2020 Lexus ES Series vs. 2019 Acura ILX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/10/16

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus ES Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Acura ILX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The ES Series has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The ILX doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The ES Series offers optional Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The ILX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The ES Series offers an optional Panoramic View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The ILX only offers a rear monitor.

The ES Series’ 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 ILX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the ES Series and the ILX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 and rear cross-path warning.

The Lexus ES Series weighs 501 to 609 pounds more than the Acura ILX. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

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

ES Series

ILX

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

120

227

Neck Injury Risk

24%

26%

Neck Stress

239 lbs.

257 lbs.

Neck Compression

30 lbs.

56 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

33%

40%

Neck Stress

159 lbs.

166 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

473/518 lbs.

768/623 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 and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the ES Series its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The ILX was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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The ES Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the ILX’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th, 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 Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 65 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Acura is ranked 13th.

Engine

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The ES 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 14 more horsepower (215 vs. 201) than the ILX’s 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder. The ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 101 more horsepower (302 vs. 201) and 87 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 180) than the ILX’s 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the ES 300h gets better fuel mileage than the ILX (43 city/44 hwy vs. 24 city/34 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the ES Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The ILX doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the ES Series Hybrid’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The ILX doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Lexus ES Series uses regular unleaded gasoline. The ILX requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The ES Series’ standard fuel tank has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the ILX (15.9 vs. 13.2 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Lexus ES Series higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Acura ILX (3). This means the ES Series produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the ILX every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The ES 300h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The ILX doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the ES Series’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ILX (235/45R18 vs. 225/40R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the ES Series offers optional 19-inch wheels. The ILX’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

The ES Series 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 ILX; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the ES Series’ wheelbase is 7.9 inches longer than on the ILX (113 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the ES Series is 3.4 inches wider in the front and 2.9 inches wider in the rear than the track on the ILX.

The ES Series’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (59% to 41%) than the ILX’s (63% to 37%). This gives the ES Series more stable handling and braking.

Passenger Space

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

The ES Series has 10.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ILX (99.9 vs. 89.3).

The ES Series has .1 inches more front legroom, 4.7 inches more front hip room, .3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear headroom, 5.2 inches more rear legroom, 2.6 inches more rear hip room and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the ILX.

Cargo Capacity

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The ES Series has a much larger trunk than the ILX (16.7 vs. 12.4 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the ES Series’ power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The ILX doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

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The ES Series uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The ILX uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Acura. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 15% lower rating, Acura is ranked 6th.

Ergonomics

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The ES Series’ optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The ILX doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The ES Series offers an optional 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 ILX doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The ES Series’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The ILX has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The ES Series’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The ILX’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The ES Series’ optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The ILX’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The ES Series’ headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the ILX’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

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

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the ES Series has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The ILX doesn’t offer cornering lights. The ES Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the ES Series to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The ILX doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The ES Series has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The ILX offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the ES Series keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The ILX doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the ES Series’ optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The ILX doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Both the ES Series and the ILX offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the ES Series has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The ILX doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Lexus ES Series offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The ILX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the ES Series owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the ES Series with a number “1” insurance rate while the ILX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

The ES Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the ES Series will retain 48.23% to 49.19% of its original price after five years, while the ILX only retains 36.22% to 38.53%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the ES Series is less expensive to operate than the ILX because typical repairs cost less on the ES Series than the ILX, including $70 less for a starter, $65 less for fuel injection and $69 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/10/16

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

The Lexus ES Series outsold the Acura ILX by over four to one during 2018.

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

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