2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid vs. 2019 Acura RLX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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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 RLX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Avalon Hybrid and the RLX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available around view monitors.

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 44 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The RLX has not been fully tested, yet.


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. Acura doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the RLX.

There are almost 5 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Avalon Hybrid’s warranty.


A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Avalon Hybrid’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the RLX’s camshafts. If the RLX’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Avalon Hybrid has a standard 582-amp battery. The RLX’s 550-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 17th in initial quality. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 20th.

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 Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 63 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Acura is ranked 13th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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





Avalon Hybrid



XLE 2.5 4 cyl. Hybrid

43 city/44 hwy



XSE/Limited 2.5 4 cyl. Hybrid

43 city/43 hwy




3.5 SOHC V6

20 city/29 hwy



3.5 V6 Hybrid

28 city/29 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Avalon Hybrid uses regular unleaded gasoline. The RLX requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Toyota Avalon Hybrid higher (7 out of 10) than the Acura RLX (3 to 7). This means the Avalon Hybrid produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the RLX every 15,000 miles.


The Avalon Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The RLX doesn’t offer a CVT.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Avalon Hybrid XLE’s turning circle is 2.8 feet tighter than the RLX’s (37.7 feet vs. 40.5 feet). The Avalon Hybrid XSE/Limited’s turning circle is 1.8 feet tighter than the RLX’s (38.7 feet vs. 40.5 feet).


The Toyota Avalon Hybrid may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 650 pounds less than the Acura RLX.

The front grille of the Avalon Hybrid uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The RLX doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Avalon Hybrid has .9 inches more front headroom, 1 inch more rear headroom, 1.6 inches more rear legroom, .3 inches more rear hip room and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the RLX.

Cargo Capacity

The Avalon Hybrid has a much larger trunk than the RLX (16.1 vs. 14.9 cubic feet). The Avalon Hybrid has a much larger trunk than the RLX Sport Hybrid (16.1 vs. 11.6 cubic feet).

The Avalon Hybrid’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The RLX doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.


The power windows standard on both the Avalon Hybrid and the RLX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Avalon Hybrid is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The RLX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Avalon Hybrid’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the RLX’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

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 RLX 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.

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 RLX only retains 33.14% to 34.94%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Avalon Hybrid will be $23891 to $27878 less than for the Acura RLX.


The Toyota Avalon outsold the Acura RLX by over 17 to one during 2018.

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

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