2020 Lexus ES Series vs. 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia

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 Alfa Romeo Giulia doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Lexus ES Series are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Alfa Romeo Giulia doesn’t offer height-adjustable 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 Giulia 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 Giulia 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 Giulia 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.

Both the ES Series and the Giulia have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 and rear cross-path warning.

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 vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the ES Series its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Giulia has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the ES Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Alfa Romeo covers the Giulia. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Giulia ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The ES Series’ corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Giulia’s (6 vs. 4 years).

There are over 54 percent more Lexus dealers than there are Alfa Romeo dealers, which makes it much 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 71 points higher than the Giulia.

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 Alfa Romeo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Alfa Romeo is ranked 29th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Alfa Romeo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Alfa Romeo is ranked 29th.

Engine

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The ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 22 more horsepower (302 vs. 280) than the Giulia’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the ES 300h gets better fuel mileage than the Giulia RWD (43 city/44 hwy vs. 24 city/33 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the ES Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Giulia 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 Giulia 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 Alfa Romeo Giulia (3). This means the ES Series produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Giulia 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 Giulia doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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The ES Series stops shorter than the Giulia:

ES Series

Giulia

60 to 0 MPH

132 feet

136 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

139 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the ES Series’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Giulia (235/45R18 vs. 225/40R19).

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 Giulia; 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 a smoother ride and more stable handling, the ES Series’ wheelbase is 2 inches longer than on the Giulia (113 inches vs. 111 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the ES Series is 1.5 inches wider in the front than the track on the Giulia.

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 Giulia doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The ES Series has 4.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Giulia (99.9 vs. 95.4).

The ES Series has .2 inches more rear headroom, 4.1 inches more rear legroom, .6 inches more rear hip room and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Giulia.

Cargo Capacity

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The ES Series has a much larger trunk than the Giulia (16.7 vs. 12 cubic feet).

With its sedan body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the ES Series offers cargo security. The Giulia’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 Giulia doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

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 Giulia doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the Giulia 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 Alfa Romeo Giulia’s Keyless-Go doesn’t unlock the trunk.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the ES Series and manual rear side window sunshades are standard in the ES Series Ultra Luxury to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Giulia doesn’t offer a rear or rear side window sunshades.

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 Giulia’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 Giulia doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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 $700 less than the Giulia 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 Giulia only retains 34.65% to 38.01%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus ES Series will be $5757 to $15631 less than for the Alfa Romeo Giulia.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/05/28

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

The Lexus ES Series outsold the Alfa Romeo Giulia by almost six to one during 2019.

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

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