2019 Toyota Avalon vs. 2019 Volkswagen Passat

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 Passat doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 5 points, IIHS rates the Pre-Collision System optional in the Avalon as “Superior.” The Passat scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

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 Passat 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 Passat only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Avalon and the Passat 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, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.

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 Passat was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The Avalon comes with free roadside assistance for 2 years 25000 miles. Toyota will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Passat.

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. Volkswagen doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Passat.

There are over 89 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Avalon’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Avalon has a standard 582-amp battery. The Passat’s 480-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 17th in initial quality. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th.

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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Volkswagen is ranked 16th.

Engine

The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 127 more horsepower (301 vs. 174) and 83 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 184) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

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 Passat.

Brakes and Stopping

The Avalon stops much shorter than the Passat:

 

Avalon

Passat

 

70 to 0 MPH

171 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Avalon’s wheelbase is 2.6 inches longer than on the Passat (113 inches vs. 110.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Avalon is .7 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Passat.

The Avalon Touring handles at .85 G’s, while the Passat pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Avalon Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the Passat SE R-Line (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .59 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 Passat (.29) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Avalon get better fuel mileage.

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 Passat doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Avalon has .2 inches more front headroom, 1.4 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom, 1.2 inches more rear legroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Passat.

Cargo Capacity

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Avalon’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Passat’s useful trunk space.

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 Passat doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 Passat’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 Passat doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Passat (except S/R-Line/GT)’s optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The Avalon Limited/Touring’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

The Avalon’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Volkswagen only offers heated mirrors on the Passat SE R-Line.

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 Passat’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 Passat offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Avalon Limited/Touring keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Passat doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Avalon Limited/Touring’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Passat doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 Passat SE R-Line.

Both the Avalon and the Passat 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 Passat doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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

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