2020 Lexus ES Series vs. 2019 Infiniti Q50

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 Infiniti Q50 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 Q50 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 Q50 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the ES Series and the Q50 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, 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 Infiniti Q50:

ES Series

Q50

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

120

225

Neck Injury Risk

24%

24%

Neck Compression

30 lbs.

45 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

3 Stars

Chest Compression

.8 inches

1 inches

Neck Injury Risk

33%

48%

Neck Compression

62 lbs.

85 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 Q50 has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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There are over 12 percent more Lexus dealers than there are Infiniti dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the ES Series’ warranty.

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 40 points higher than the Q50.

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 Infiniti vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Infiniti is ranked 19th, 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 Infiniti vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Infiniti is ranked 11th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Infiniti vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Infiniti is ranked 6th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the ES Series gets better fuel mileage than the Q50:

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

Q50

RWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

3.0t 3.0 turbo V6

20 city/29 hwy

Red Sport 400 3.0 turbo V6

20 city/26 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

3.0t 3.0 turbo V6

19 city/27 hwy

Red Sport 400 3.0 turbo V6

19 city/26 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the ES Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Q50 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 Q50 requires premium, 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 Infiniti Q50 (3). This means the ES Series produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Q50 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 seven-speed automatic is available for the Q50.

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 Q50 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Suspension and Handling

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For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the ES Series is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Q50.

Chassis

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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 Q50 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The ES Series has 1.8 inches more front hip room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 4.1 inches more rear legroom and 1.8 inches more rear hip room than the Q50.

Cargo Capacity

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The ES Series has a much larger trunk than the Q50 (16.7 vs. 13.2 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 Q50 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 Infiniti. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 3% lower rating, Infiniti is ranked fourth.

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 Q50 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 Q50’s parking brake has to released manually.

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 Q50’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Marginal.”

A power rear sunshade is optional in the ES Series to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Q50 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

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 Q50 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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 Q50 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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 $725 less than the Q50 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 Q50 only retains 36.99% to 46.1%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the ES Series is less expensive to operate than the Q50 because it costs $18 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the ES Series than the Q50, including $104 less for a muffler, $28 less for a fuel pump, $89 less for front struts and $21 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus ES Series will be $2385 to $18513 less than for the Infiniti Q50.

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 2019/10/15

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus ES Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Infiniti Q50 isn't recommended.

The Lexus ES Series outsold the Infiniti Q50 by 39% during 2018.

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

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