Is It Really Worth Upgrading to a Lexus from a Toyota?

Established in the late ’80s as a luxury option for Toyota drivers, Lexus continues to hold its own in a market saturated with luxury vehicles. However, as basic Toyota models begin to incorporate more advanced, high-end features, you may wonder whether it’s really worth paying more to upgrade to a Lexus. According to an analysis from U.S. News, Lexus does still beat Toyota when it comes to overall luxury and performance — but there are some other areas where Toyota really shines.

When should you upgrade to a Lexus?

In the Battle of the Brands comparison conducted by U.S. News, Lexus beat Toyota in five of the 13 categories: performance, interior, safety, subcompact SUV, and midsize SUV. The two brands tied in the midsize 4×4 SUV category.

Although Lexus won in fewer than half the categories, U.S. News still declared it the overall winner between the two. This is largely because the luxury brand did so well in the key areas of safety and performance. In the latter, Lexus vehicles tend to offer superior handling, outshining even the sportiest Toyota models.

Lexus also surpasses Toyota when it comes to interior design. While both brands provide generally attractive cabins, Lexus vehicles consistently feature high-end materials, comfortable seating, and a more luxurious feel.

Overall, the Lexus brand favors comfort, upscale interiors, and overall performance. It may be worth upgrading if you have a larger budget and want a vehicle that offers a luxurious driving experience without sacrificing performance. The upgrade is particularly worthwhile if you’re shopping for a sports car or an SUV as Lexus receives consistently high scores in these categories.

When are you better off with a Toyota?

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Toyota beat Lexus in a majority of the categories: price, fuel economy, compact cars and SUVs, midsize cars, and large cars and SUVs. As evidenced by this list, the areas where Toyota takes the lead are slightly more practical. Although the luxury brand does offer some competitively priced options, the Toyota lineup is consistently affordable with more options when it comes to different models.

Toyota also wins in the fuel economy category largely because of the fuel efficient Prius. This brand has an exceptional range of hybrid vehicles for anyone on the hunt for efficient mileage.

While it’s often worth upgrading to a Lexus, there are plenty of reasons why you might choose to stick with a Toyota. The two brands are strikingly close to each other when it comes to comfort and performance. Although Lexus may have edged ahead, Toyota offers a more practical, affordable range of vehicles in a variety of different styles.

Your best options

While these two brands display quite a few similarities, there is one difference particularly worth noting: Lexus generally wins in the various SUV categories while Toyota outshines Lexus in compact, midsize, and large cars. This is an important factor to consider when deciding whether to upgrade as you may find all your needs met by a vehicle in Toyota’s lineup.

If you’re in the market for an SUV, you might consider the Lexus GX or the Lexus RX 350, both of which are highly ranked on U.S. News. Searching for a compact car? The Toyota Corolla or Prius might be more up your alley.

In the comparison between these two brands, Lexus comes out on top — and if you have the budget for it, it’s often worth upgrading. For the true Toyota loyalists, however, you’ve got no shortage of excellent options. Ultimately, the decision about whether to upgrade is a personal one. With two such dependable brands, it’s hard to go wrong either way.