2020 Acura TLX vs. 2019 Toyota Avalon

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The TLX V6’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Avalon doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The TLX offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Avalon doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the TLX and the Avalon have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Acura TLX is safer than the Toyota Avalon:

TLX

Avalon

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Acura TLX is safer than the Toyota Avalon:

TLX

Avalon

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.8 inches

.8 inches

Hip Force

276 lbs.

318 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

229

266

Hip Force

483 lbs.

686 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

249

267

Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

38 G’s

Hip Force

678 lbs.

719 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The TLX comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Avalon’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the TLX 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Toyota covers the Avalon. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Avalon ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the TLX has a standard 650-amp battery. The Avalon’s 582-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

As tested in Car and Driver the Acura TLX V6 is faster than the Toyota Avalon V6:

TLX

Avalon

Zero to 60 MPH

5.8 sec

6.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.1 sec

15.3 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.2 sec

6.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

98 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the TLX V6’s fuel efficiency. The Avalon doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the TLX SH-AWD’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Avalon doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Acura TLX uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Avalon requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The TLX has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Avalon XLE’s standard fuel tank (17.2 vs. 14.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The TLX has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Avalon XSE/Limited/Touring’s standard fuel tank (17.2 vs. 15.8 gallons).

The TLX has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Avalon doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Acura TLX V6, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Avalon.

The TLX offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Avalon doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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

TLX

Avalon

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.06 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the TLX has larger standard tires than the Avalon (225/55R17 vs. 215/55R17). The TLX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Avalon (245/40R19 vs. 235/40R19).

The TLX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Avalon doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The TLX handles at .84 G’s, while the Avalon Touring pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Chassis

The TLX is 5.2 inches shorter than the Avalon, making the TLX easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the TLX has an electronically controlled liquid-filled main engine mount. A computer-controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The Avalon uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

Passenger Space

The TLX has .5 inches more front legroom and .1 inches more rear hip room than the Avalon.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 26% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

The TLX offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Avalon doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

If the windows are left open on the TLX the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Avalon can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The TLX’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Avalon XLE/Touring’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the TLX is less expensive to operate than the Avalon because typical repairs cost much less on the TLX than the Avalon, including $94 less for a water pump, $49 less for front brake pads, $24 less for front struts and $1132 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura TLX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Toyota Avalon isn't recommended.

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

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