Luxury sedans have to be better than average at everything. They coddle their riders in sumptuous surroundings, entertain them with the latest technology, and handle with vigor when the road allows it. Every automaker reaches a different balance in trying to build the perfect example of the form.
The Acura TLX and Lexus ES are two of the best, but designers gave each its own character. Which one is right for you? Let’s explore their personalities.
2023 Acura TLX
Our test driver says the 2023 Acura TLX has the overall quality as well as the driving talents to make it a superb choice in a class full of great cars. For 2023, it starts at $39,850 — less than many rivals — and is offered in a sporty Type S trim that can keep up with some of the best German sports sedans.
Acura TLX highlights
Bang for the buck: The TLX has a sticker price under $40,000. Rivals like the BMW 5
Series and Audi A6 start in the mid-$50,000 range. Can the TLX keep up with them? You might have to upgrade to the Type S, to be sure. But that model’s $55,550 starting price gets you a high-performance edition of a luxury car for a surprisingly low cost. The Lexus ES also has a low price, but it can’t quite match the TLX’s sticker.
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Super Handling All-Wheel Drive: Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system is one of our favorites. Every AWD system gives you added confidence in foul weather, but Acura’s adds torque-vectoring technology to make handling feel more athletic, even on dry pavement. It’s significantly pricier than the front-wheel-drive (FWD) version, starting at $48,800, but that still undercuts most AWD competitors.
More power in the base model: We keep emphasizing the TLX’s performance if you step up in trim level. But what if you don’t? The standard engine in the TLX offers 272 horsepower — 69 more than the base engine in the Lexus.
2023 Lexus ES
The Lexus ES is a jack-of-all-trades luxury car famous for a silky-smooth ride that insulates its driver from the world around. It also offers fantastic long-term cost of ownership, winning KBB’s Best Buy Award in its class, and a flexible lineup of engine choices. Prices start at $41,340.
Lexus ES highlights
Engine options: The base engine in the ES 250 is weak for the luxury car class at 203 horsepower, but some buyers would rather have its fuel economy than more power. For those looking for power, Lexus offers a 302-horsepower V6.
Available hybrid powertrain: Continuing the theme of flexibility, Lexus also offers a hybrid ES, the ES 300h. It makes just 215 horsepower but gets up to 44 mpg.
Standard AWD in the base model: While Acura makes you pay thousands more for AWD, Lexus packs it into the base model ES with the 4-cylinder engine.
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Both offer luxury amenities and smooth performance for thousands less than German rivals. Their standard equipment lists are also very similar.
You’d probably enjoy owning an Acura TLX. You’d also probably enjoy owning a Lexus ES. In most trim levels, the TLX drives with a little more passion, but the ES gives you more flexibility to buy precisely the car you want. And, as the luxury marques of Honda
respectively, Acura and Lexus both have stellar quality reputations. There’s no wrong answer here.
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|2023 Acura TLX||2023 Lexus ES|
|Engine||2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder||2.5-liter 4-cylinder|
|Horsepower||272 hp @ 6,500 rpm||203 hp @ 6,500 rpm|
|Torque||280 lb-ft @ 1,600-4,500 rpm||184 lb-ft @ 4,000-5,000 rpm|
|Transmission||10-speed automatic||8-speed automatic|
|Fuel Economy||22 city/31 highway/25 combined mpg||25 city/34 highway/28 combined mpg|
|Also Available||Turbo V6; AWD||V6, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder hybrid, FWD|
|Basic Warranty||4 years/50,000 miles||4 years/50,000 miles|
|Powertrain Warranty||6 years/70,000 miles||6 years/70,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety Rating||5 stars||5 stars|
|Max Seating Capacity||5||5|
|Wheelbase||113.0 inches||113.0 inches|
|Overall Length||194.6 inches||195.9 inches|
|Width||75.2 inches||73.4 inches|
|Height||56.4 inches||57.1 inches|
|Turning Diameter||40.1 feet||38.0 feet|
|Headroom, Front||37.2 inches||37.5 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||36.3 inches||37.8 inches|
|Legroom, Front||42.5 inches||42.4 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||34.9 inches||39.2 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||58.2 inches||55.9 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||55.0 inches||54.3 inches|
|Cargo Space||13.5 cubic feet||13.9 cubic feet|
This story originally ran on KBB.com.