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Cory Wolfe

The Ins and Outs of My Garage.

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It's true, I haven't been around lately. There's been a lot of activity on the topic of motorized vehicles in my household. The one I deal with the most has already been revealed, though without a lot of detail. So here, I will add a few more pictures, as well as write on the additional changes that have occured lately.

First, as was explained in my re-indroduction page, I parted ways with my Subaru. I loved that car more than anything, but it wasn't logical for me in my current situation. It was thirsty, stiffly sprung, wasn't as reliable as I had hoped. Great driver's car, it was, with a superb engine and drivetrain that I was miss. Some day, when I'm more financially secure, I wouldn't mind owning another as a second vehicle. So, in my search for a replacement, I drifted to all corners of automotive bordom for something sensible. I considered all sorts of vehicles that would be sure to make me snooze. Accords, Camrys, Civics, Corollas, etc. There wasn't really much joy to be found. I did find joy in the small-time players of those segments, like the Mazda6 and Kizashi. However, finding one locally without a ton of miles seemed impossible. Those I did find, sold before I had a chance or had dealerships that wanted to screw me on trade-in value. In the end, my search came down to circumstance; finding a good car, on a good day, for a good price, and from a decent dealership. That's when I happened across my 2005 Toyota Avalon Limited. It was priced thousands under book with lower mileage and without faults. After some research and calculating, it would still fall within range of what I was looking to improve upon over my Legacy. Once the dealership gave me a good enough trade in figure, it was a go.

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Thus far, it has remained a good choice, if not for a lack of excitement or passion. It's a dull car, no doubt. Really, it's the goodies that came with it keeping me in the driver's seat and not completely ducking below the steering wheel everytime I see someone I know (or an old lady who is expecting her gray-haired husband). It came from the factory with nearly every option Toyota offered. Features include: Self-leveling HID headlights, Navigation, Heated/cooled seats, Automatic windshield wipers, Proximity keys with push-button start, Power rear sun-shade, Reclining rear seat-backs, etc. It even has a full-size spare with a matching alloy of which I would have never expected.

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Despite the niceties, it's still been good on my wallet. Insurance has been about $20/month cheaper over the Legacy. The cost of gasoline has gone down substantially, as well. The biggest help here is needing only regular unleaded rather than the premium the Legacy required. Even forgoing the cost difference, I average higher numbers in gas mileage. In mixed driving on my daily commute, I've been able to average 27.5 mpg compared to the Subaru's 22 mpg. The highs and lows show a difference as well, the lows being 22 mpg vs 17 mpg with the highs being 31 mpg vs 28 mpg. The high accounts for my lack of a dedicated fuel economy run like I did with the Subaru. I have seen some pretty high numbers via the electronic mpg average indicator after short stints of hypermiling, but I never bothered to continue it all the way to a fill up to verify.

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To say the least, this soaks up the rough pot-hole ridden roads in my area much better than my Legacy. It does so at the expense of agility, however. The suspension is, in a word, full of mush. It's not as bad of your grandmother's Buick LeSabre, but there's not much to inspire confidence going into a corner. This is something I admittedly gave up and is one of my regrets. My backside hasn't complained, however. Another thing I cannot complain about is the engine. The Subaru's was magnificent, with endless torque, massive pull, and a great soundtrack. The 3.5L V6 here is a quiet runner, however. It's nearly as quick despite pulling around a couple hundred extra pounds, and much smoother. You don't really feel or hear much of anything beyond the squeal of tires as you jump on the throttle. What it excels at in engine, it lacks in transmission. The shifts are slow, not terribly smooth, and generally occurs when you didn't want them. There's so much hesitation as you slow to a crawl and jump back on the throttle. You slow, hit the gas and wait... wait... oh there's first gear as it throws you back and then shifts up to second after it realizes, maybe, that wasn't the right gear. The Avalon does feature a manual shift mode, so you would imagine it would override the transmission's logic. Nope. It will not only override whatever selection you have made, it will outright lie about it via the gear indicator. This is, single-handedly, this car's biggest fault and one I wish I didn't have to deal with. Most of the time the transmission goes about it work without much fuss, but it's those small incidents that sour the experience.

To say I have only found one major fault is a bit of a surprise. As many of you already know about me, I am eager to complain. So far, I haven't had many complaints beyond the aforementioned issue. In general, this car seems to be holding up much better than the Subaru. Whereas I was always needing to replace one thing or another on the Legacy, I haven't had to put any money into the Avalon beyond regular maintenance. This mimics the reliability ratings as seen on JD Power and (gasp!) Consumer Reports that I read. I'm hoping this will remain indicitive of what I will experience throughout the remainder of my ownership.

And my boyfriend, Josh, approves. :P

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Now for a few quick 'beauty' shots.

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Also, on the topic is Josh and his vehicular changes. When I met him, he had a 2003 Honda Civic coupe. He loved that car, but after a few unfortunate run-ins with other cars... or a tree, it became fairly tattered.. and dented. He eventually sold it and bought a 2004 Hyundai Tiburon GT this summer. He probably would have held onto it a while a longer if it wasn't for his fear of running it through winter. As such, he began searching for something with AWD. After a few similar incidents with wanted a vehicle that sold before he could buy it like I had, I found him something he would love. It's not the most practical vehicle for someone his age (it must run in our relationship), but it should prove be a competant vehicle for the next few years. It also allows me to get back on C&G's good side being that it's... Wait, I don't want to ruin the surprise. First, here's pictures of his last two vehicles.

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And now for his latest:

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Last, but not least, my parents have now upped the number of two-wheeled vehicles in the garage. I'll just say this for now, my Mom owns two of the three. Pictures will come eventually, they want me to do a photoshoot with them tomorrow.

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I am firmly ensconced in a nap. Thank you!

Secondly, I thought I read somewhere that the Saturn Outlook was discontinued on the day before it was to hit dealerships. What gives?

And thirdly, I think your boy bought his Outlook just because of the dealership name, and subsequent advertisement on the liftgate and license plate frame.

Good luck with your new vehicles, seriously.

Edited by ocnblu

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BV, you do have a way of taking great photos. The Avalon isn't too different from a Millenia, so I can't fault you for getting it. It's like a cut-rate entry-level Lexus. And yes, Blue Knob sure stands out. Glad things seem to be going well for you.

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Great update, and a very nice car. Toyota is Toyota, but that is a solid and luxurious choice that should do very well for you.

The Outlook is huge to go to after a Civic and Tiburon, but hopefully works well for him.

Where was the vacation looking house at in the pictures, with all the trucks around?

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Also, as promised, here are the pictures of my parents' Harley Davidsons.

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And, I had to add a couple of my Mom, specifically. She is just a bad-ass biker Mom. :P

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To cap off, I realized I hadn't posted any good interior shots of the Avalon. I actually hadn't even taken any, really. So, along with shooting the bikes and my parents, I shot the interior of my car.

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Some extra odds and ends...

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It came from the factory with nearly every option Toyota offered. Features include: Self-leveling HID headlights, Navigation, Heated/cooled seats, Automatic windshield wipers, Proximity keys with push-button start, Power rear sun-shade, Reclining rear seat-backs, etc. It even has a full-size spare with a matching alloy of which I would have never expected.

MY 2005, it's a Toyota, yet Buick just started to offer some of these items in 2010. Will GM never learn???

Nice write-up and excellent-as-always pictures, BV. BTW, is there anything else you want to tell us? Like you & Josh are adopting kids? I mean, you hooked him up with a family hauler after all!! :lol:

Secondly, I thought I read somewhere that the Saturn Outlook was discontinued on the day before it was to hit dealerships. What gives?

ocnblu, Saturn sold Outlooks from 2007 through the end in 2009. Where'd you hear that the model was cancelled before it hit the lots?

Awesome shots, bikes included. Mom looks like fun.

Are you really hitting on his mom here? Geez, Derek.... :P

Edited by GMTruckGuy74

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The Avalon is a nice Toyo-Buick. I have a friend that has one, refers to it as a Japanese Buick. A nice step above the ubiquitous Camry

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Well done on the Avalon BV. Possibly my favorite of the Avalons. Yes, I'm one of those people who likes it.

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Nice write-up and excellent-as-always pictures, BV. BTW, is there anything else you want to tell us? Like you & Josh are adopting kids? I mean, you hooked him up with a family hauler after all!!

Thanks. Hah, no, not yet anyways. Might come in handy for hauling all our junk in the meantime.

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GMTG, if you remember back in the DAY, Josh posted a "scoop" about the Outlook, claiming a last-minute decision by GM to not bring it out. That's what I was referring to.

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