2020 Toyota Avalon vs. 2020 Kia Optima

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 Kia Optima 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 Optima 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 Optima 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 Optima 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 and the Optima 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 and rear cross-path warning.

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 Kia Optima:

Avalon

Optima

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

25%

50%

Neck Stress

180 lbs.

192 lbs.

Neck Compression

64 lbs.

101 lbs.

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

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 Kia Optima:

Avalon

Optima

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.8 inches

.8 inches

Abdominal Force

156 G’s

178 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

266

319

Spine Acceleration

41 G’s

66 G’s

Hip Force

686 lbs.

933 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

13 inches

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

Warranty

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The Avalon’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Optima runs out after 100,000 miles.

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. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Optima.

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’s warranty.

Reliability

© 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

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 20 points higher than the Optima.

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

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 2019/10/16

The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 123 more horsepower (301 vs. 178) and 72 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 195) than the Optima EX’s standard 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 116 more horsepower (301 vs. 185) and 89 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 178) than the Optima’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The Avalon’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 56 more horsepower (301 vs. 245) and 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 260) than the Optima SX’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Avalon is faster than the Optima EX 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.:

Avalon

Optima

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.4 MPH

90.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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

On the EPA test cycle the Avalon XLE gets better fuel mileage than the Optima SX 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (22 city/32 hwy vs. 21 city/30 hwy).

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Toyota Avalon, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Optima.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Avalon TRD

Optima LX/S

Optima EX/SX

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12 inches

12.6 inches

The Avalon stops much shorter than the Optima:

Avalon

Optima

70 to 0 MPH

171 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Avalon has larger standard tires than the Optima (215/55R17 vs. 205/65R16).

The Avalon XLE’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Optima LX’s standard 65 series tires. The Avalon XSE/TRD/Touring’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Optima S/SX’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Avalon XLE has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Optima LX. The Avalon XSE/TRD/Touring’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Optima S/SX.

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Avalon’s wheelbase is 2.6 inches longer than on the Optima (113 inches vs. 110.4 inches).

The Avalon Touring handles at .82 G’s, while the Optima pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Avalon Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Optima (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Avalon offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Optima doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Avalon has .2 inches more front shoulder room, 4.7 inches more rear legroom and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Optima.

Cargo Capacity

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To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Avalon’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Optima’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

Ergonomics

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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 Optima doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Avalon’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Optima’s parking brake has to released manually.

The Avalon’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’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically. With the Optima S/EX/SX’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

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 Optima 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 Optima’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Avalon Limited/XSE/Touring 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 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Avalon has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats are only available on the Optima EX/SX. 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 Optima.

The Avalon has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Optima EX/SX.

Both the Avalon and the Optima offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Avalon has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Optima doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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 $675 less than the Optima 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 Optima only retains 39.17% to 40.49%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Avalon is less expensive to operate than the Optima because typical repairs cost less on the Avalon than the Optima, including $14 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 2019/10/16

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

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

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