Toyota and its luxurious sibling Lexus are well-known for offering a variety of vehicles that are safe, reliable, and fun to drive. Typically, we wouldn’t compare a Toyota to a Lexus because they offer such different driving experiences. However, Toyota’s top of the line Avalon sedan is very similar to Lexus’ entry-level ES luxury sedan. How would you go about choosing between the two?
Pricing and performance
To help put things in perspective early, the 2020 Toyota Avalon and the 2020 Lexus ES are not too off from each other in price. The Avalon starts at $35,875 and the ES starts $39,900. Both of these traditional models only offer one powertrain option.
On the Avalon, you get a 301-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and the ES comes with a 302-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine. And guess what－both of these engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Naturally, both have the same fuel economy with up to a combined 26 mpg.
Both the Avalon and the ES ride smoothly and there are practically no differences in regards to their driving experiences. The only real difference from our perspective is that the Avalon can go from 0 to 60 mph in about 6 seconds and the ES takes about 6.5 seconds.
The Avalon isn’t much cheaper to maintain than the ES. Also, the estimated annual cost of gas for the ES is slightly cheaper than the Avalon. If you are also interested in exploring hybrid options, you should also know that there is an Avalon hybrid option as well as an ES hybrid option too.
The similarities continue on the insides of both the Avalon and the ES. Both sedans can comfortably seat five and both come standard with synthetic leather. The ES is beautifully structured on the inside like a luxury car should be, and the Avalon looks especially upscale for a nonluxury sedan. Really, you will feel comfortable in either model. Both can be upgraded with the same items such as genuine leather and heated seats.
Alright, so the Avalon and ES differ more when it comes to technology The Avalon offers an easy-to-use infotainment system that comes with desirable features including a 9-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, HD radio, and a wifi hotspot. Android Auto isn’t available on the Avalon.
The ES offers similar infotainment features found on the Avalon like Apple Carplay and a wifi hotspot. However Android Auto and Siri Eyes Free are available on the ES while Amazon Alexa is not. The ES comes standard with an 8- inch display screen and there’s the option to upgrade to a 12.3 screen. Unfortunately, there’s no touchscreen on the ES so you have to use a funky mousepad thing to operate its infotainment system.
Both the Avalon and ES have earned top crash-test safety scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To help prevent crashes altogether, both the Avalon and the ES come with a ton of advanced safety features such as lane keep assist and pedestrian detection. However, there are more robust standard safety features on the Avalon.
The final verdict
Honestly, we think it’s worth paying a little more for the ES over the Avalon. If you’re willing to pay around $40K for a sedan, you may as well get a true luxury one if you can.