Toyota Avalon VS Lexus ES: Why Pay More?

They may be two different marques but of course, Lexus and Toyota are within the same corporate family. How does the flagship Lexus sedan compare to the top-end Toyota Avalon? Does the very top end of the regular brand beat the standard end of the luxury brand? Let’s take a closer look at these two iconic luxury sedan models to see how they compare.

Quick Summary

The Toyota Avalon and Lexus ES are full-size sedans that share many of the same parts and are built on the same chassis. While both are considered luxury sedans, the Lexus ES offers higher trims which offer an even greater level of luxury than the Avalon’s highest trim. People who want the more prestigious Lexus badging and even finer interior upholstery will find the Lexus to be worth the extra money. Otherwise, it’s very close.

toyota avalon rear view
Lexus ES rear 3/4 view


The starting prices for these luxury sedans are not as far apart as one might expect. The base trims actually start at relatively close price points, but the highest trims of the Lexus ES are considerably more expensive than the top-end Toyota Avalon.

The Toyota Avalon starts at $36,275, whereas the Lexus ES starts at $40,800. At the top end of the Avalon range is the Avalon Limited Hybrid, which starts at $43,550.

For the ES it’s a bit more complex because there are so many “top” models, including the ES 250 Ultra Luxury AWD ($49,980), the ES 350 Ultra Luxury ($49,980), and the ES 300h Ultra Luxury ($51,080). It depends on what type you’re after. 

Exterior and Interior Styling

Both of these sedans fall into the “luxurious” bracket, but the difference is that a Lexus is meant to be naturally more luxurious than just about any Toyota. The Avalon is the top-end of the Toyota sedan scale. Both are quite well matched when it comes to scale and grandeur. Both have the same 113-inch wheelbase, for instance.

For the exterior, however, Lexus could be said to have the edge because its front grille and fascia are both a lot more extravagant in their design and finish than the Avalon. The Avalon exterior has a hint more of the executive look compared to the Lexus ES, but the Lexus has more of the decadent affluence about it.

In many ways, however, the two are still quite similar in their exterior designs. Certainly, the scale, lines, and overall grandeur of the two are fairly close.

Toyota Avalon interior
Lexus ES interior

For interiors, it’s fair to say that both are supremely comfortable and have strong features that may appeal to different audiences. The Avalon, for instance, offers a waterfall-style center stack sloping down and integrating into the central armrest. The Lexus ES is a little edgier with an asymmetrical design and generally favors darker colors. 

The Avalon’s two-tone leather upholstery and dash color combinations look very high-end, but the overall finish in even the base Lexus is very fine, and then climbs even higher from there. The Lexus ES certainly offers more room to go “up” in class and comfort for the interior compared to the Avalon, which is already the zenith of Toyota sedans.


Both of these luxury sedan models come fitted with a 3.5L V6 option and at their top-end, both offer an almost identical maximum horsepower: 301-hp to the Toyota Avalon, and 302-hp to the Lexus ES.

The main difference is that the 3.5L V6 is the only option for the Avalon models, except the Hybrid, which carries a 2.5L 4-cylinder unit. The Lexus carries a 2.5L 203-hp engine as standard for the ES 250 models, with the 3.5L V6 being used on the ES 350 models. The Lexus ES hybrids also use a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine getting up to 215-hp.

Ultimately, this means that all the Avalon gasoline models carry more horsepower than the ES 250 and ES hybrid models from Lexus, but the ES 350 models can (just) out-power the Avalon models. The Avalon hybrids are a match for the Lexus ES hybrids, since they use the same 2.5L cylinder engine with up to 215-hp.

On the road, both offer decent handling and capability. One difference is that while the Avalon handles essentially the same across all trim levels, but with a good, quiet, and comfortable ride quality, the Lexus ES at least has some additional options within the trims, especially the F Sport trim. The ES F Sport offers a bit more dynamism to the Lexus ES that no Avalon trim can really match.

Toyota Avalon side view
Lexus ES side view

Practicality and Fuel Economy

When it comes to sedans, one somewhat sore point for many is the lack of trunk space. Even though the cabins are often larger, the cargo capacity isn’t. The Toyota Avalon offers more in pure trunk space at 16.09 cubic feet. The Lexus ES only manages 13.9 cubic feet. It’s not a dramatic difference, but makes all the difference when you’re trying to get that last bag in place!

Next, let’s look at fuel consumption. The base-level Lexus ES 250 AWD uses 25-mpg in the city, and 34-mpg on the highway, giving it a combined rating of 28-mpg. The Toyota Avalon base XLE trim achieves 22-mpg in the city, and 32-mpg on the highway, with a combined rating of 27-mpg. That means the basic Lexus ES gains an edge in fuel efficiency.

For the hybrid models,  the Avalon model gets 43-mpg both in the city and on the highway; the Lexus ES hybrid models get 43-mpg in the city and 44-mpg on the highway, making it barely more efficient by a mere whisker. In terms of fuel efficiency, the Lexus ES comes out on top but only barely. The reality is that there’s little to no difference.

Technology & Features

Lexus ES drivers are treated to a very modern and crystal-clear 12.3-inch touchscreen if they want — an 8-inch screen is standard — which is fast, easy to use, and very user-friendly. There’s also a 10-speaker sound system as standard. Drivers get a 10.2-inch HUD for the driver, as well as wireless charging, voice commands, a SmartAccess card key, and much more.

The Avalon is not without a good amount of technology, but the infotainment system, while large and clear, is a little older and clunkier to use than that of the Lexus ES. It only has an 8-speaker sound system, but can be upgraded to a very nice JBL sound system.


Standard features in the Avalon include automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. 

The Lexus ES gets all the same but throws in lane tracing assist, steering assist with lane departure, road sign assistance, and smart high beams. The Lexus ES also offers many more standard options as you move up through trim levels and also via various packages. In all, it makes for a richer selection than the Toyota Avalon.


Clearly, both models have a lot to offer. The Toyota Avalon is a more budget-friendly option, but when you buy the top Avalon you’ve already hit the ceiling only to match what would be less than halfway up the ladder of luxury in the Lexus ES series. 

If you just want a simple, comfortable ride with all the basics covered and a nice, reliable vehicle then the Avalon is perfect. If you want to get the most out of your luxury car experience, then the ES has a lot more to offer drivers.

Comparison Table

2022 Toyota Avalon2022 Lexus ES
Engine3.5L V6 Gas3.5L V6 Gas
Horsepower301 hp @ 6600 rpm302 hp @ 6600 rpm
Torque267 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm267 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm
Transmission8-Speed Automatic8-Speed Automatic
DrivetrainFront-Wheel DriveFront-Wheel Drive
Steering TypeRack-PinionRack-Pinion
Rear SuspensionMulti-LinkMulti-Link
Rear Wheel SizeP215/55VR17P215/55VR17
Front SuspensionStrutStrut
Front Wheel SizeP215/55VR17P215/55VR17
Turning Diameter (ft.)37.738.0
Fuel Economy
MPG/MPGe - Hwy3232
MPG/MPGe - City2222
MPG/MPGe - Combined2626
Gas Tank Size (gallons)14.515.9
Cruising Range - Hwy (miles)464.0508.8
Size and Weight
Height (in.)56.556.9
Length (in.)195.9195.9
Weight (lbs)35703690
Max Width (in.)72.873.4
Wheelbase (in.)113.0113.0
Interior Dimensions
Seating Capacity55
Trunk Volume (cu. ft.)16.113.9
Front Seat Leg Room (in.)42.142.4
Front Seat Head Room (in.)38.537.5
Front Seat Hip Room (in.)55.855.0
Front Seat Shoulder Room (in.)58.355.9
Rear Seat Leg room (in.)40.339.2
Rear Seat Head Room (in.)37.937.8
Rear Seat Hip Room (in.)54.854.3
Rear Seat Shoulder Room (in.)57.154.3
Infotainment Features
HD RadioStandardStandard
MP3 PlayerStandardStandard
WiFi HotspotStandardStandard
Satellite RadioStandardStandard
Bluetooth ConnectionStandardStandard
Entertainment SystemNot AvailableNot Available
Premium Sound SystemOptionalStandard
Auxiliary Audio InputStandardStandard
Smart Device IntegrationStandardStandard
Hard Disk Drive Media StorageNot AvailableNot Available
Interior Trim
Cloth SeatsStandardStandard
Vinyl SeatsStandardStandard
Leather SeatsStandardStandard
Premium Synthetic SeatsStandardStandard
Bucket SeatsStandardStandard
Leather Steering WheelStandardStandard
Woodgrain Interior TrimStandardOptional
Comfort Features
Rear A/CNot AvailableNot Available
TelematicsStandardNot Available
Seat MemoryNot AvailableNot Available
Seat-MassageNot AvailableNot Available
Keyless EntryStandardStandard
Keyless StartStandardStandard
Cruise ControlStandardStandard
Multi-Zone A/CStandardStandard
Power LiftgateNot AvailableNot Available
Climate ControlStandardStandard
Head-Up DisplayNot AvailableOptional
Power Mirror(s)StandardStandard
Automatic ParkingNot AvailableNot Available
Navigation SystemOptionalOptional
Power Driver SeatStandardStandard
Cooled Rear Seat(s)Not AvailableNot Available
Hands-Free LiftgateNot AvailableOptional
Heated Rear Seat(s)Not AvailableNot Available
Remote Engine StartStandardStandard
Cooled Front Seat(s)Not AvailableOptional
Heated Front Seat(s)StandardOptional
Power Passenger SeatStandardStandard
Remote Trunk ReleaseStandardStandard
Heated Steering WheelNot AvailableNot Available
Adaptive Cruise ControlStandardStandard
Navigation from TelematicsNot AvailableNot Available
Universal Garage Door OpenerNot AvailableStandard
Steering Wheel Audio ControlsStandardStandard
Safety Features
Brake AssistStandardStandard
Night VisionNot AvailableNot Available
Rear Parking AidNot AvailableNot Available
Traction ControlStandardStandard
Stability ControlStandardStandard
Blind Spot MonitorStandardStandard
Cross-Traffic AlertStandardStandard
Lane Keeping AssistStandardStandard
Tire Pressure MonitorStandardStandard
Lane Departure WarningStandardStandard
Knee Air BagStandardStandard
Driver Air BagStandardStandard
Seatbelt Air BagNot AvailableNot Available
Passenger Air BagStandardStandard
Rear Head Air BagStandardStandard
Rear Side Air BagStandardStandard
Front Head Air BagStandardStandard
Front Side Air BagStandardStandard
Basic3 Years / 36,000 Miles4 Years / 50,000 Miles
Corrosion5 Years / Unlimited Miles6 Years / Unlimited Miles
Drivetrain5 Years / 60,000 Miles6 Years / 70,000 Miles
Maintenance2 Years / 25,000 Miles1 Years / 10,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance2 Years / Unlimited Miles4 Years / Unlimited Miles