2019 Honda Accord vs. 2018 Lexus ES Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Accord deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Accord’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The ES Series’ side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The Accord’s 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 Accord and the ES Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

There are over 4 times as many Honda dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Accord’s warranty.

Engine

The Accord’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 25 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 248) than the ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Honda Accord 1.5T is faster than the ES 300h (automatics tested):

 

Accord

ES Series

Zero to 30 MPH

3.1 sec

3.4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.7 sec

8.2 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5 sec

5.2 sec

Quarter Mile

16.1 sec

16.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91 MPH

89.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Accord gets better fuel mileage than the ES 350:

 

 

Accord

ES Series

 

 

Sport 1.5 turbo 4 cyl./Manual

26 city/35 hwy

n/a

 

 

Sport 2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Manual

22 city/32 hwy

n/a

 

 

1.5 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

30 city/38 hwy

n/a

 

 

Sport/Touring 1.5 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

29 city/35 hwy

n/a

 

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

23 city/34 hwy

21 city/30 hwy

V6/Auto

 

Sport/Touring 2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

22 city/32 hwy

n/a

 

The Accord 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.

Transmission

The Accord offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The ES Series doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Accord 2.0T/Sport/Touring’s brake rotors are larger than those on the ES Series:

 

Accord

ES Series

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.1 inches

11 inches

The Accord stops much shorter than the ES Series:

 

Accord

ES Series

 

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

109 feet

132 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

142 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Accord has larger standard tires than the ES Series (225/50R17 vs. 215/55R17). The Accord Sport/Touring’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ES Series (235/40R19 vs. 225/45R18).

The Accord’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ES Series’ standard 55 series tires. The Accord Sport/Touring’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the ES Series’ optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Accord Sport/Touring has standard 19-inch wheels. The ES Series’ largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Accord 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 ES Series’ suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Accord 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 Accord’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 better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Accord is .2 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the ES Series.

The Accord Sport handles at .90 G’s, while the ES 300h pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Accord Sport executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.1 seconds quicker than the ES 350 (26.4 seconds @ .67 average G’s vs. 28.5 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

Chassis

The Honda Accord may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 450 pounds less than the Lexus ES Series.

The front grille of the Accord EX 1.5T/EX-L 1.5T 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.

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

Passenger Space

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

The Accord has 5.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ES Series (105.6 vs. 100.1).

The Accord has 2 inches more front headroom, .4 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more front hip room, .7 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear legroom, 1.2 inches more rear hip room and 1.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the ES Series.

Cargo Capacity

The Accord has a much larger trunk than the ES 350 (16.7 vs. 15.2 cubic feet).

The Accord’s 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 Accord 2.0L Turbo offers up to a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The ES Series has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Accord 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 ES Series doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

Consumer Reports rated the Accord’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the ES Series’ headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The Accord’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest 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 Accord and the ES Series offer available heated front seats. The Accord Touring 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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Accord owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Accord will cost $255 to $4050 less than the ES Series over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Accord is less expensive to operate than the ES Series because it costs $342 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Accord than the ES Series, including $81 less for a water pump, $59 less for a muffler, $30 less for front brake pads, $10 less for a starter, $195 less for front struts, $1079 less for a timing belt/chain and $333 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda Accord will be $5153 to $14109 less than for the Lexus ES Series.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Honda Accord and the Lexus ES Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Accord was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 22 of the last 24 years. The ES Series has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Accord 2.0T Sport was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2018. The ES hasn’t been picked since 1991.

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Accord as the 2018 North American Car of the Year. The ES Series has never been chosen.

The Honda Accord outsold the Lexus ES Series by over six to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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