2020 Lexus RC vs. 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The RC’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 718 Cayman doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The RC offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The 718 Cayman doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The RC’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The 718 Cayman doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

To help make backing safer, the RC’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 718 Cayman doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The RC’s 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 718 Cayman doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the RC and the 718 Cayman have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

The Lexus RC weighs 538 to 859 pounds more than the Porsche 718 Cayman. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RC the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 202 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 718 Cayman has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RC 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Porsche covers the 718 Cayman. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the 718 Cayman ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 26 percent more Lexus dealers than there are Porsche dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the RC’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the RC has a standard 580-amp battery. The 718 Cayman’s 340-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 Porsche vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Porsche is ranked 15th, 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 Porsche vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Porsche is ranked second.

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

Fuel Economy and Range

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The RC has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the 718 Cayman’s standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 14.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Lexus RC higher (5 out of 10) than the Porsche 718 Cayman (3). This means the RC produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 718 Cayman every 15,000 miles.

Transmission and Drivetrain

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The Lexus RC comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the 718 Cayman.

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus RC, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the 718 Cayman.

All-wheel drive, available in the RC, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all-wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The Porsche 718 Cayman is not available with all-wheel drive.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the RC’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the 718 Cayman:

RC

718 Cayman

Front Rotors

13.2 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.8 inches

Tires and Wheels

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The RC 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 718 Cayman; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RC’s wheelbase is 10.1 inches longer than on the 718 Cayman (107.5 inches vs. 97.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the RC is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the 718 Cayman.

For better maneuverability, the RC’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the 718 Cayman’s (34.2 feet vs. 36.1 feet). The RC AWD’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the 718 Cayman GT4’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.5 feet).

Passenger Space

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The RC has standard seating for 4 passengers; the 718 Cayman can only carry 2.

The RC has 35.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 718 Cayman (83.8 vs. 48).

The RC has 3.2 inches more front legroom and 3.4 inches more front shoulder room than the 718 Cayman.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the RC easier. The RC’s trunk lift-over height is 27.6 inches, while the 718 Cayman’s liftover is 32.7 inches.

With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the RC offers cargo security. The 718 Cayman’s hatchback body style and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

Ergonomics

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The RC has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 718 Cayman doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The RC’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them, but the driver can still raise and lower both of them with the lock engaged. Porsche does not offer a locking feature on the 718 Cayman’s power windows.

If the front windows are left open on the RC the driver can close them 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 718 Cayman can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the RC has standard extendable sun visors. The 718 Cayman doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The RC 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 718 Cayman.

Economic Advantages

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IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus RC will be $5411 to $7379 less than for the Porsche 718 Cayman.

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 2020/05/29

The Lexus RC outsold the Porsche 718 by 18% during 2019.

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