2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid vs. 2019 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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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 Optima 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 Optima 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.

The Avalon Hybrid has standard Safety Connect, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Avalon Hybrid and the Optima 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, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Avalon Hybrid’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid runs out after 100,000 miles.

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. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Optima Plug-In Hybrid.

There are over 59 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Avalon Hybrid’s warranty.

Reliability

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

Engine

The Avalon Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 13 more horsepower (215 vs. 202) than the Optima 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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid running its gasoline engine (43 city/43 hwy vs. 38 city/43 hwy). The Avalon Hybrid XLE gets better fuel mileage than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid running its gasoline engine (43 city/44 hwy vs. 38 city/43 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 Optima 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 Optima 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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s 55 series tires.

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

Passenger Space

The Avalon Hybrid has .2 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom, 4.8 inches more rear legroom and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

The Avalon Hybrid has a much larger trunk than the Optima 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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s useful trunk space.

The Avalon Hybrid’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

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

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 Optima 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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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

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

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