2018 Lexus ES vs. Its Competition

2018 Lexus ES

The Lexus ES has always split the difference between premium and full luxury, and its diverse competitors reflect that straddle.

The high-tech Acura RLX gets almost no attention, but it’s as luxurious and much better-handling than the far more popular ES.

The Buick Lacrosse and Kia Cadenza are premium entries from carmakers not considered luxury brands, but they score high on value even if they can’t come close to the Lexus dealer experience.

The Lincoln MKZ may be a dressed-up Ford Fusion, but the ES has a lot of Toyota Avalon underneath, and the MKZ adds plenty of luxury features.

It failed to convince us, however.

Finally, if you have the financial wherewithal, the Volvo S90 may be the prettiest and most distinctive of the bunch, the most luxury entry among this group even as it stays priced below Mercedes and BMW.

2018 Lexus ES2018 Lexus ES
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2018 Acura RLX2018 Acura RLX
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2018 Buick LaCrosse2018 Buick Lacrosse
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2018 Kia Cadenza2018 Kia Cadenza
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2018 Lincoln MKZ2018 Lincoln MKZ
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2018 Volvo S902018 Volvo S90
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Quick Specs
If you’re after a smooth, quiet, roomy, comforting luxury sedan that’s still good value, the 2018 Lexus ES may be one of the better choices.
The 2018 Acura RLX brandishes some exotic hardware, and wraps it in anonymity.
The 2018 Buick LaCrosse is a proper flagship, a refined and comfortable sedan with only a few quirks.
The 2018 Kia Cadenza has matured greatly, and offers exceptional room and polish.
The 2018 Lincoln MKZ is a comfortable, quiet luxury sedan with the right ingredients but lacks in execution.
With its graceful styling and gentle demeanor, the 2018 Volvo S90 is one of our favorite luxury sedans—at any price.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
21 MPG City / 39 MPG Hwy20 MPG City / 29 MPG Hwy20 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy20 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy20 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy
Regular Unleaded V-6Premium Unleaded V-6Gas I4Regular Unleaded V-6Gas/Electric I-4Intercooled Turbo Regular Unleaded I-4
EPA Class     
Midsize CarsMidsize CarsMidsize CarsLarge CarsMidsize CarsMidsize Cars
Style Name     
ES 350 FWDSedan w/Technology Pkg4-Door Sedan FWDPremium SedanHybrid Premiere FWDT5 FWD Momentum
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
Automatic w/ODAutomatic w/ODAutomaticAutomatic w/ODCVT w/ODAutomatic w/OD
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2018 Lexus ES vs. 2018 Acura RLX2018 Lexus ES vs. 2018 Buick Lacrosse2018 Lexus ES vs. 2018 Kia Cadenza2018 Lexus ES vs. 2018 Lincoln MKZ2018 Lexus ES vs. 2018 Volvo S90