2020 Toyota Avalon vs. 2020 Acura TLX

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 2019/10/21

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 TLX 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 TLX 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 TLX 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 TLX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Avalon and the TLX 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, rearview cameras and available around view monitors.

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 TLX:

Avalon

TLX

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

153

250

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.7/.5 kN

1.6/2.1 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.32/.59

1.15/.91

Tibia forces R/L

2.1/1.8 kN

4.4/5 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 Acura TLX:

Avalon

TLX

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

163

187

Chest Movement

.8 inches

.8 inches

Abdominal Force

156 G’s

179 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

41 G’s

57 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

14 inches

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

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 TLX’s camshafts. If the TLX’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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 43 points higher than the TLX.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Avalon second among large cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The TLX 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.

Engine

© 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 2019/10/21

The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 95 more horsepower (301 vs. 206) and 85 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 182) than the TLX’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 11 more horsepower (301 vs. 290) than the TLX’s optional 3.5 SOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Avalon is faster than the Acura TLX 4 cyl.:

Avalon

TLX

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

15.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.4 MPH

91.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Avalon

3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/31 hwy

XLE 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/32 hwy

TLX

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/31 hwy

A-Spec 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/30 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 Acura TLX (3). This means the Avalon produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the TLX every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Avalon TRD

TLX

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.6 inches

The Avalon stops shorter than the TLX:

Avalon

TLX

70 to 0 MPH

171 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Avalon’s wheelbase is 3.7 inches longer than on the TLX (113 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

The Avalon Touring handles at .85 G’s, while the TLX V6 SH-AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Avalon XLE’s turning circle is 1.1 feet tighter than the TLX V6’s (37.7 feet vs. 38.8 feet).

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Avalon a Mid-size car, while the TLX is rated a Compact.

The Avalon has 11 cubic feet more passenger volume than the TLX (104.3 vs. 93.3).

The Avalon has .2 inches more front headroom, .5 inches more front hip room, .8 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 5.8 inches more rear legroom and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the TLX.

Cargo Capacity

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The Avalon has a much larger trunk than the TLX (16.1 vs. 14.3 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

© 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 2019/10/21

The Avalon Limited/Touring 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 TLX doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the Avalon and the TLX 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 TLX 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 TLX’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 TLX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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 $170 less than the TLX 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 TLX only retains 39.92% to 41.77%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Avalon is less expensive to operate than the TLX because it costs $72 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Avalon than the TLX, including $335 less for a muffler, $289 less for a starter, $219 less for fuel injection, $22 less for a fuel pump and $855 less for a power steering pump.

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 2019/10/21

Consumer Reports® recommends the Toyota Avalon, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Toyota Avalon outsold the Acura TLX by 10% during 2018.

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

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