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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 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
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 Optima Plug-In 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.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Avalon Hybrid Limited offers optional Rear Cross-Traffic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The Avalon Hybrid Limited offers an optional Bird’s Eye View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.
Both the Avalon Hybrid and the Optima Plug-In 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 and rear cross-path warning.
The Avalon Hybrid’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid runs out after 100,000 miles.
Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Avalon Hybrid for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Optima Plug-In Hybrid.
There are over 59 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it much 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 25 points higher than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Avalon Hybrid second among large cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Optima Plug-In 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 Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Kia is ranked fifth.
The Avalon Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 13 more horsepower (215 vs. 202) than the Optima Plug-In 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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a CVT.
For better traction, the Avalon Hybrid XSE/Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid (235/45R18 vs. 215/55R17).
The Avalon Hybrid XSE/Limited’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Avalon Hybrid XSE/Limited has standard 18-inch wheels. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.
The Avalon Hybrid has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Avalon Hybrid’s wheelbase is 2.6 inches longer than on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid (113 inches vs. 110.4 inches).
The Avalon Hybrid has .2 inches more front shoulder room, 4.8 inches more rear legroom and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid.
The Avalon Hybrid has a much larger trunk than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid (16.1 vs. 9.9 cubic feet).
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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s useful trunk space.
The Avalon Hybrid’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer folding rear seats.
The Avalon Hybrid Limited has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.
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. (This window function must be activated by your Toyota service department.) The driver of the Optima Plug-In Hybrid can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Avalon Hybrid’s 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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
The Avalon Hybrid Limited 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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
Both the Avalon Hybrid and the Optima Plug-In Hybrid have standard heated front seats. 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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid.
Insurance will cost less for the Avalon Hybrid owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Avalon Hybrid will cost $5080 to $5820 less than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid over a five-year period.
The Avalon Hybrid will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Avalon Hybrid will retain 41.14% to 42.47% of its original price after five years, while the Optima Plug-In Hybrid only retains 32.28%.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Avalon Hybrid will be $3206 to $9285 less than for the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid.
Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Avalon Hybrid as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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