2019 Audi A4 vs. 2019 Toyota Avalon

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A4 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Toyota Avalon doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The A4’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Avalon doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The A4 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Avalon doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The A4 45 TFSI has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Avalon doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the A4 and the Avalon have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A4 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Avalon has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The A4 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Avalon’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The A4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Avalon’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Audi A4’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Avalon’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

Engine

The A4 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 267) than the Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the A4 45 TFSI is faster than the Toyota Avalon V6:

 

A4

Avalon

Zero to 60 MPH

5 sec

6.1 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

14.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.4 MPH

98.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A4 gets better fuel mileage than the Avalon:

 

 

A4

Avalon

 

2WD

40 TFSI/Auto

27 city/34 hwy

22 city/32 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto XLE

 

 

n/a

22 city/31 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

AWD

45 TFSI/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

n/a

 

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the A4’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Avalon doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A4 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Avalon requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The A4 offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Avalon doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

The A4 Auto’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Avalon doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the A4’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Avalon:

 

A4

A4 Quattro

Avalon

Front Rotors

12.4 inches

13.3 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.06 inches

The A4’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Avalon are solid, not vented.

The A4 stops much shorter than the Avalon:

 

A4

Avalon

 

70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

122 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A4 has larger standard tires than the Avalon (225/50R17 vs. 215/55R17). The A4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Avalon (245/40R18 vs. 235/40R19).

The A4’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Avalon XLE’s standard 55 series tires. The A4’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Avalon XSE/Touring’s 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The A4 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Avalon’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the Avalon Touring pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the Avalon Touring (25.3 seconds @ .74 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s).

Chassis

The A4 is 9.8 inches shorter than the Avalon, making the A4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the A4 has a standard power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Avalon doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the A4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Avalon. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 44% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 17th.

Ergonomics

The A4 has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Avalon doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left open on the A4 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. The driver of the Avalon can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The A4’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Avalon XLE/Touring’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A4 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Avalon doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A4 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Avalon doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the A4 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Avalon doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® chose the Audi A4 as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Audi A4/S4 outsold the Toyota Avalon by 11% during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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