2020 Lexus ES Series vs. 2020 Cadillac CT4

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 Cadillac CT4 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 Cadillac CT4 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 CT4 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 offers an optional Panoramic View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The CT4 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.

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 CT4 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the ES Series and the CT4 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, 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 CT4 has not been tested, yet.

Reliability

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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 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Cadillac is ranked 30th.

Engine

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The ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 65 more horsepower (302 vs. 237) and 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 258) than the CT4’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the ES Series gets better fuel mileage than the CT4:

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

CT4

RWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

2.7 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/30 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/32 hwy

2.7 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the ES Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The CT4 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 CT4 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

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 CT4 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the ES Series’ standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the CT4:

ES Series

CT4

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.8 inches

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 CT4; 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. Some tire options on the CT4 don’t have a run-flat feature, either.

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 CT4’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the ES Series’ wheelbase is 3.7 inches longer than on the CT4 (113 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the ES Series is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the CT4.

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 CT4 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the ES Series a Mid-size car, while the CT4 is rated a Compact.

The ES Series has 9.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CT4 (99.9 vs. 90).

The ES Series has 2 inches more front hip room, .7 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, 5.8 inches more rear legroom, 1.8 inches more rear hip room and .4 inches more rear shoulder room than the CT4.

Cargo Capacity

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The ES Series has a much larger trunk than the CT4 (16.7 vs. 10.7 cubic feet).

With its sedan body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the ES Series offers cargo security. The CT4’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the ES Series’ trunk can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The CT4 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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The ES Series uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The CT4 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

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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The ES Series’ front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The CT4’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

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 CT4 can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The CT4 Premium Luxury/Sport’s optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The ES Series’ optional adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

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 CT4 doesn’t offer a rear or rear side window sunshades.

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 2020/06/04

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus ES Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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