2019 Toyota Avalon vs. 2019 Lexus IS Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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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 IS Series 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 IS Series 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 IS Series only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Avalon and the IS Series 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, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure 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 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 44 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The IS Series has not been fully tested, yet.


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. Lexus only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the IS Series.

There are over 5 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Avalon’s warranty.


A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Avalon’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the IS Series’ camshafts. If the IS Series’ belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.


The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 60 more horsepower (301 vs. 241) and 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 258) than the IS 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 41 more horsepower (301 vs. 260) and 31 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 236) than the IS 300 AWD’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Avalon is faster than the IS 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:



IS Series

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.4 MPH

89.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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









22 city/32 hwy



XSE/Limited/Touring 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/31 hwy

IS Series



300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/30 hwy



350 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/28 hwy



300 3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy



350 3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

Brakes and Stopping

The Avalon stops shorter than the IS Series:



IS Series


70 to 0 MPH

171 feet

177 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Avalon XSE/Touring’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the IS Series (235/40R19 vs. 225/40R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Avalon XSE/Touring has standard 19-inch wheels. The IS Series’ largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Avalon’s wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than on the IS Series (113 inches vs. 110.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Avalon is 2.4 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the IS Series.

The Avalon Touring handles at .85 G’s, while the IS Series AWD pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Avalon a Mid-size car, while the IS Series is rated a Compact.

The Avalon has 14.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the IS Series (104.3 vs. 90.2).

The Avalon has .3 inches more front headroom, 1.5 inches more front hip room, 2.4 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, 8.1 inches more rear legroom, .8 inches more rear hip room and 3.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the IS Series.

Cargo Capacity

The Avalon has a much larger trunk than the IS Series (16.1 vs. 10.8 cubic feet).


The power windows standard on both the Avalon and the IS Series have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Avalon is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The IS Series prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 IS Series’ headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Avalon has standard extendable sun visors. The IS Series doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Avalon has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the IS Series. 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 IS Series.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Avalon owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Avalon will cost $4405 to $8070 less than the IS Series 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 $8819 to $11418 less than for the Lexus IS Series.


The Toyota Avalon outsold the Lexus IS Series by 46% during 2018.

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

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