2019 Toyota Avalon vs. 2019 Mazda 6

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 Mazda 6 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Compared to metal, the Avalon’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda 6 has a metal gas tank.

Both the Avalon and the Mazda 6 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning 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 Mazda 6 is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

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. Mazda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the 6.

There are over 2 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Mazda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Avalon’s warranty.

Reliability

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 Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 17th in initial quality. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 22nd.

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 Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 51 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

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

Engine

The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 114 more horsepower (301 vs. 187) and 81 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 186) than the Mazda 6’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 51 more horsepower (301 vs. 250) than the Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Toyota Avalon is faster than the Mazda 6:

 

Avalon

Mazda6

Mazda6 Turbo

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7.3 sec

6.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.3 sec

20.9 sec

16 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.7 sec

7.5 sec

6.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

15.8 sec

14.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

89 MPH

97 MPH

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 Mazda 6.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Avalon’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the Mazda 6:

 

Avalon

6

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.7 inches

Rear Rotors

11.06 inches

10.9 inches

The Avalon stops much shorter than the Mazda 6:

 

Avalon

Mazda 6

 

70 to 0 MPH

171 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Avalon XSE/Touring’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Mazda 6 (235/40R19 vs. 225/55R17).

The Avalon XSE/Touring’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’s 45 series tires.

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 Mazda 6’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Avalon’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the Mazda 6 (113 inches vs. 111.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Avalon is .2 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Mazda 6.

The Avalon Touring handles at .85 G’s, while the Mazda 6 Signature pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Avalon Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Mazda 6 Touring (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

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 Mazda 6 (.285) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Avalon get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The Avalon has 4.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Mazda 6 (104.3 vs. 99.7).

The Avalon has .1 inches more front headroom, 2.3 inches more front hip room, 2.4 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 1.6 inches more rear legroom, 1.3 inches more rear hip room and 2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Mazda 6.

Cargo Capacity

The Avalon has a much larger trunk than the Mazda 6 (16.1 vs. 14.7 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Avalon. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

The Avalon uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Mazda 6 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

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 Mazda 6 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Avalon and the Mazda 6 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 Mazda 6 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 Mazda 6’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Marginal.”

The Avalon’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda only offers heated mirrors on the Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature.

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 Mazda 6’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the Avalon and the Mazda 6 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Avalon has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Recommendations

The Toyota Avalon outsold the Mazda 6 by 9% during 2018.

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

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