2020 Toyota Avalon vs. 2019 Cadillac CTS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/16

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Avalon 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 Cadillac CTS doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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 CTS doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Avalon 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 CTS 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 and the CTS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available around view monitors.

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

Avalon

CTS

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

302

328

Neck Injury Risk

25%

45%

Neck Stress

180 lbs.

200 lbs.

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

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Toyota Avalon is safer than the CTS:

Avalon

CTS

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

153

183

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

1 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Femur Force R/L

.7/.5 kN

5.9/3.7 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

14%/1%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia forces R/L

2.1/1.8 kN

5.7/7.8 kN

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 Toyota Avalon is safer than the Cadillac CTS:

Avalon

CTS

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.8 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

156 G’s

189 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

41 G’s

49 G’s

Hip Force

686 lbs.

701 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

14 inches

HIC

267

297

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

53 G’s

Hip Force

719 lbs.

892 lbs.

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

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 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The CTS was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

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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. Cadillac only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the CTS.

There are over 36 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Cadillac dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Avalon’s warranty.

Reliability

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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’s reliability 70 points higher than the CTS.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Avalon second among large cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The CTS isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 17th, below the industry average.

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 Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 58 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 23rd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Cadillac is ranked 28th.

Engine

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The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 33 more horsepower (301 vs. 268) than the CTS’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Avalon gets better fuel mileage than the CTS:

MPG

Avalon

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/31 hwy

XLE 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/32 hwy

CTS

RWD

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/29 hwy

3.6 Turbo V6

16 city/24 hwy

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Toyota Avalon higher (5 out of 10) than the Cadillac CTS (3 to 5). This means the Avalon produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the CTS every 15,000 miles.

Tires and Wheels

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The Avalon 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 CTS; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Avalon is 1.3 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the CTS.

The Avalon Touring handles at .85 G’s, while the CTS Premium pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

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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 CTS (.3) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Avalon get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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The Avalon has 7.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CTS (104.3 vs. 97).

The Avalon has 2 inches more front hip room, 1.4 inches more front shoulder room, 4.9 inches more rear legroom, 1.5 inches more rear hip room and 2.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the CTS.

Cargo Capacity

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The Avalon has a much larger trunk than the CTS (16.1 vs. 13.7 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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If the windows are left open on the Avalon 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 CTS can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Avalon’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 CTS’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 CTS’ headlights are rated “Poor.”

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Avalon owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Avalon will cost $1120 to $5580 less than the CTS 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 42.3% to 43.91% of its original price after five years, while the CTS only retains 30.06% to 37.42%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Avalon is less expensive to operate than the CTS because it costs $306 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Avalon than the CTS, including $859 less for a muffler, $60 less for front brake pads, $420 less for a fuel pump, $65 less for front struts and $398 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Avalon will be $20606 to $37697 less than for the Cadillac CTS.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/16

Consumer Reports® recommends the Toyota Avalon, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Cadillac CTS isn't recommended.

The Toyota Avalon outsold the Cadillac CTS by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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