2021 Avalon vs. 2020 Cadenza Comparison

The Toyota Avalon is now in its 5th generation. Over the years it has evolved in the luxury-leaning sedan market and today features eye-grabbing modern styling, available All-Wheel Drive (AWD), and hybrid engine options.

Arriving later on the scene, the Kia Cadenza joined the Avalon in the premium full-size sedan segment in North America in 2014.

The gas-engine 2021 Avalon XLE has better fuel efficiency ratings with an EPA-estimated 22/32/26 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating while the Cadenza trims have an EPA-estimated rating of 20/28/23 (city/highway/combined). Avalon’s MPG rating advantages increase substantially when you look at the hybrid engine option.

Both vehicles offer luxury, but let’s look at the details to see how the specs compare in categories like safety, performance, and interior.

Publish Date: 11/04/2020

Explore Avalon

Safety

Starting with safety, every 2021 Avalon comes with a suite of standard advanced active safety features. The Cadenza does have similar safety offerings but some are not standard across all Cadenza grades.

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Safety

  • All grades of the 2021 Avalon come with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P).
  • Cadenza buyers will have to spend more on the Cadenza Technology (MSRP $37,850) or Cadenza Limited model (MSRP $43,550) to get all of the same safety features as the base model Avalon, which starts at $35,875.
  • The 2019 Avalon was awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ award when equipped with LED projector headlights.
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Performance

Moving on to performance, the Avalon offers the optimal balance between power and fuel efficiency.

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Performance

  • Toyota Avalon gas trims have 301 horsepower and a 3.5L V6 engine versus the Kia Cadenza's 3.3L V6 engine with 290 horsepower.
  • The 2021 Avalon XLE has better gas mileage with an EPA-estimated 22/32/26 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating. The Cadenza trims get 20/28/23 (city/highway/combined).
  • The Avalon XLE Hybrid has an EPA-estimated 43/44/44 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating. The Kia Cadenza does not offer a hybrid gas/electric option.
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Interior

In the world of premium and/or luxury sedans, interior features are key. These vehicles come packed with several luxury touches, but the Avalon comes with more for less.

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Interior

  • One of Avalon's higher-end trims, the Limited, starts at $42,175 MSRP compared to Cadenza's Limited trim which starts at $43,550 MSRP.
  • The Avalon Limited comes with 14 speakers vs. Cadenza Limited’s 12.
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Conclusion: Avalon vs. Cadenza

In terms of safety, performance, and interior, one vehicle clearly stands out. For safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2019 Avalon the Top Safety Pick+ award when equipped with LED projector headlights. The 2019 Kia Cadenza received a Top Safety Pick designation when equipped with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist and LED projector headlights.

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Conclusion: Avalon vs. Cadenza

  • The Avalon Limited comes with 14 JBL® speakers, where the Cadenza Limited comes with 12 speakers.
  • When equipped with LED projector headlights, the 2019 Avalon is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+.
  • The 2019 Cadenza is a lower-rated Top Safety Pick but only when equipped with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist and LED projector headlights.
  • The Avalon offers hybrid options and better fuel economy ratings. The Cadenza lacks a hybrid model.
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