2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid vs. 2018 Ford C-MAX Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Avalon Hybrid has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats (WIL), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WIL system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Avalon Hybrid has a standard Pre-Collision System, which uses forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The C-MAX Hybrid offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Avalon Hybrid Limited offers optional Rear Cross-Traffic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Avalon Hybrid’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Avalon Hybrid Limited offers an optional Bird’s Eye View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The C-MAX Hybrid only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Avalon Hybrid and the C-MAX Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Toyota Avalon Hybrid is safer than the C-MAX Hybrid:

 

Avalon

C-MAX

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

153

212

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

7 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.7/.5 kN

3.4/1.9 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Avalon Hybrid its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 45 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The C-MAX Hybrid was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Avalon Hybrid for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the C-MAX Hybrid.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 38 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Ford is ranked 18th.

Engine

The Avalon Hybrid’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 27 more horsepower (215 vs. 188) than the C-MAX Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Avalon Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the C-MAX Hybrid:

 

 

 

MPG

Avalon Hybrid

 

 

XLE 2.5 4 cyl. Hybrid

43 city/44 hwy

 

 

XSE/Limited 2.5 4 cyl. Hybrid

43 city/43 hwy

C-MAX Hybrid

 

 

2.0 4 cyl. Hybrid

42 city/38 hwy

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Avalon Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the C-MAX Hybrid:

 

Avalon

C-MAX

Front Rotors

12 inches

10.94 inches

Rear Rotors

11.06 inches

11 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Avalon Hybrid Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the C-MAX Hybrid (235/40R18 vs. 225/50R17).

The Avalon Hybrid Limited’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the C-MAX Hybrid’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Avalon Hybrid Limited has standard 18-inch wheels. The C-MAX Hybrid’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

The Avalon Hybrid has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the C-MAX Hybrid; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Avalon Hybrid’s wheelbase is 8.7 inches longer than on the C-MAX Hybrid (113 inches vs. 104.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Avalon Hybrid is 2.1 inches wider in the front and 3.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the C-MAX Hybrid.

For better maneuverability, the Avalon Hybrid XLE’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the C-MAX Hybrid’s (37.7 feet vs. 39 feet). The Avalon Hybrid XSE/Limited’s turning circle is .3 feet tighter than the C-MAX Hybrid’s (38.7 feet vs. 39 feet).

Chassis

The Avalon Hybrid is 7.4 inches shorter in height than the C-MAX Hybrid, making the Avalon Hybrid much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Passenger Space

The Avalon Hybrid has 4.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the C-MAX Hybrid (103.8 vs. 99.7).

The Avalon Hybrid has 1.5 inches more front hip room, 2.4 inches more front shoulder room, 3.9 inches more rear legroom, 2.9 inches more rear hip room and 1.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the C-MAX Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Avalon Hybrid. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

The Avalon Hybrid uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The C-MAX Hybrid uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the Avalon Hybrid to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Ford doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the C-MAX Hybrid.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the Avalon Hybrid Limited, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position (with optional power wheel adjuster) and outside mirror angle. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Avalon Hybrid Limited’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Avalon Hybrid detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Avalon Hybrid Limited has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Avalon Hybrid Limited also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Avalon Hybrid has standard extendable sun visors. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Avalon Hybrid’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford charges extra for heated mirrors on the C-MAX Hybrid.

When the Avalon Hybrid Limited/Touring is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The C-MAX Hybrid’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Avalon Hybrid Limited has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The C-MAX Hybrid offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Avalon Hybrid has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the C-MAX Hybrid. The Avalon Hybrid Limited also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the C-MAX Hybrid.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Avalon Hybrid Limited keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Avalon Hybrid Limited’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Both the Avalon Hybrid and the C-MAX Hybrid offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Avalon Hybrid has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Avalon Hybrid has a standard Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The C-MAX Hybrid doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

The Avalon Hybrid will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Avalon Hybrid will retain 46.54% to 47.58% of its original price after five years, while the C-MAX Hybrid only retains 38.76% to 39.73%.

Recommendations

The Toyota Avalon outsold the Ford C-MAX by over five to one during 2018.

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

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