2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid vs. 2019 Honda Clarity Plug-In 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 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

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 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid only offers a rear monitor.

To help make backing safer, the Avalon Hybrid’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Avalon Hybrid and the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems and rearview cameras.

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. Honda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid.

There are over 18 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Honda dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Avalon Hybrid’s warranty.

Reliability

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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 17th in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 23rd.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Honda is ranked 15th.

Engine

The Avalon Hybrid’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 3 more horsepower (215 vs. 212) than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Avalon Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid running its gasoline engine (43 city/43 hwy vs. 44 city/40 hwy). The Avalon Hybrid XLE gets better fuel mileage than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid running its gasoline engine (43 city/44 hwy vs. 44 city/40 hwy).

The Avalon Hybrid has 6.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid (13.2 vs. 7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Tires and Wheels

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 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s 45 series tires.

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 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The Avalon Hybrid has variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Avalon Hybrid’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid (113 inches vs. 108.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Avalon Hybrid is .4 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid.

For better maneuverability, the Avalon Hybrid XLE’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s (37.7 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis

The Toyota Avalon Hybrid may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 400 pounds less than the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid.

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 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Avalon Hybrid has 2.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid (103.8 vs. 101.5).

The Avalon Hybrid has .8 inches more rear headroom and 4.2 inches more rear legroom than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

The Avalon Hybrid has a larger trunk than the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid (16.1 vs. 15.5 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Avalon Hybrid’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Avalon Hybrid. The Clarity Plug-In 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 Clarity Plug-In 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.

Ergonomics

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 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Avalon Hybrid and the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid 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 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Avalon Hybrid Limited’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Clarity Plug-In 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 Clarity Plug-In 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.

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 Clarity Plug-In 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 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 Clarity Plug-In 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 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Recommendations

The Toyota Avalon outsold the Honda Clarity by 66% during 2018.

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

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