2019 Lexus RXL vs. 2019 Audi e-tron

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The RXL has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The e-tron doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The RXL offers optional Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The e-tron doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Full-time four-wheel drive is optional on the RXL. Full-time four-wheel drive gives added traction for safety in all conditions, not just off-road, like the only system available on the e-tron.

Both the RXL and the e-tron have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, 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, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RXL the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 104 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The e-tron has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RXL 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the e-tron. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the e-tron ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the RXL second among midsize premium SUVs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The e-tron 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 Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 8th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Audi is ranked 7th.

Fuel Economy and Range

The RX 350L’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel is 499.2 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The e-tron’s range is only 204 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only an 80% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 9 hours.

Tires and Wheels

The RXL has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the e-tron; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the RXL’s turning circle is 1.2 feet tighter than the e-tron’s (38.8 feet vs. 40 feet).

Passenger Space

The RXL has standard seating for 7 passengers; the e-tron can only carry 5.

The RXL has .6 inches more front legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the e-tron.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the RXL’s middle and third row seats recline. The e-tron’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The RXL’s cargo area provides more volume than the e-tron.

RXL

e-tron

Third Seat Folded

33.4 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

28.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

70.7 cubic feet

57 cubic feet

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 24% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the RXL has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the e-tron only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the RXL detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The e-tron doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

On extremely cold winter days, the RXL’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The e-tron doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The RXL offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The e-tron doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

The RXL is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The e-tron doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus RXL, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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