2019 Toyota Avalon vs. 2019 Chevrolet Impala

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Avalon 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 Impala doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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 Impala doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Avalon Limited/Touring offers an optional Bird’s Eye View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Impala 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 and the Impala have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger 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 and rearview cameras.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Toyota Avalon is safer than the Impala:

 

Avalon

Impala

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

1 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Tibia index R/L

.32/.59

.68/.32

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 Impala was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The Avalon’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Impala’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 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. Chevrolet only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Impala.

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 Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked fourth.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Chevrolet is ranked 23rd.

Engine

The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 104 more horsepower (301 vs. 197) and 76 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 191) than the Impala’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 3 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 264) than the Impala’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Toyota Avalon is faster than the Chevrolet Impala 4 cyl.:

 

Avalon

Impala

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

8.7 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.3 sec

24.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.7 sec

9 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

16.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

85 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Avalon gets better fuel mileage than the Impala:

 

 

 

MPG

Avalon

 

 

XLE 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/32 hwy

 

 

XSE/Limited/Touring 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/31 hwy

Impala

 

 

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

 

 

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/28 hwy

 

 

Flex-Fuel 3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/28 hwy

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

The Avalon stops shorter than the Impala:

 

Avalon

Impala

 

70 to 0 MPH

171 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

Suspension and Handling

The Avalon offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Impala’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Avalon’s wheelbase is 1.3 inches longer than on the Impala (113 inches vs. 111.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Avalon is .6 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Impala.

The Avalon Touring handles at .85 G’s, while the Impala LT pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Avalon XLE’s turning circle is 1.1 feet tighter than the Impala’s (37.7 feet vs. 38.8 feet). The Avalon Limited/Touring’s turning circle is .1 feet tighter than the Impala’s (38.7 feet vs. 38.8 feet).

Chassis

The Avalon is 5.4 inches shorter than the Impala, making the Avalon easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Avalon has .9 inches more front hip room, .4 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom, .5 inches more rear legroom, .7 inches more rear hip room and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Impala.

Ergonomics

The Avalon’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Impala’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

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

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 Impala’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Avalon detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Impala doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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 Impala 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.

The Avalon’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Chevrolet only offers heated mirrors on the Impala LT/Premier.

When the Avalon 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 Impala’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Avalon has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the Impala, and aren’t available on the Impala LS. The Avalon Limited/Touring also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Impala.

The Avalon has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Impala LT/Premier.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Avalon owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Avalon will cost $145 less than the Impala over a five-year period.

The Avalon will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Avalon will retain 47.15% to 48.78% of its original price after five years, while the Impala only retains 39.29% to 41.42%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Avalon will be $210 to $1009 less than for the Chevrolet Impala.

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

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