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Avalon head to head with Ford, Holden

New contender: Toyota's conservatively styled Avalon large car goes on sale on July 1.

Toyota has priced its new Avalon large car lineball with the segment-leading Holden Commodore/Calais range

Toyota logo29 May 2000

By GAUTAM SHARMA

TOYOTA has announced pricing for its new Avalon large car, due to go on sale on July 1.

Avalon - the result of three years' local development - is the first Toyota in Australia with a trip computer and the first Toyota sedan offered here with side airbags.

The manufacturer says the Altona-built Avalon has been strengthened to suit local conditions and its ride/handling balance tailored to Australian tastes.

It is based on the previous-generation Avalon sold in the US and Japan. The vehicle has been superseded by a new generation model in those two markets.

The newcomer will be offered in four grades in Australia: Conquest, CSX, VXi and Grande. Toyota expects to sell a greater proportion of high series models than Ford or Holden.

Standard features across the range include dual airbags, power windows and mirrors, remote central locking with rolling codes and owner-programmable two-stage door unlock, immobiliser, stereo with integrated telephone mute and an eight-function trip computer with speed alert.

Also standard are headlamp auto-off with programmable delay, tilt-adjustable power steering, driver's seat height and lumbar adjustment and boot access through the rear seat.

The Avalon CSX (Futura and Acclaim competitor) has the key additional features of anti-lock brakes, side airbags, air-conditioning, cruise control, six-speaker CD player, front and rear map lights and front passenger seat lumbar adjustment.

The Avalon Vxi (which takes on Fairmont and Berlina) gains alloy wheels, power-operated driver's seat, woodgrain trim, climate control air-conditioning, leather steering wheel and shift lever, leather-covered double centre console lid, remote electric boot release and integrated alarm system with panic mode.

The range-topping Avalon Grande (up against Fairmont Ghia and Calais) comes with front foglamps, unique alloy wheels, two-tone paint availability, leather upholstery, luminous instruments, power-operated front seats and anti-jam protection on the driver's power window.

It also gets a power tilt and reach-adjustable steering column, headlamps auto-on, power tilt and slide moonroof and a seven-speaker audio with six-CD in-dash multi-changer.

Avalon's mechanical specification consists of all-independent suspension, power-assisted rack and pinion steering, four-wheel disc brakes, all-alloy quad cam V6 engine and electronically controlled four-speed overdrive automatic transmission.

Its 3.0-litre V6 engine is a derivative of the unit used in the Camry, generating 145kW at 5200rpm and 284Nm at 4400rpm.

The Holden Commodore 3.8-litre V6 produces 147kW and 304Nm and Ford's 4.0-litre straight six makes 157kW and 357Nm. The Mitsubishi Magna 3.5-litre makes 147kW and 300Nm (3.0-litre 140kW/255Nm).

Toyota is waiting to see if the torque deficit of the 3.0-litre V6 counts against the Avalon.

"Much hinges on positive customer response to Avalon's value for money proposition which will be enhanced under GST," Toyota Australia senior executive vice-president Mr John Conomos said.

Mr Conomos is confident Avalon customers would be delighted with the recommended retail price of the new car in every model grade.

AVALON PRICING
Avalon Conquest $30,330 Avalon CSX $36,720 Avalon VXi $40,450 Avalon Grande $51,620 All prices Pre-GST reduction All cars come with automatic transmission, dual airbags and remote central locking

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