2020 Lexus RX Series vs. 2019 Mercedes E-Class Wagon

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The RX Series has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The RX Series offers optional Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the RX Series and the E-Class Wagon have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Lexus RX Series is safer than the Mercedes E-Class Wagon:

RX Series

E-Class Wagon

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

53

132

Chest Movement

.7 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

110 G’s

149 G’s

Hip Force

214 lbs.

223 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

165

215

Spine Acceleration

44 G’s

46 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

275

326

Hip Force

685 lbs.

836 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 104 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The E-Class Wagon has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RX Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the E-Class Wagon. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the E-Class Wagon ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The RX Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the E-Class Wagon’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the RX Series first among midsize premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The E-Class Wagon isn’t in the top three in its category.

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 Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 12th, 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 Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Mercedes is ranked 17th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the RX 450h gets better fuel mileage than the E-Class Wagon (31 city/28 hwy vs. 19 city/26 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the RX Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Environmental Friendliness

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Lexus RX Series at emission levels ranging from “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) to “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Mercedes E-Class Wagon is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Transmission

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The RX 450h 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 E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

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For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RX Series offers optional 20-inch wheels. The E-Class Wagon’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

The RX 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 E-Class Wagon; 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 better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RX Series is 1.7 inches wider in the front and .6 inches wider in the rear than on the E-Class Wagon.

Passenger Space

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The RX Series has 1.9 inches more front headroom, 2.6 inches more front legroom, 2.2 inches more rear legroom and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the E-Class Wagon.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the RX Series’ rear seats recline. The E-Class Wagon’s middle row seats don’t recline.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 11% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked fifth.

Ergonomics

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The RX Series’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The E-Class Wagon’s parking brake has to released manually.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the RX Series has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the E-Class Wagon only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Both the RX Series and the E-Class Wagon offer optional heated front seats. The RX Series also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the E-Class Wagon.

Model Availability

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The RX Series is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the RX Series owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RX Series will cost $1570 to $4400 less than the E-Class Wagon over a five-year period.

The RX Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the RX Series will retain 46.6% to 51.56% of its original price after five years, while the E-Class Wagon only retains 43.65%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RX Series is less expensive to operate than the E-Class Wagon because it costs $118 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RX Series than the E-Class Wagon, including $449 less for a muffler, $114 less for a starter, $208 less for fuel injection, $24 less for a fuel pump and $178 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus RX Series will be $18674 to $24126 less than for the Mercedes E-Class Wagon.

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 2019/10/18

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

The Lexus RX Series outsold the Mercedes E-Class by 83% during 2018.

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