speaker version), and side front airbags
- Grande – added the following to the base: ABS, automatic AC/climate control, remote anti-theft alarm, alloy wheels, cruise control, CD with 6-CD stacker, front fog lights, leather-accented upholstery, metallic paint, power seats (front), power sunroof, 7-speaker radio cassette (instead of the 4-speaker version), remote boot hatch release, and side front airbags
2001, Avalon Mark II
In the second year after launch, Avalon Mark II received minor updates, including new hubcaps and alloy wheels. Toyota Australia added new models to the range but retained the launch edition trims. The Grande gained a Sat Nav, but the rest remained the same. So in addition to the four earlier models, the following joined the range:
- CSX Sports Pack – added ABS, air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, CD player, 6-speaker radio cassette, rear spoiler, and side front airbags
- Sorrento – added ABS, air conditioning, 15-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, and side front airbags
- VXi Limited – added ABS, automatic AC/climate control, remote anti-theft alarm, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, CD player, leather-accented upholstery, leather steering wheel, metallic paint, power seat (driver), power sunroof, 6-speaker radio cassette (instead of the 4-speaker version), remote boot hatch release, and side front airbags
2002 saw the addition of a new base trim for Mark II, the Advantage, and the discontinuation of the CSX Sports model. There were no changes to the inclusions in each pack.
- Advantage, Base – featured dual front airbags, ABS, air conditioning, adjustable steering wheel (tilt & telescopic), 15-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, RC central locking, engine immobiliser, power mirrors, power steering, power windows, 4-speaker radio CD, seatbelt pretensioners (front), side front airbags, and a trip computer
2003-2006, Avalon Mark III
The offering for 2003 was more streamlined, discontinuing the CSX, Sorrento, and VXi Limited but adding a GXi trim, which was Mark III's base model. The Grande and VXi variants gained 16-inch alloy wheels and metallic paint. From 2004 to 2006, only the GXi, VXi, and Grande remained. All through these years, the powertrain of the Avalon received no update.
- GXi - featured dual front airbags, ABS, air conditioning, adjustable steering wheel (tilt & telescopic), 15-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, RC central locking, engine immobilizer, power mirrors, power steering, power windows, 4-speaker radio CD, seatbelt pre-tensioners (front), and a trip computer
The Mark III facelift introduced a redesigned grille, new headlights and taillights, and other slight interior modifications. This minor restyling, however, failed to excite buyers. Sales continued to plummet as the market continued to prefer Avalon’s rivals, including its cousin, the Camry.
Sales in Australia totaled to 43,734 units only for the whole production run. The highest sales occurred in 2001 with 11,760 units sold, after which, the trend had been downhill until 2005.
Third to Fifth Generations: XX30, XX40, XX50 (2004-present)
Production continued in the United States for the third and fourth generations, with the plant in China joining in for the production of the fifth. Australia, however, saw the last of the Avalon in 2005 and has neither produced nor imported it since then. Toyota Aurion, also a Camry-derived sedan produced in Altona, succeeded it in 2006.
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