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Toyota Camry vs Lexus ES 300: Which Should You Buy?

This week is a bit of a family feud, as we’re comparing the 2019 Toyota Camry with its luxurious corporate cousin, the Lexus ES. So if you’re looking to decide whether you should buy a sensible sedan, or upgrade to the lap of luxury, stay tuned as we compare the engines, cabins, infotainment, and price.

Of course, you shouldn’t buy a car without a thorough test drive. So if you’re deciding between the Toyota Camry and Lexus ES, visit AutoNation.com to find a nearby dealer. Full text of the video follows below.

Toyota Camry vs Lexus ES 300: Powertrains

First, let’s look at the powertrains. The Camry is available with three powertrains. Base models come with a four-cylinder good for 203 horsepower and 184 lb-feet of torque. If you’re looking for more power, there’s also a V6 with 301 horsepower and 267 lb-feet of torque. Both use an eight-speed transmission. At 32 city, 41 highway, the four cylinder delivers great fuel economy, while the V6 is EPA rated at 22 city, 29 highway. The 208-horsepower hybrid model predictably tops them both, delivering up to 51 city, 53 highway.

There are also a couple of choices for the ES. The most powerful is a 3.5-liter V6. It’s good for 302 horsepower, which is mated to an eight-speed transmission. No manual is available, and it’s EPA rated at 22 miles per gallon city, and 33 highway. There’s also a hybrid option, which has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired with an electric motor, and puts out 215 horsepower. It’s rated at 43 miles-per-gallon city, 45 highway.

Toyota Camry vs Lexus ES 300: Cabins

Now, let’s look inside the cabin. The Camry was fully redesigned for the 2018 model year, and the new bold styling carries over to the interior. While it doesn’t feature the womb-like quiet of a true luxury car while underway, the dramatic lines of the dash, well-integrated central display, and great material quality make it a very pleasant place to be. In the trunk, you’ll be able to carry about 15 cubic-feet of cargo.

Lexus is known for high-quality cabins, and the ES 350 is no exception. With eye-catching angles, and judicious use of wood and aluminum trim, there’s lots to love here. We particularly liked the way the far edge of the infotainment display was blended into the dashboard. Out back, you’ll find nearly 17 cubic-feet of space, there’s also significantly more room in the trunk.

Toyota Camry vs Lexus ES 300: Infotainment

The Camry doesn’t skimp on infotainment either. Base models come with a seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple CarPlay, a feature that’s long been absent from Toyota vehicles. Android Auto isn’t available, but buyers can opt to upgrade to a system with an eight-inch screen that also includes satellite radio, and three USB ports. Overall, the system is intuitive, which makes for a short learning curve.

In contrast, the infotainment in the ES is more complicated, and relies on a touchpad to navigate the menus for various settings. While Amazon Alexa integration is an interesting touch, the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support stands out as an oversight in the segment, as it’s available many vehicles costing significantly less — like the Camry.

Toyota Camry vs Lexus ES 300: Safety

Turning to safety, the Camry aced its tests from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Cutting edge safety tech like a pre-collision system, pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, and adaptive cruise is standard. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic, and other safety features, are available as options.

The Lexus ES hasn’t been tested by the NHTSA, but earned Top Safety Pick Status from the IIHS. Like the Camry, it comes standard with great features like forward collision avoidance, pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, and blind spot monitoring. Plus, it includes features like bicyclist detection and automatic headlights

Toyota Camry vs Lexus ES 300: Price

Now, it’s time to talk price. The base Camry starts at $24,350, while the top-of-the line XSE model starts at $34,600.

In comparison, the standard Lexus ES starts at $39,750, the hybrid at $41,560, and the sportier F Sport versions command $44,285.

 

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