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Incredible value logo 8/3/2015 Scott Campbell

I'm too obsessed with value to buy new when there are so many great-quality used cars out there traded in by the perfectionists who have to have new, or perfect, or both. I gave a test drive to a barely-used 2014 loaded ES 300h and a similarly almost-new 2014 Avalon Limited Hybrid, loaded with the technology package, the Qi wireless charger, and a few other goodies. While I love the look and the ride of both sedans, I almost went for the Lexus but in the end chose the Avalon. Why? Two basic reasons: 1) The cars I drove were virtually identical, but $5,000 more for the Japanese-built version (with identical basic engineering) just didn't make add up to $5,000 more in value, 2) I preferred the ease of use in the Avalon's touchscreen interface to the point and click operation of the Lexus. While I might acclimate to the joystick, my shotgun passengers might not. I don't love the stock tires on the Avalon (Bridgestone Turanza; they grip fine but seem to transmit excessive road noise) but a new set of tires can easily remedy that. After 2,000 miles of use, including an 800 mile road trip, I am completely in love with the car's ability to provide a quiet, very comfortable, composed ride with sure handling and minimal sound intrusion into the cabin, and it has delivered an astounding 41.4 mpg according to the car's computer (yes, yes, I know from previous experience that Toyota tunes them about 2 mpg high . . . nevertheless, even 39 mpg is unreal for a car with this curb weight). The Toyota Entune interaction with my iPhone, Bluetooth and such apps as Pandora are all relatively easy to learn . . . and I am my fifties, not my twenties. I also find the capacitive controls for the climate control and other systems easy to use and not a nuisance as others have noted. It isn't perfect: 1) despite the paint protection film, the car only has 14,000 miles and the paint has a few small but deep road wounds down to the bare metal that I need to have addressed; 2) you can't input a new address to the nav system while the car is in gear --maybe with voice command i could do so?), and 3) road noise is minimal, but not coffin-quiet. But hey, come one . . . I didn't pay 60 grand for an LS 460, I bought a used Toyota. For my money, I think I got one hell of a value--very satisfied customer here.

Average Rating : 5


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