2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid vs. 2019 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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2019 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

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Safety

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 Sonata 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 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the Avalon Hybrid and the Sonata 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, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.

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. Hyundai doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid.

There are over 47 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Avalon Hybrid’s warranty.

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 Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked 8th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Hyundai is ranked 10th.

Engine

The Avalon Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 13 more horsepower (215 vs. 202) than the Sonata Plug-In 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 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid running its gasoline engine:

 

 

 

MPG

Avalon Hybrid

 

 

XLE 2.5 4 cyl. Hybrid

43 city/44 hwy

 

 

XSE/Limited 2.5 4 cyl. Hybrid

43 city/43 hwy

Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

 

 

2.0 4 cyl. Hybrid

37 city/42 hwy

Transmission

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 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Avalon Hybrid Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid (235/40R18 vs. 215/55R17).

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 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Avalon Hybrid Limited has standard 18-inch wheels. The Sonata Plug-In 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 Sonata Plug-In 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 2.6 inches longer than on the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid (113 inches vs. 110.4 inches).

Chassis

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

Passenger Space

The Avalon Hybrid has .5 inches more front hip room, .4 inches more front shoulder room, 4.8 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

The Avalon Hybrid has a much larger trunk than the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid (16.1 vs. 9.9 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. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid’s useful trunk space.

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

Ergonomics

The Avalon Hybrid’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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

Both the Avalon Hybrid and the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid have standard heated front seats. 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 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid.

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

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