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Both the Avalon and the Maxima 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, 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 36 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Maxima is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.
Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Avalon for 2 years or 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Maxima.
There are over 13 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Nissan dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Avalon’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 10th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Nissan is ranked 14th.
The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 1 more horsepower (301 vs. 300) and 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6.
On the EPA test cycle the Avalon XLE gets better fuel mileage than the Maxima (22 city/32 hwy vs. 20 city/30 hwy).
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Toyota Avalon higher (5 out of 10) than the Nissan Maxima (3). This means the Avalon produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Maxima every 15,000 miles.
The Avalon stops shorter than the Maxima:
60 to 0 MPH
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 Maxima’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Avalon’s wheelbase is 3.7 inches longer than on the Maxima (113 inches vs. 109.3 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Avalon is .4 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Maxima.
The Avalon Touring handles at .82 G’s, while the Maxima Platinum pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
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 Maxima (.29 to .3) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Avalon get better fuel mileage.
The Avalon has 5.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Maxima (104.3 vs. 98.5).
The Avalon has 1.6 inches more front hip room, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 6.1 inches more rear legroom, 1.3 inches more rear hip room and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Maxima.
The Avalon has a much larger trunk than the Maxima (16.1 vs. 14.3 cubic feet).
The power windows standard on both the Avalon and the Maxima 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 Maxima prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.
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 Maxima’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 Maxima’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 Maxima 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. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Maxima SV/SL/SR/Platinum.
Insurance will cost less for the Avalon owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Avalon will cost $2225 to $5755 less than the Maxima 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 Maxima only retains 36.9% to 38.7%.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Avalon will be $9846 to $10801 less than for the Nissan Maxima.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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