2020 Toyota Avalon vs. 2020 Acura RLX

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 2019/10/18

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 Acura RLX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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 RLX 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 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 RLX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Avalon and the RLX 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, 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available around view monitors.

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 Acura RLX:

Avalon

RLX

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

156 G’s

175 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

41 G’s

66 G’s

Hip Force

686 lbs.

901 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

14 inches

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

39 G’s

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 RLX has not been fully tested, yet.

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. Acura doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the RLX.

There are almost 5 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Avalon’s warranty.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Avalon’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the RLX’s camshafts. If the RLX’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Avalon has a standard 582-amp battery. The RLX’s 550-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 40 points higher than the RLX.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Avalon second among large cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The RLX 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 Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th, 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 Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 63 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Acura is ranked 13th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Avalon XLE gets better fuel mileage than the RLX FWD V6 (22 city/32 hwy vs. 20 city/29 hwy).

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 RLX; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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

The Avalon Touring handles at .82 G’s, while the RLX pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Avalon Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the RLX (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.3 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Avalon XLE’s turning circle is 2.8 feet tighter than the RLX’s (37.7 feet vs. 40.5 feet). The Avalon Limited/Touring’s turning circle is 1.8 feet tighter than the RLX’s (38.7 feet vs. 40.5 feet).

Chassis

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The Toyota Avalon may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 700 pounds less than the Acura RLX.

Passenger Space

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The Avalon has 2.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the RLX (104.3 vs. 102.1).

The Avalon has .6 inches more rear headroom, 1.5 inches more rear legroom, .3 inches more rear hip room and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the RLX.

Cargo Capacity

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The Avalon has a much larger trunk than the RLX (16.1 vs. 14.9 cubic feet).

The Avalon’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The RLX doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Ergonomics

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The power windows standard on both the Avalon and the RLX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Avalon is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The RLX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 RLX’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Avalon Limited/Touring has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The RLX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Toyota Avalon offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The RLX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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 $2285 to $6880 less than the RLX 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 RLX only retains 32.48% to 33.89%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Avalon will be $24002 to $26781 less than for the Acura RLX.

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 2019/10/18

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

The Toyota Avalon outsold the Acura RLX by over 17 to one during 2018.

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

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