2019 Mazda 6 vs. 2018 Lexus ES Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Mazda 6 Signature has a standard 360-degree View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The ES Series only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Mazda 6 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems and rearview cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Mazda 6 is safer than the Lexus ES Series:

 

Mazda 6

ES Series

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

130

153

Neck Injury Risk

23%

39%

Neck Stress

266 lbs.

388 lbs.

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

45 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

43/70 lbs.

446/567 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

249

304

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.4 inches

Neck Compression

107 lbs.

147 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

335/150 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 Mazda 6 is safer than the Lexus ES Series:

 

Mazda 6

ES Series

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.3 inches

Hip Force

437 lbs.

510 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

380 lbs.

669 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

16 inches

Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

44 G’s

Hip Force

671 lbs.

879 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Mazda 6 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 62 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The ES Series has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

There are over 2 times as many Mazda dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 6’s warranty.

Engine

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 62 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 248) than the ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Mazda 6 (base engine) is faster than the ES 300h:

 

Mazda6

ES Series

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

7.7 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

20 sec

20.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.2 sec

8.1 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.5 sec

4.2 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.9 sec

5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

16 sec

Top Speed

135 MPH

117 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature turbo 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the ES 350 (23 city/31 hwy vs. 21 city/30 hwy).

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Mazda 6 (except Turbo)’s fuel efficiency. The ES Series doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Mazda 6 Touring/Signature’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the ES Series:

 

Mazda6 Turbo

Accord

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

The Mazda 6 stops much shorter than the ES Series:

 

Mazda 6

ES Series

 

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

132 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Mazda 6 has larger tires than the ES Series (225/55R17 vs. 215/55R17).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature has standard 19-inch wheels. The ES Series’ largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Mazda 6 has engine 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 Mazda 6 Touring handles at .87 G’s, while the ES 300h pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the ES 350 (27.1 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.5 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Mazda 6’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the ES Series’ (36.7 feet vs. 37.4 feet).

Chassis

The Mazda 6 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 100 to 350 pounds less than the Lexus ES Series.

The Mazda 6 (except Sport) offers available 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

The Mazda 6 has .9 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front legroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the ES Series.

Cargo Capacity

The Mazda 6’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.

Ergonomics

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve and Signature have 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.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The ES Series doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Mazda 6’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The ES Series’ power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

Both the Mazda 6 and the ES Series offer available heated front seats. The Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature 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

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Mazda 6 is less expensive to operate than the ES Series because it costs $47 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Mazda 6 than the ES Series, including $177 less for a water pump, $154 less for a muffler, $5 less for front brake pads, $289 less for a starter, $219 less for front struts, $953 less for a timing belt/chain and $722 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda 6 and the Lexus ES Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Mazda 6 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 6 years. The ES Series has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

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

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