2018 Ford Taurus vs. 2018 Lexus ES Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Taurus offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The ES Series doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Taurus Limited/SHO’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The ES Series doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Taurus and the ES Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors 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 Ford Taurus is safer than the Lexus ES Series:

 

Taurus

ES Series

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

31%

39%

Neck Stress

313 lbs.

388 lbs.

Neck Compression

13 lbs.

45 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

68/69 lbs.

446/567 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

218

304

Neck Injury Risk

32%

33%

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

147 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

316/229 lbs.

520/514 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 Ford Taurus is safer than the Lexus ES Series:

 

Taurus

ES Series

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

103

122

Chest Movement

1.2 inches

1.3 inches

Abdominal Force

173 G’s

245 G’s

Hip Force

337 lbs.

510 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

30 G’s

40 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Hip Force

743 lbs.

879 lbs.

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

Warranty

There are over 13 times as many Ford dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Taurus’ warranty.

Reliability

The Taurus has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The ES Series doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Lexus vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lexus is ranked 15th, below the industry average.

Engine

The Taurus’ standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 88 more horsepower (288 vs. 200) and 55 lbs.-ft. more torque (254 vs. 199) than the ES 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The Taurus’ 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 20 more horsepower (288 vs. 268) and 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (254 vs. 248) than the ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6. The Taurus SHO’s standard 3.5 turbo V6 produces 97 more horsepower (365 vs. 268) and 102 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 248) than the ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Ford Taurus V6 is faster than the ES 300h 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid:

 

Taurus

ES Series

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

7.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95 MPH

90.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Taurus has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the ES Series (19 vs. 17.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Taurus has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The ES Series doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Taurus’ brake rotors are larger than those on the ES Series:

 

Taurus

ES Series

Front Rotors

13.86 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.58 inches

11 inches

The Taurus SHO’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the ES Series are solid, not vented.

The Taurus stops much shorter than the ES Series:

 

Taurus

ES Series

 

70 to 0 MPH

168 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Taurus has larger standard tires than the ES Series (235/60R17 vs. 215/55R17). The Taurus Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ES Series (255/45R19 vs. 225/45R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Taurus offers optional 20-inch wheels. The ES Series’ largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Taurus has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The ES Series doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Taurus SHO’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The ES Series doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Taurus’ wheelbase is 1.9 inches longer than on the ES Series (112.9 inches vs. 111 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Taurus is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 3.5 inches wider in the rear than on the ES Series.

The Taurus SHO handles at .86 G’s, while the ES 300h pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Taurus SHO executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the ES 350 (26.8 seconds @ .7 average G’s vs. 28.5 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

Chassis

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Taurus has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The ES Series uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The front grille of the Taurus (except SHO) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The ES Series doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Taurus is rated a Large car by the EPA, while the ES Series is rated a Mid-size.

The Taurus has 2.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ES Series (102.2 vs. 100.1).

The Taurus has 1.5 inches more front headroom, 2.3 inches more front legroom, 1.5 inches more front hip room, .3 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 2 inches more rear hip room and 1.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the ES Series.

Cargo Capacity

The Taurus has a much larger trunk than the ES 350 (20.1 vs. 15.2 cubic feet).

The Taurus’ standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The ES Series doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Towing

The Taurus has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The ES Series has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The Taurus has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The ES Series doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the Taurus and the ES Series have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Taurus is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The ES Series prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Taurus’ exterior PIN entry system. The ES Series doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Taurus’ power mirror controls are mounted on the door for easy access. The ES Series’ power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

Both the Taurus and the ES Series offer available heated front seats. The Taurus Limited/SHO also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the ES Series.

The Taurus Limited/SHO’s optional Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The ES Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Taurus owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Taurus will cost $1290 less than the ES Series over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Taurus is less expensive to operate than the ES Series because typical repairs cost much less on the Taurus than the ES Series, including $90 less for a starter, $216 less for fuel injection, $92 less for a fuel pump, $696 less for front struts and $747 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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