2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid vs. 2019 Tesla Model S

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Avalon Hybrid are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Tesla Model S doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

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 Model S 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 Model S 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 Model S 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.

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 Model S doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

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 Model S 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 Model S have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 and rearview cameras.

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 Model S has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The Avalon Hybrid’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Model S’ (5/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

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. Tesla doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Model S.

There are almost 20 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Tesla 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 Tesla vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Tesla is ranked 27th.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Avalon Hybrid’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel is 580.8 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Model S’ range is only 335 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only a 54% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 82 hours and 53 minutes.

Brakes and Stopping

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The Avalon Hybrid has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model S doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

Tires and Wheels

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 Model S; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Chassis

The Toyota Avalon Hybrid may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1150 to 1250 pounds less than the Tesla Model S.

Passenger Space

The Avalon Hybrid has 9.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Model S (103.8 vs. 94).

The Avalon Hybrid has .8 inches more front hip room, .6 inches more front shoulder room, 2.6 inches more rear headroom, 5 inches more rear legroom, .1 inches more rear hip room and 2.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Model S.

Servicing Ease

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. Tesla doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Model S.

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 Model S doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Avalon Hybrid’s standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Model S doesn’t even offer side window demisters, so the driver may have to wipe the windows from the outside to gain side vision.

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 Model S doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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 Model S doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Recommendations

The Toyota Avalon outsold the Tesla Model S by 40% during 2018.

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

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