2008 Toyota Avalon

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19 CITY / 28 HWY
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What Changed for 2008:
  • Substantial revisions for 2008 model year

  • Six-speed automatic transmission now standard

  • Brakes add 16-inch front discs, aluminum rear caliper

  • Stereo upgraded to standard 6-disc CD changer, mini jack added

  • Leather shift knob added

  • Package changes add luxury features

  • Exterior enhancements to bumper, grille, headlights, rear tail lamps
When the Avalon first went on sale in 1994, it was essentially a plus-size Camry, a car intended to bring Toyota levels of reliability and refinement to traditional large-car buyers. A third-generation redesign in 2005 brought about a complete metamorphosis, with sleeker styling, a new wood-trimmed interior, and available features rarely found on cars in the non-premium segment such as keyless ignition and an acoustic-damping windshield that cut wind noise. As a result, the Avalon wasn't just a full-size Camry variant anymore, but was truly the flagship of Toyota's car lineup.

For 2008, the Avalon gets changes to its transmission, braking system, exterior and option package lineup. Most notable is the now-standard 6-speed automatic transmission with Toyota's electronically controlled transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) technology that allows manual shifting and improves driving smoothness, according to the automaker.

Model Lineup
The 2008 Toyota Avalon is sold in four trim levels: XL, Touring, XLS and Limited. The base XL model includes dual rear exhaust, 9-speaker stereo, dual-zone air conditioning, cruise control, remote keyless entry, and reclining rear seats. The Avalon Touring model adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a sportier suspension, black leather seats and fog lamps. The XLS includes wood trim on the dash and door panels, a power moonroof, a 6-disc in-dash CD changer and aluminum door scuff plates. The top-line Limited version of the Avalon includes Toyota's Smart Key system, heated and ventilated front seats, a 12-speaker JBL stereo, Bluetooth wireless capability, power rear sunshade, and High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights.

A 3.5-liter V-6 engine that drives the front wheels is found on all 2008 Toyota Avalon models. It generates 268 hp and 248 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine includes both dual variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and a dual-stage variable intake manifold for steady and smooth power throughout the range, says Toyota. Last year's 5-speed automatic transmission has been replaced for 2008 with a 6-speed version.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2008 Toyota Avalon earns a 5-star rating in both front and side-impact crashes. Standard safety fare includes dual front air bags; front-seat-mounted air bags; two rows of side curtain air bags; and a driver's knee air bag. The anti-lock braking system includes electronic brake-force distribution (EBD). Safety options, including electronic vehicle stability control (VSC) with traction control and brake assist, are available on all models.

Dynamic Laser Cruise Control (DLCC), available as an option on the Limited model, automatically slows the Avalon to match the speed of the vehicle ahead to maintain a safe following distance. The system switches between two modes-the traditional constant-speed mode familiar to all cruise-control users and a vehicle-to-vehicle mode that uses a laser sensor and computer to keep track of the car in the lane ahead. Drivers set a distance that they're comfortable with-ranging from 100 to 245 feet ahead-and the car will adjust the throttle and braking to maintain that distance behind the traffic ahead. Toyota notes that DLCC is not a collision-avoidance system, but rather a vehicle speed control device best used on highways with light to moderate traffic.

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