2019 Toyota Avalon vs. 2019 Audi A5 Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Avalon Limited/Touring offers optional Rear Cross-Traffic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Avalon and the A5 Sportback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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, rearview cameras 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 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 44 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A5 Sportback was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the Avalon 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A5 Sportback. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the A5 Sportback ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Avalon for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the A5 Sportback.

There are over 4 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Avalon’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Avalon has a standard 582-amp battery. The A5 Sportback’s 420-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 Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 17th in initial quality. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th.

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

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Audi is ranked 7th.

Engine

The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 53 more horsepower (301 vs. 248) than the A5 Sportback’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Toyota Avalon, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A5 Sportback.

Tires and Wheels

The Avalon 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 A5 Sportback; 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’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the A5 Sportback (113 inches vs. 111.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Avalon is .3 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than the track on the A5 Sportback.

For better maneuverability, the Avalon XLE’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the A5 Sportback’s (37.7 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis

The design of the Toyota Avalon amounts to more than styling. The Avalon has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the A5 Sportback (.29) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Avalon get better fuel mileage.

The Avalon offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Avalon has .8 inches more front legroom, 2.6 inches more front shoulder room, .9 inches more rear headroom, 5.2 inches more rear legroom and 2.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the A5 Sportback.

Ergonomics

The Avalon Limited/Touring’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 A5 Sportback doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the A5 Sportback’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Avalon Limited/Touring has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Avalon Limited/Touring also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Avalon owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Avalon will cost $1750 to $4235 less than the A5 Sportback over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Avalon will be $11545 to $12456 less than for the Audi A5 Sportback.

Recommendations

The Toyota Avalon outsold the Audi A5/S5 by 29% during 2018.

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

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