2020 Lexus ES Series vs. 2020 Ford Fusion Plug-In Hybrid

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

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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid 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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid 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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the ES Series and the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front 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, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, 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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid:

ES Series

Fusion Plug-In Hybrid

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

120

143

Neck Injury Risk

24%

26%

Neck Compression

30 lbs.

38 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Lexus ES Series is safer than the Ford Fusion Plug-In Hybrid:

ES Series

Fusion Plug-In Hybrid

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid’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 Ford covers the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The ES Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid’s (6 vs. 5 years).

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 30 points higher than the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid.

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 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 20 more horsepower (215 vs. 195) than the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the ES 300h gets better fuel mileage than the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid running its gasoline engine (43 city/44 hwy vs. 43 city/41 hwy).

The ES Series’ standard fuel tank has 1.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid (15.9 vs. 14 gallons).

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the ES Series’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid (235/45R18 vs. 225/50R17).

The ES Series’ optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the ES Series offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Fusion Plug-In Hybrid’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the ES Series is .5 inches wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid.

Chassis

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The Lexus ES Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 350 pounds less than the Ford Fusion Plug-In Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

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The ES Series has a much larger trunk than the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid (16.7 vs. 8.2 cubic feet).

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

Servicing Ease

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The ES Series uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Fusion Plug-In Hybrid 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 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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid’s 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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid 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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid only retains 33.66%.

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 the Lexus ES Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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