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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Avalon Hybrid have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The Avalon Hybrid 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 Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The Avalon Hybrid has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
Both the Avalon Hybrid and the Sonata Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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.
There are over 49 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Avalon Hybrid’s warranty.
A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Avalon Hybrid’s reliability 31 points higher than the Sonata Hybrid.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Avalon Hybrid second among large cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Sonata Hybrid isn’t in the top three in its category.
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 Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked 8th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Hyundai is ranked 6th.
The Avalon Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 23 more horsepower (215 vs. 192) than the Sonata Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.
The Avalon Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer a CVT.
For better traction, the Avalon Hybrid has larger standard tires than the Sonata Hybrid (215/55R17 vs. 205/65R16). The Avalon Hybrid XSE/Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sonata Hybrid (235/45R18 vs. 215/55R17).
The Avalon Hybrid XLE’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sonata Hybrid Blue’s standard 65 series tires. The Avalon Hybrid XSE/Limited’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Sonata Hybrid SEL/Limited’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Avalon Hybrid XLE has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Sonata Hybrid Blue. The Avalon Hybrid XSE/Limited’s 18-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Sonata Hybrid SEL/Limited.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Avalon Hybrid’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the Sonata Hybrid (113 inches vs. 111.8 inches).
The front grille of the Avalon Hybrid uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Avalon Hybrid XSE offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The Avalon Hybrid has 1.2 inches more front hip room, .4 inches more front shoulder room, 5.6 inches more rear legroom, .3 inches more rear hip room and 1 inch more rear shoulder room than the Sonata Hybrid.
To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Avalon Hybrid’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Sonata Hybrid’s useful trunk space.
The Avalon Hybrid’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 Sonata Hybrid’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Sonata Hybrid SEL/Limited’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.
If the windows are left open on the Avalon Hybrid 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. (Your Toyota service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the Sonata Hybrid can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Avalon Hybrid Limited has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Avalon Hybrid’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Hyundai only offers heated mirrors on the Sonata Hybrid SEL/Limited.
The Avalon Hybrid’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Sonata Hybrid offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The Avalon Hybrid has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats are only available on the Sonata Hybrid SEL/Limited. The Avalon Hybrid Limited also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Sonata Hybrid.
Both the Avalon Hybrid and the Sonata Hybrid offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Avalon Hybrid has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the Toyota Avalon Hybrid and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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