2020 Lexus ES Series vs. 2019 Cadillac CTS

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 2019/10/23

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 Cadillac CTS 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 CTS 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.

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 CTS doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the ES Series and the CTS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, around view monitors 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 Cadillac CTS:

ES Series

CTS

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

120

204

Neck Injury Risk

24%

25%

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

319

328

Neck Injury Risk

33%

45%

Neck Stress

159 lbs.

200 lbs.

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

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Lexus ES Series is safer than the CTS:

ES Series

CTS

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

175

183

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

1 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Femur Force R/L

.7/1 kN

5.9/3.7 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

14%/1%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia forces R/L

2.4/1.5 kN

5.7/7.8 kN

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 CTS was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Reliability

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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 50 points higher than the CTS.

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 Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 17th, 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 Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 60 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 23rd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Cadillac is ranked 28th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

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

CTS

RWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/29 hwy

3.6 turbo V6

16 city/24 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/26 hwy

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

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Lexus ES Series uses regular unleaded gasoline. The CTS V-Sport requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

© 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 2019/10/23

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 Cadillac CTS (3 to 5). This means the ES Series produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the CTS 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 CTS doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

© 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 2019/10/23

The ES Series stops shorter than the CTS:

ES Series

CTS

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

139 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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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 CTS; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the ES Series is 1.3 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the CTS.

Passenger Space

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The ES Series has 2.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CTS (99.9 vs. 97).

The ES Series has 1.2 inches more front hip room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 3.8 inches more rear legroom and 1 inch more rear hip room than the CTS.

Cargo Capacity

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The ES Series has a much larger trunk than the CTS (16.7 vs. 13.7 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 CTS doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

© 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 2019/10/23

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Cadillac. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 1% lower rating, Cadillac is ranked third.

Ergonomics

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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 CTS can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 CTS’ headlights are rated “Poor.”

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the ES Series owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the ES Series will cost $230 less than the CTS over a five-year period.

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 CTS only retains 30.06% to 37.42%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the ES Series is less expensive to operate than the CTS because it costs $306 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the ES Series than the CTS, including $728 less for a muffler, $71 less for front brake pads and $420 less for a fuel pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus ES Series will be $16962 to $36130 less than for the Cadillac CTS.

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 2019/10/23

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus ES Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Cadillac CTS isn't recommended.

The Lexus ES Series outsold the Cadillac CTS by over four to one during 2018.

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

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