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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 Buick Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The Avalon Limited/Touring offers an optional Bird’s Eye View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Regal Sportback only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
Both the Avalon and the Regal Sportback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger 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, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.
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 Regal Sportback has not been tested, yet.
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. Buick only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Regal Sportback.
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 Regal Sportback.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Avalon second among large cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Regal Sportback 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 Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 11th.
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 Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked fifth.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Buick is ranked 19th.
The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 51 more horsepower (301 vs. 250) and 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 260) than the Regal Sportback’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 51 more horsepower (301 vs. 250) than the Regal Sportback’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Avalon’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the Regal Sportback (113 inches vs. 111.4 inches).
For better maneuverability, the Avalon XLE’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (37.7 feet vs. 39 feet). The Avalon Limited/Touring’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (38.7 feet vs. 41 feet).
The Avalon has 6.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Regal Sportback (104.3 vs. 98).
The Avalon has .6 inches more front hip room, 1.4 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom, 3.4 inches more rear legroom, .7 inches more rear hip room and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Regal Sportback.
The Avalon’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Regal Sportback’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.
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 Regal Sportback can only operate 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 Regal Sportback’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Avalon detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Avalon has standard extendable sun visors. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer extendable visors.
The Avalon has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats are only available on the Regal Sportback Essence/Avenir/GS. The Avalon Limited/Touring also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Regal Sportback.
Insurance will cost less for the Avalon owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Avalon with a number “5” insurance rate while the Regal Sportback is rated higher at a number “8” rate.
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 Regal Sportback only retains 28.76% to 36.45%.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Avalon is less expensive to operate than the Regal Sportback because it costs $391 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Avalon than the Regal Sportback, including $399 less for a water pump, $755 less for a muffler, $112 less for front brake pads, $94 less for a starter and $452 less for a power steering pump.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the Toyota Avalon and the Buick Regal Sportback, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The Toyota Avalon outsold the Buick Regal by over two to one during 2018.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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