I grasped the smooth, solid handle, heard the distinct Toyota beep to unlock the doors with smart key entry, opened the door and slid into the seat. I was instantly in love with everything that laid before me. My eyes were bathed in an array of professionally sculpted instruments that exuded pure class. The Avalon Hybrid changed me that day and got me thinking, could I actually afford this kind of luxury?
As a hard core Prius owner, I needed to see if I could get similar features in my favorite car and maybe save a few thousand bucks. Here is what I found when I did a comparison between the Prius Limited and the Avalon Hybrid.
The Price Between the Toyota Prius Limited and Avalon Hybrid Limited
The Limited versions of both cars are top of the line. We should be able to make a very fair cost comparison between the two.
For me the $32,375 that sets the price on the 2020 Prius Limited is reasonable. It is luxury that is still within a price range that most can afford while still feeling like they are saving a grip of money. I know I can for sure afford even if I did a 6% interest rate which is pretty darn high, I could afford the $625 a month for a 5 year loan on the car. Not awful for a fully loaded Prius with all the bells and whistles.
The Avalon Hybrid Limited is a bit of a different story. Coming in hot at $43,150 this initial sticker shock really turns me off. I would be paying, again on the same load estimate, which could vary, $834.21. Ouch. That is easily $200 more than the Prius. We cannot base them on price alone though because it would be a no brainer that the Prius will be less expensive just looking at the numbers alone. We need to know why we would want to fork out the extra dough that would entice us to get into an Avalon Hybrid. We have to factor in other things, and that is what I did.
The Space In Prius Vs Avalon Hybrid
Before you roll your eyes and think that this is totally obvious, hear me out. For sure the Avalon Hybrid is going to have more room, it is a larger vehicle. The question is now, is really by how much.
Avalon Headroom 37.4/37.1 Prius Head Room 39.4/37.4
Avalon Shoulder Room 37.4/37.1 Prius Shoulder Room 55.0/53.0
Avalon Hip Room 55.8/54.7 Prius Hip Room 53.4/51.9
Avalon Legroom 42.1/40.4 Prius Legroom 42.3/33.4
Avalon Cargo 16.09 cubic ft Prius Cargo 24.6 Cubic ft.
The numbers really speak for themselves at this point. You actually have more space as far as cargo, and even seating in some areas in the Prius over the Avalon. That is pretty crazy considering how much larger the Avalon is. The shoulder room is what blew me away about the Prius honestly. In this category I am going to have to say Prius for the win.
Available Options Between Prius and Avalon Hybrid
I could stop here and make a decision, but since I like driving my point home, I am going to continue. Plus we have not looked at all points which could be a deciding factor between the two. I am really going to look at the big ticket items here so we can see where one rules over the other. The fact that you can get softex in both cars really does not need to be talked about. I want to compare things like safety and tech.
Prius you can get, TSS-P ( Toyota Safety Sense) which includes 4 different safety items. Pre Collision, Lane Departure, Pedestrian Warning and Auto High Beams. This includes the adaptive headlights, back up camera, and no cost roadside assistance. The AWD-e, if you get the non limited version, can add to that safety as well.
You also get in 2020, Apple Carplay (Finally, took long enough), Amazon Alexa, Sonar Intelligent Parking, Qi wireless charging, 3 USB ports, and available color heads up display. It also has a nice 11.6" screen that you can actually use as well.
The Avalon has some of the same features but with a few differences. The larger display is only a 7" in the Avalon and even though you can control it with a compatible smartwatch, but who is really going to do that while driving? You still have backup camera, roadside assistance and all that jazz, just like the Prius, but there is one notable feature that really makes a massive difference.
The Birds Eye View camera with perimeter scan. This is crazy cool. Using all the sensors around the vehicle you can get a view of what your surroundings are like. A neat feature for the older generation that usually drives them.
Comfort level, Prius vs Avalon
If we are going to be honest here, there really is no comparison to the actual feel of the seats. The reason that I started this article with slipping into the seat of an Avalon is because it was an experience to remember. It was simply just a more comfortable ride.
I am not saying the Prius had awful seats, they are way better than my 07 by a long shot, but what I am saying is that if you are wanting a car to take a longer road trip, I would suggest the Avalon that has more comfortable seats.
Buy what you want. For me taking a look at what matters, I would still choose the Prius over the Avalon Hybrid for several reasons. I like the bigger screen, more cargo space and if I did not want to get a Limited model I could opt for the AWD-e which Avalon does not have, especially for those wintery days ahead.
If you are out car shopping this weekend I hope that this helps you make an informed decision on what you really want from a Toyota hybrid car. Thanks for reading and I will see you in the next article.
Check out my other story about The 5 most outrageous quotes from dealers
Also check out my story where I am discussing why Carista is the best $20 tool for your Toyota Prius.
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He is an automotive technology instructor at Columbia Basin College. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Adjunct Instructor of automotive technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter.