2019 Toyota Avalon vs. 2019 Kia Cadenza

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 Cadenza 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 Cadenza doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Avalon and the Cadenza have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear 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, 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 Cadenza is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

The Avalon’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Cadenza runs out after 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. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Cadenza.

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’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 Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

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’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 11 more horsepower (301 vs. 290) and 14 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 253) than the Cadenza’s 3.3 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Avalon is faster than the Kia Cadenza:

 

Avalon

Cadenza

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

6.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.4 MPH

95.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

Avalon

 

FWD

XLE 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/32 hwy

 

 

XSE/Limited/Touring 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/31 hwy

Cadenza

 

FWD

3.3 DOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Toyota Avalon higher (5 out of 10) than the Kia Cadenza (3). This means the Avalon produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Cadenza every 15,000 miles.

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 Cadenza’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Avalon Touring handles at .82 G’s, while the Cadenza Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Avalon Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Cadenza Limited (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .63 average G’s).

Chassis

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 Cadenza doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Avalon has 3.1 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cadenza.

Cargo Capacity

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

Ergonomics

The Avalon’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 Cadenza’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Cadenza’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” 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 Cadenza 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 Limited/XSE/Touring 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 Cadenza has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Recommendations

The Toyota Avalon outsold the Kia Cadenza by over seven to one during 2018.

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

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