2019 Ford Mustang vs. 2018 Lexus RC

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The Mustang’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 RC doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Mustang and the RC have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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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 Mustang’s warranty.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Mustang’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the RC 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.’s camshafts. If the RC’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

The Mustang 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 RC 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 rated the Mustang first among midsize sporty cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The RC isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 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 fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lexus is ranked 8th.

Engine

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The Mustang has more powerful engines than the RC:

 

Horsepower

Torque

Mustang 2.3 turbo 4 cyl.

310 HP

350 lbs.-ft.

Mustang GT 5.0 DOHC V8

460 HP

420 lbs.-ft.

Mustang BULLITT 5.0 DOHC V8

480 HP

420 lbs.-ft.

RC 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

241 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

RC 300 AWD 3.5 DOHC V6

260 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

RC 350 3.5 DOHC V6

311 HP

280 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

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To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Ford Mustang uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The RC requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Mustang 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 RC doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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The Mustang offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The RC doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

A 10-speed automatic is available on the Ford Mustang, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the RC.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Mustang GT’s brake rotors are larger than those on the RC:

 

Mustang GT

Mustang GT opt.

RC

RC F Sport

Front Rotors

13.9 inches

15 inches

13.2 inches

14 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13 inches

12.2 inches

12.2 inches

The Mustang stops much shorter than the RC:

 

Mustang

RC

 

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Mustang Premium’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the RC (265/35R20 vs. 235/40R19).

The Mustang Premium’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the RC’s optional 40 series front tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Mustang Premium offers optional 20-inch wheels. The RC’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Mustang is .2 inches wider in the front and 2.7 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the RC.

The Mustang GT Premium Fastback handles at .96 G’s, while the RC 350 pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

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

The Mustang uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The RC doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Mustang Fastback has 1 inch more front hip room, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.7 inches more rear legroom, 2.5 inches more rear hip room and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the RC.

Cargo Capacity

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The Mustang Fastback has a much larger trunk than the RC (13.5 vs. 10.4 cubic feet).

Towing

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The Mustang has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The RC has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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The Mustang Auto offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The RC doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Mustang’s standard 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 RC’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Model Availability

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The Ford Mustang comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Lexus RC isn’t available as a convertible.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Mustang owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Mustang with a number “3” insurance rate while the RC is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Mustang is less expensive to operate than the RC because it costs $198 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Mustang than the RC, including $377 less for a water pump, $597 less for a starter, $364 less for fuel injection, $275 less for a fuel pump, $131 less for front struts, $525 less for a timing belt/chain and $244 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/07/13

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Mustang third among midsize sporty cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The RC isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Ford Mustang outsold the Lexus RC by over 11 to one during 2017.

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