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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 Camry doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the ES Series and the Camry have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, 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 Toyota Camry:
New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.
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 Camry’s 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 Toyota covers the Camry. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Camry ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.
The ES Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Camry’s (6 vs. 5 years).
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 Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked second.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Toyota vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Toyota is ranked second.
The ES Series has more powerful engines than the Camry:
ES 300h 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl. hybrid
ES 350 3.5 DOHC V6
Camry 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.
Camry XSE 2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.
Camry XSE/XLE 3.5 DOHC V6
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Lexus ES Series uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Camry V6 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
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 Camry doesn’t offer a CVT.
For better traction, the ES Series has larger standard tires than the Camry (215/55R17 vs. 205/65R16).
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 Camry L’s standard 65 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the ES Series has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Camry L.
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 Camry’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The ES Series has variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Camry doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the ES Series’ wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the Camry (113 inches vs. 111.2 inches).
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 Camry doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The ES Series has .3 inches more front legroom and 1.2 inches more rear legroom than the Camry.
The ES Series has a much larger trunk than the Camry (16.7 vs. 15.1 cubic feet).
With its sedan body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the ES Series offers cargo security. The Camry’s non-lockable remote release defeats 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 Camry doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 41% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 14th.
When three different drivers share the ES Series, the optional memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle. The Camry doesn’t offer a memory system.
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 Camry doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The ES Series’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Camry’s parking brake has to released manually.
The ES Series’ optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Camry’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the ES Series has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Camry 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 Camry doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.
The ES Series’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Camry and aren’t offered on the Camry L.
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 Camry’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
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 Camry 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 Camry 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 Camry doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
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 costs extra on the Camry and isn’t available on the Camry L.
The ES Series’ standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Camry L doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.
Both the ES Series and the Camry 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 Camry doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
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 Camry is rated higher at a number “5” rate.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the ES Series is less expensive to operate than the Camry because typical repairs cost less on the ES Series than the Camry, including $56 less for a water pump, $20 less for a starter, $28 less for fuel injection and $9 less for a fuel pump.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the Lexus ES Series and the Toyota Camry, based on reliability, safety and performance.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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