2020 Lexus ES Series vs. 2019 Buick LaCrosse

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 Buick LaCrosse 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 LaCrosse 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 LaCrosse 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 LaCrosse 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.

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 LaCrosse doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the ES Series and the LaCrosse have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

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 Buick LaCrosse:

ES Series

LaCrosse

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

120

220

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

319

320

Neck Injury Risk

33%

34.8%

Neck Stress

159 lbs.

195 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, results indicate that the Lexus ES Series is safer than the Buick LaCrosse:

ES Series

LaCrosse

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

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 LaCrosse was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Reliability

© 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

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the ES Series’ reliability 29 points higher than the LaCrosse.

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 Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 11th.

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 Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked fifth.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Buick is ranked 19th.

Engine

© 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

The ES 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 21 more horsepower (215 vs. 194) than the LaCrosse’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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

On the EPA test cycle the ES Series gets better fuel mileage than the LaCrosse:

MPG

ES Series

FWD

2.5 4-cyl. Hybrid

43 city/44 hwy

3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/32 hwy

F Sport 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/31 hwy

LaCrosse

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4-cyl. Hybrid

25 city/35 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6

20 city/30 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

20 city/29 hwy

Transmission

© 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

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 LaCrosse doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the ES Series’ standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the LaCrosse:

ES Series

LaCrosse

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.8 inches

Passenger Space

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The ES Series has .4 inches more front legroom, .2 inches more front hip room, .6 inches more rear headroom and 1.2 inches more rear legroom than the LaCrosse.

Cargo Capacity

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The ES Series has a much larger trunk than the LaCrosse (16.7 vs. 15 cubic feet). The ES Series has a much larger trunk than the LaCrosse eAssist (16.7 vs. 14.3 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the ES Series. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

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 LaCrosse doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

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

Ergonomics

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

If the windows are left open on the ES Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (Your Lexus service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the LaCrosse can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Smart Access standard on the ES Series allows you to unlock the doors, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Buick LaCrosse’s Keyless Access doesn’t unlock the trunk.

The ES Series’ optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The LaCrosse’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 LaCrosse’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 LaCrosse doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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 LaCrosse is rated higher at a number “5” 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 LaCrosse only retains 30.31% to 36.47%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the ES Series is less expensive to operate than the LaCrosse because it costs $391 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the ES Series than the LaCrosse, including $33 less for a water pump, $98 less for a muffler, $89 less for front brake pads, $15 less for a fuel pump and $316 less for front struts.

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 both the Lexus ES Series and the Buick LaCrosse, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lexus ES Series outsold the Buick LaCrosse by over three to one during 2018.

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

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