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Toyota and its luxurious sibling, Lexus, are well-known for offering a variety of vehicles that are safe, reliable, and fun to drive. Still, Toyota’s now-discontinued top-of-the-line Avalon sedan is very similar to the entry-level Lexus ES luxury car. How would you go about choosing between the two?

Pricing and performance 

To help put things in perspective early, a 2020 Toyota Avalon and the 2020 Lexus ES have comparable used car pricing. According to KBB, the Toyota and Lexus cars both have a used car value of around $32,000 with average mileage.

On the Avalon, you get a 301-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine, while the 2020 ES comes with a 302-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine as standard equipment. Unsurprisingly, both of these engines are paired with a Toyota 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. However, the Avalon is slightly thrust-happy compared to the ES, requiring 0.5 fewer seconds to hit 60 mph. 

The Avalon isn’t much cheaper to maintain than the popular Lexus car. Also, the estimated annual cost of gas for the ES is slightly cheaper than the Avalon. Of course, the Avalon and ES have hybrid models available as well.


The similarities continue in the cockpits of the Lexus and Toyota cars. For instance, both sedans can comfortably seat five and both come standard with synthetic leather. Moreover, the ES is beautifully structured on the inside, as loyal Lexus fans expect. Still, the Avalon’s poshness punches well above its price point. Furthermore, both 2020 models offered upgrades like genuine leather upholstery and heated seats.

In-car electronics

Both cars are well-appointed within, and user-friendly. The Avalon offers an easy-to-use infotainment system that comes with desirable features, including a nine-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, HD radio, and a wifi hotspot. Android Auto isn’t available on the 2020 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. Moreover, the 2020 ES comes standard with an eight-inch display screen and there’s the option to upgrade to a 12.3-inch screen. Unfortunately, there’s no touchscreen on the ES, so operators will have to contend with a funky mousepad thing to navigate its infotainment system. 


A red 2020 Toyota Avalon shows off its front-end styling.
Toyota Avalon | Toyota

Both the 2020 Toyota Avalon and Lexus 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

While the Toyota Avalon is an underrated, posh sedan with segment-leading reliability scores, the Lexus ES is the true luxury option. If opulence is of importance to you, the Lexus car is the clear choice.

Editor’s note: Leigh Fields contributed to this article.


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