2020 Lexus ES Series vs. 2019 Ford Taurus

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 Ford Taurus doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The ES Series has a standard Pre-Collision System, which uses forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Taurus offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

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 Taurus 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 Taurus doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Lexus ES Series has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Taurus doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The ES Series offers an optional Panoramic View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Taurus only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the ES Series and the Taurus 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, 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 Ford Taurus:

ES Series

Taurus

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

120

182

Neck Injury Risk

24%

31%

Neck Stress

239 lbs.

313 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 Taurus:

ES Series

Taurus

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

4 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.47/.55

1.19/.41

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

Warranty

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The ES Series comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Taurus’ 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the ES Series 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Ford covers the Taurus. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Taurus ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

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

Reliability

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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 Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 40 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Ford is ranked 18th.

Engine

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The ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 14 more horsepower (302 vs. 288) and 13 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 254) than the Taurus’ standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Consumer Reports the ES 350 is faster than the Ford Taurus V6:

ES Series

Taurus

Zero to 60 MPH

6.9 sec

7.2 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.2 sec

5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

15.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

95.2 MPH

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 Taurus:

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

Taurus

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

18 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.5 DOHC V6

17 city/24 hwy

SHO 3.5 turbo V6

16 city/24 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the ES Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Taurus 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 Taurus 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 Taurus SHO requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

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 Ford Taurus (3). This means the ES Series produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Taurus every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus ES Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Taurus.

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 Taurus doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

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The ES Series’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Taurus SE’s standard 60 series tires. The ES Series’ optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Taurus Limited’s 45 series tires.

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 Taurus’ suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For better maneuverability, the ES Series’ turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Taurus SHO’s (38 feet vs. 39.4 feet). The ES Series w/18-19” wheels’ turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Taurus’ (38.8 feet vs. 39.5 feet).

Chassis

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The Lexus ES Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 600 pounds less than the Ford Taurus.

The ES Series is 7 inches shorter than the Taurus, making the ES Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Lexus ES Series amounts to more than styling. The ES Series offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .26 to .29 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is significantly lower than the Taurus (.32 to .33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the ES Series get better fuel mileage.

The ES Series F Sport uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Taurus doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Cargo Capacity

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With its sedan body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the ES Series offers cargo security. The Taurus’ non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

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 Taurus 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 Ford. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 70% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

Ergonomics

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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 Taurus 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 Taurus’ parking brake has to released manually.

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 Taurus’ passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

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 Taurus 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 Taurus’ headlights are rated “Poor.”

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the ES Series has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Taurus 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.

The ES Series’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford only offers heated mirrors on the Taurus SEL/Limited/SHO.

When the ES Series with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Taurus’ mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The ES Series has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Taurus SEL/Limited/SHO.

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 Taurus doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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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 Taurus only retains 35.57% to 41.38%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the ES Series is less expensive to operate than the Taurus because it costs $45 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the ES Series than the Taurus, including $175 less for a water pump and $262 less for a muffler.

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 Ford Taurus, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lexus ES Series outsold the Ford Taurus by 34% during 2018.

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

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