Jump to content
  • William Maley
    William Maley

    2019 Cadillac ATS To Only Be Offered As Coupe, CT6 to Drop 2.0T

      More fun with General Motors' VIN Decoder

    We know that Cadillac is planning to shrink down the car lineup with the ATS, CTS, and XTS being replaced by the CT5 in 2019. But there are some other changes afoot for Cadillac's car lineup for 2019 according to GM's VIN Decoder document. 

    The Truth About Cars reports that the ATS and ATS-V Coupe will be sticking around for the 2019 model year. Powertrains and the choice of rear- or all-wheel drive will carry over. It is unclear what transmissions will be offered. Meanwhile, the 2.0L turbo engine for the CT6 will be dropped. The 3.6L will now become the base engine. All models except the for CT6 Plug-In Hybrid will have AWD as standard equipment.

    Cadillac declined to comment when asked about the changes by TTAC.

    Source: The Truth About Cars
    Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers and Gears

    2019 Cadillac ATS VIN Document.jpg

    2019 Cadillac CT6 VIN Document.jpg



    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    I'm reading this slightly different.

    Yes, the ATS sedan will be dropped, but that's because the CT4 will replace it and likely won't be a sedan but rather a hatchback in keeping with JDN's very qualified statement about Cadillac sedans.

    What this sounds like to me is that there won't be a CT4 coupe, at least at first, and the ATS Coupe will stick around for that role until a replacement is ready to go.   

    I'm guessing the CT4 will be a more direct competitor to the CLA/A3... meaning FWD and 4-cylinder turbo only. It will be some sort of sport hatchback coupe crossover with 4 doors.

    The CT5 will be only slightly smaller externally than the current CTS, but will have better packaging and ride on the Omega platform with the CT6.

    Here is where the giant question mark comes up..... If ATS and CTS are going away, what happens to Camaro when its platform mates are dead?  The only possibility I see is if GM has some sort of Alpha 2.0 in the works for CT4/CT5/Camaro to ride on that has the weight savings enhancements that come with Omega.

    • Upvote 4

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    but that's because the CT4 will replace it and likely won't be a sedan but rather a hatchback in keeping with JDN's very qualified statement about Cadillac sedans.

    Cadillac. Hatchback. ? 

    INTEREST PIQUED! :drool:

    • Upvote 1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    9 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    Cadillac. Hatchback. ? 

    INTEREST PIQUED! :drool:

    Yeah... it's sort of a process of elimination.  They've said that the ATS sedan is going away and that Cadillac is cutting down on the number of sedans.  But there will be a CT4 that replaces the ATS in the lineup, so what will that car be?  We know they won't do coupe only, it doesn't make economic sense to. We know that a CT4 won't be a crossover, that's what XT4 will be.  So that leaves hatchback and wagon as possibilities.

    Given that there is technically no longer a Regal sedan,  I'm guessing the correct answer here is "hatchback" or "sportback" if you want to use Buick's terms.

    • Upvote 2

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    2 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    I'm guessing the CT4 will be a more direct competitor to the CLA/A3... meaning FWD and 4-cylinder turbo only.

    That's insane if that happens. RIght now the ATS as configured has numerous advantages over the CLA, primairly much better interior room and RWD / RWD proportions.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Like the  CTS2 being simultaneously offered as a COUPE only along with the current gen CTS3.. I expect what they are saying is that the ATS Coupe will be offered as a stand alone option while the CT3/4 will be the Sedan/Hatch car

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    5 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    That's insane if that happens. RIght now the ATS as configured has numerous advantages over the CLA, primairly much better interior room and RWD / RWD proportions.

    Well it's just my own guess.  They could keep it on Alpha and have it RWD/AWD.... but the CLA and A3 have proven that RWD is not needed for sales success.  Mercedes is selling as many 98-Taurus-Shrunk-In-The-Wash as they can while the superior chassis of the ATS doesn't move that well.   If  Cadillac can sell 1.8T/2.0T powered rebadge Cruzes for $30k, I totally see them going for it if the sales are there.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    3 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Well it's just my own guess.  They could keep it on Alpha and have it RWD/AWD.... but the CLA and A3 have proven that RWD is not needed for sales success.  Mercedes is selling as many 98-Taurus-Shrunk-In-The-Wash as they can while the superior chassis of the ATS doesn't move that well.   If  Cadillac can sell 1.8T/2.0T powered rebadge Cruzes for $30k, I totally see them going for it if the sales are there.

    Mercedes could sell flaming bags of dog poo as long as they have a 3-point star on them.   The ATS isn't that good of a car, and more importantly Cadillac is a damaged brand that they haven't been able to fix 30 years of damage to.

    C-class, 3-series and Q50 are the top sellers of their brand and Lexus IS is #2 seller at theirs, I think the A4 is the #2 selling Audi.  ATS is in the biggest segment of the luxury market and can't move metal.

    Keeping the ATS Coupe around a model year makes sense, they can probably build a model year's worth of them in about 2 months and have them so there is a 2 door option until something else comes along.

    Who knows on CT4, Cadillac seems to be giving up on cars, and just rebadging Chevy/Buick SUVs.   Dropping the CTS makes 100% sense, there should have never been a 2.0T CT6 just like there never should have been a 2.5 ATS.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Why not? There is a 4 cylinder turbo E class and the CT6 weighs less. 

     

    The ATS is a substantially superior vehicle to the CLA in every objective measure... But brand whores prefer the fake pleather Gucci bag over and actual entry luxury performance sedan.

    • Upvote 1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    1 hour ago, smk4565 said:

    Mercedes sell flaming bags of dog poo as they have a 3-point star on them.  

    Good to know you finally admit what MB really is, a badge on dog poo! :roflmao:

    • Haha 2

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Whoa!

    The ATS is EXACTLY what enthusiasts were asking for from a performance  "entry level"  luxury compact car.

    It would be the first of its kind to actually give a BMW 3 Series run for its money.

    Mercedes all through the 1980s, all through the 1990s, all through the 2000s tried and failed BIG TIME and decided to quit on that formula. 

    Cadillac FINALLY got it right! 

    Problem is:

    1. That type of car is no longer in vogue. CUVs from lux brands are what is in vogue.

    2. That type of car was needed for Cadillac in the 1990s. After 2010, many wanting to return to Cadillac seem to want Cadillac to go back to their own true roots. Cadillac seems to not only miss the boat in 1990 in ignoring that segment and half-assing it, but they seem to be ignoring the cry from their own Cadillac following from the 2010s that to be relevant going forward, Cadillac needs to be Cadillac...

    So...although its a sales flop, the ATS is....its NOT because its a bad car. Its just the wrong car for the brand! 

     

    Edited by oldshurst442
    • Upvote 1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    13 hours ago, oldshurst442 said:

    Whoa!

    The ATS is EXACTLY what enthusiasts were asking for from a performance  "entry level"  luxury compact car.

    It would be the first of its kind to actually give a BMW 3 Series run for its money.

    Mercedes all through the 1980s, all through the 1990s, all through the 2000s tried and failed BIG TIME and decided to quit on that formula. 

    Cadillac FINALLY got it right! 

    Problem is:

    1. That type of car was is longer in vogue. CUVs from lux brands are what is in vogue.

    2. That type of car was needed for Cadillac in the 1990s. After 2010, many wanting to return to Cadillac seem to want Cadillac to go back to their own true roots. Cadillac seems to not only miss the boat in 1990 in ignoring that segment and half-assing it, but they seem to be ignoring the cry from their own Cadillac following from the 2010s that to be relevant going forward, Cadillac needs to be Cadillac...

    So...although its a sales flop, the ATS is....its NOT because its a bad car. Its just the wrong car for the brand! 

     

    It was a victim of timing, and Cadillac's image.  Infiniti and Lexus have found some success w/ their compact luxury sports sedans and coupes in part because of their 'newness' as brands and their Japanese quality reputation.  Cadillac, for better or for worse, has a lot of history and a lot of baggage.  

    So many people my age and younger still today seem to only think of Cadillac as grandpa cars or bling trucks  (Escalade).

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
    • Haha 1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    4 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    I will also point out that these VIN cards are not set in stone.  GM can add to them at any time. 

    Correct, NHTSA's rules say an automaker can submit information until 60 days before production.

    • Like 1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Why not? There is a 4 cylinder turbo E class and the CT6 weighs less. 

     

    The ATS is a substantially superior vehicle to the CLA in every objective measure... But brand whores prefer the fake pleather Gucci bag over and actual entry luxury performance sedan.

    Because the CT6 is Cadillac's flagship full size car and the $10,000 cheaper XTS has a V6.   The CT6 should have had the 3.0TT V6 standard because that is what you find in a base model A8 or Lexus LS, and they should have had a V8 option.  At very least the 3.6 V6 could have been the rental/livery spec engine if they needed a value leader at $55k.  

    This is the problem with Cadillac and has been for years, they undershoot the competition and they always make this play as the value choice and water down the car with cheap door handles, cheap trim pieces, Chevrolet engines, etc.

    • Upvote 1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    In reading all of this....I will say I'm digging the hatchback idea...Caddy really needs to be different to pick up some success here.

    It's time they just benchmark themselves.....

    • Upvote 2

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    12 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    So many people my age and younger still today seem to only think of Cadillac or bling trucks  (Escalade).

    The funny thing is, the Escalade is no more 'blingy' than the top MB or Range Rover, or most other lux SUVs. It's what sells these top shelf beasts.

    • Upvote 1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    48 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    The funny thing is, the Escalade is no more 'blingy' than the top MB or Range Rover, or most other lux SUVs. It's what sells these top shelf beasts.

    No waaaaaay none of those offer chrome wheels from the factory, chrome door handles, chrome mirror covers... 

    The Escalade is definitely blingy. 

    • Upvote 2

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    9 hours ago, daves87rs said:

    It's time they just benchmark themselves.....

    Couldn't agree more. 

    I'm glad Lincoln finally realized this and they're just doing themselves now. 

    • Upvote 2

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    24 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    Couldn't agree more. 

    I'm glad Lincoln finally realized this and they're just doing themselves now. 

    Yep, and naming the cars again too....

    And in honesty, Caddy is never going to be able to beat the Gucci crowd because the other two simply win on image.

    I know GM can do a bang up job when they want to.....but bringing back some hertiage might be a good idea....

    • Upvote 1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      What a difference that four years make. That's the timeframe from the first Kia electric I reviewed (Soul EV) to the model seen here, the 2019 Niro EV. So much has changed in terms of battery technology and overall range that I could see myself having an electric vehicle as a primary mode of transport. There are some still some issues that make me think twice, but they are getting smaller.
      Kia avoided the trend of going crazy with the Niro EV’s design. Little touches such as blue accent trim, 17-inch alloy wheels, and closed-front grille hiding the charging port help the EV stand apart from other Niro models. Changes inside are even smaller with a new center console featuring a dial control for the drive selector. This move is very smart as many buyers really don’t want their vehicle to shout “LOOK AT ME” when driving. The electric powertrain in the Niro EV packs quite the punch - 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque. This is up 62 and 92 respectively from the Niro Hybrid I drove a few years back. Providing the electricity is a 64 kWh Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery that provides an estimated range of 239 miles. Kia says the Niro EV will hit 60 mph in under eight seconds. But I found it to be slightly quicker thanks to all of the torque being available instantly. Merging onto a freeway is where the electric powertrain does lose steam - blame a hefty curb weight of 3,854 pounds. I saw a maximum range of 208 to 210 miles throughout my week. This was due to cold temperatures ranging from low 30s to high 40s. But I was able to do a forty-mile round-trip commute for most of the week without having any range anxiety issues. Charging anxiety is a different story. If you have been reading my electric and plug-in hybrid reviews, then you’ll know that I only have access to 120V charging at home. Plugging the Niro EV after my day job meant waiting over sixteen hours for a full charge. This caused me to not want to venture out far unless I had some important errands to run as it would mean a longer time for a recharge. If I had completely depleted the battery, I would be waiting over two days for the battery to recharge. If you have a 240V charger, that time drops to 9.5 hours for a full-recharge. Finding a quick charger has gotten easier in the past year or two, but it is still a hit and miss affair. There are no quick chargers near where I live (unless I have a Tesla). It's slightly better further south where I work as there some around the area. But that introduces its own set of problems such setting aside the time to charge up the vehicle to finding if one works. I should note that I didn’t get the chance to try quick charging with the Niro EV during my week.  Handling is slightly better in the Niro EV thanks to the additional weight of the battery pack which reduces body roll. Steering is very light when turning, but will surprise you with how quick and accurate it deals with changes in direction. Ride quality is a little bit firm with some bumps and imperfections making their way inside. Where the Niro EV shines is noise isolation. During my work commute, I was surprised by how little wind and road noise came inside.  The major downside to the Niro EV is its limited availability. At the time of this writing, Kia is only selling the Niro EV is twelve states - most of them having Zero Emission Vehicle (or ZEV) programs that require automakers to sell a certain amount of electric vehicles in their lineups. Nothing is stopping you from purchasing a Niro EV in one of the states that it is available, but I’m wondering how many people will do that. Pricing for the Niro EV begins at $38,500 for the base EX model. I had the EX Premium at $44,000 which adds such goodies as an eight-inch touchscreen, premium audio system, heated and ventilated front seats; sunroof. Add in a $1,000 Launch Edition package (LED headlights, front parking sensors, and auto-dimming rear-view mirror), and my as-tested price came to $45,995. Expensive bit of kit, but the Niro EV does come with a long list of standard features including heated outside mirrors with power folding; seven-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and push-button start. Plus, the Niro EV qualifies for the full $7,500 federal tax credit which may sway some buyers when it comes time to do their taxes. The Kia Niro EV is the first electric vehicle that I could see myself living with. It drives for the most part as a normal vehicle and offers enough range for most people. The big item you need to be aware of is charging. If you decide to purchase, be sure to get a 240V charger and check to see if there are any sort of fast chargers in your area. It may mean the difference between worry-free and a large amount of anxiety. Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Niro EV, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Kia
      Model: Niro EV
      Trim: EX Premium
      Engine: 356V Permanent Magnet Synchronous Electric Motor
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Lithium Ion Polymer Battery Pack
      Horsepower @ RPM: 201 @ 3,800 - 8,000
      Torque @ RPM: 291 @ 0 - 3,600
      Estimated Range: 239 Miles
      Curb Weight: 3,854 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: 
      Base Price: $44,000
      As Tested Price: $46,045 (Includes $1,045.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Launch Edition - $1,000.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      What a difference that four years make. That's the timeframe from the first Kia electric I reviewed (Soul EV) to the model seen here, the 2019 Niro EV. So much has changed in terms of battery technology and overall range that I could see myself having an electric vehicle as a primary mode of transport. There are some still some issues that make me think twice, but they are getting smaller.
      Kia avoided the trend of going crazy with the Niro EV’s design. Little touches such as blue accent trim, 17-inch alloy wheels, and closed-front grille hiding the charging port help the EV stand apart from other Niro models. Changes inside are even smaller with a new center console featuring a dial control for the drive selector. This move is very smart as many buyers really don’t want their vehicle to shout “LOOK AT ME” when driving. The electric powertrain in the Niro EV packs quite the punch - 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque. This is up 62 and 92 respectively from the Niro Hybrid I drove a few years back. Providing the electricity is a 64 kWh Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery that provides an estimated range of 239 miles. Kia says the Niro EV will hit 60 mph in under eight seconds. But I found it to be slightly quicker thanks to all of the torque being available instantly. Merging onto a freeway is where the electric powertrain does lose steam - blame a hefty curb weight of 3,854 pounds. I saw a maximum range of 208 to 210 miles throughout my week. This was due to cold temperatures ranging from low 30s to high 40s. But I was able to do a forty-mile round-trip commute for most of the week without having any range anxiety issues. Charging anxiety is a different story. If you have been reading my electric and plug-in hybrid reviews, then you’ll know that I only have access to 120V charging at home. Plugging the Niro EV after my day job meant waiting over sixteen hours for a full charge. This caused me to not want to venture out far unless I had some important errands to run as it would mean a longer time for a recharge. If I had completely depleted the battery, I would be waiting over two days for the battery to recharge. If you have a 240V charger, that time drops to 9.5 hours for a full-recharge. Finding a quick charger has gotten easier in the past year or two, but it is still a hit and miss affair. There are no quick chargers near where I live (unless I have a Tesla). It's slightly better further south where I work as there some around the area. But that introduces its own set of problems such setting aside the time to charge up the vehicle to finding if one works. I should note that I didn’t get the chance to try quick charging with the Niro EV during my week.  Handling is slightly better in the Niro EV thanks to the additional weight of the battery pack which reduces body roll. Steering is very light when turning, but will surprise you with how quick and accurate it deals with changes in direction. Ride quality is a little bit firm with some bumps and imperfections making their way inside. Where the Niro EV shines is noise isolation. During my work commute, I was surprised by how little wind and road noise came inside.  The major downside to the Niro EV is its limited availability. At the time of this writing, Kia is only selling the Niro EV is twelve states - most of them having Zero Emission Vehicle (or ZEV) programs that require automakers to sell a certain amount of electric vehicles in their lineups. Nothing is stopping you from purchasing a Niro EV in one of the states that it is available, but I’m wondering how many people will do that. Pricing for the Niro EV begins at $38,500 for the base EX model. I had the EX Premium at $44,000 which adds such goodies as an eight-inch touchscreen, premium audio system, heated and ventilated front seats; sunroof. Add in a $1,000 Launch Edition package (LED headlights, front parking sensors, and auto-dimming rear-view mirror), and my as-tested price came to $45,995. Expensive bit of kit, but the Niro EV does come with a long list of standard features including heated outside mirrors with power folding; seven-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and push-button start. Plus, the Niro EV qualifies for the full $7,500 federal tax credit which may sway some buyers when it comes time to do their taxes. The Kia Niro EV is the first electric vehicle that I could see myself living with. It drives for the most part as a normal vehicle and offers enough range for most people. The big item you need to be aware of is charging. If you decide to purchase, be sure to get a 240V charger and check to see if there are any sort of fast chargers in your area. It may mean the difference between worry-free and a large amount of anxiety. Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Niro EV, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Kia
      Model: Niro EV
      Trim: EX Premium
      Engine: 356V Permanent Magnet Synchronous Electric Motor
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Lithium Ion Polymer Battery Pack
      Horsepower @ RPM: 201 @ 3,800 - 8,000
      Torque @ RPM: 291 @ 0 - 3,600
      Estimated Range: 239 Miles
      Curb Weight: 3,854 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: 
      Base Price: $44,000
      As Tested Price: $46,045 (Includes $1,045.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Launch Edition - $1,000.00
    • By Drew Dowdell
      When Cadillac introduced the CT4 back on May 30th, they only introduced the V-series version of the car. Today Cadillac unveiled the standard versions of the car in Sport, Luxury, and Premium Luxury trims.  Each one styled slightly differently, the Luxury and Premium Luxury models come with brighter exterior accents and metallic grilles.  The Sport version is has a more aggressive mesh grille, sportier fascias, rear spoiler, darkened accents and model specific 18-inch wheels. 
      CT4 Luxury:
      Leather Steering wheel
      8-inch Touch or Dial operated infotainment system
      Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
      Dual Zone Climate Control
      Active Noise Cancelation
      CT4 Premium Luxury:
      Leather seating
      LED Ambient Lighting
      Alluminum trim
      RainSense
      Forward Collision Alert
      Front Pedestrian Braking
      Automatic Emergency Braking
      Rear Park Assist
      Safety Alert Seat
      CT4 Sport:
      All of Premium Luxury
      Sport Seats
      Unique Trim
      Alloy Pedals
      Brembo front brakes

      CT4-V:
      Limited Slip Rear Differential
      Magnetic Ride Control (RWD Only) or ZF MVS Passive Dampers (AWD)
      Available SuperCruise (later in 2020)
       Power wise, the CT4 has a choice of 3 power configurations.  The 2.0-liter turbo has 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and is connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission.  The 2.7-liter turbo in the Premium Luxury produces 309 horsepower and 348 lb.-ft of torque or in the V gets 325 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft of torque.  Both 2.7 liters route power through a 10-speed automatic.  Both the 2.0 and 2.7 have a three-step sliding camshaft design, active fuel management, and automatic start-stop.
      The Cadillac CT4 will be available for ordering later this year with pricing announced closer to production.
       
       

      View full article
    • By Drew Dowdell
      When Cadillac introduced the CT4 back on May 30th, they only introduced the V-series version of the car. Today Cadillac unveiled the standard versions of the car in Sport, Luxury, and Premium Luxury trims.  Each one styled slightly differently, the Luxury and Premium Luxury models come with brighter exterior accents and metallic grilles.  The Sport version is has a more aggressive mesh grille, sportier fascias, rear spoiler, darkened accents and model specific 18-inch wheels. 
      CT4 Luxury:
      Leather Steering wheel
      8-inch Touch or Dial operated infotainment system
      Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
      Dual Zone Climate Control
      Active Noise Cancelation
      CT4 Premium Luxury:
      Leather seating
      LED Ambient Lighting
      Alluminum trim
      RainSense
      Forward Collision Alert
      Front Pedestrian Braking
      Automatic Emergency Braking
      Rear Park Assist
      Safety Alert Seat
      CT4 Sport:
      All of Premium Luxury
      Sport Seats
      Unique Trim
      Alloy Pedals
      Brembo front brakes

      CT4-V:
      Limited Slip Rear Differential
      Magnetic Ride Control (RWD Only) or ZF MVS Passive Dampers (AWD)
      Available SuperCruise (later in 2020)
       Power wise, the CT4 has a choice of 3 power configurations.  The 2.0-liter turbo has 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and is connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission.  The 2.7-liter turbo in the Premium Luxury produces 309 horsepower and 348 lb.-ft of torque or in the V gets 325 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft of torque.  Both 2.7 liters route power through a 10-speed automatic.  Both the 2.0 and 2.7 have a three-step sliding camshaft design, active fuel management, and automatic start-stop.
      The Cadillac CT4 will be available for ordering later this year with pricing announced closer to production.
       
       
    • By William Maley
      When Toyota introduced the last-generation Avalon for the 2014 model year, I was shocked by how Toyota had built the better Lexus ES. On the surface, this seems a bit crazy. But Toyota had put a lot of effort into shedding the image of Avalon of an old person’s car by bringing a modern and sleek look; luxurious interior, and a balance between a relaxing ride and sporty dynamics. This became more apparent when compared to the ES launched a couple of years earlier, looking very dated in terms of looks and driving like a cream puff.
      The times are a changing and the two brands have launched new versions of their respective sedans within the past year. I find myself wondering if Toyota still builds the better Lexus or if the ES has finally stepped up and can give the Avalon a real challenge.
      Exterior
      Toyota stuck with the shape of the previous Avalon but gave it some refinement. The low roofline and sloping rear glass shape are paired with more aggressive rear end featuring a full-length taillight. Where the new design falls apart is in the front. Toyota must have taken some of the pages out of Lexus’ design book on grille design as the Avalon has a massive grille. Lower trim models make do with black slats for the insert, but my Hybrid Limited tester features chrome slats that make it more polarizing. I understand Toyota wants to give the Avalon a bit more presence on the road, but this new grille design is a bit much.
      The ES 350 is a different story as Lexus’ designers pulled off an extensive transformation. Wearing a toned-down version of the brand’s current design language, the new ES has an overall look of something formidable and elegant. The spindle grille is front and center, but Lexus has made it slightly smaller to have fit in with the flowing lines. Other design traits include a sloping roofline and shortened rear deck.
      Interior
      Like the exterior, the ES’ interior is completely unrecognizable from the outgoing model. Gone are the cheap feeling and mismatch plastics. In their places is a combination of leather, soft-touch plastics, and wood trim that brings forth a sense of premium uniformity. Ergonomics are also top of the class with such touches as control knobs sitting on either side of the instrument panel, and controls for the climate and audio being in easy reach for driver and passenger.
      Those sitting in the front are treated to leather-covered seats that provide an excellent balance between support and coddle. Those sitting in the back seat might complain about the low position, but will like the ample amount of head and legroom.
      Stepping inside the Avalon Hybrid, Toyota has given it a major makeover. Gone is the flowing and rounded center stack with capacitive touch controls. Instead, the Avalon uses a narrower and blocky center stack with actual buttons. I’m sad to see the touch controls go away as I found them to be quite responsive. Toyota likely dropped them as buyers complained there was no feedback - a click sound or pulsation - to whoever was using it. Other changes include a slim chrome bar running along the dash vents and more color choices.
      Finding a comfortable position in the Avalon was no problem due to the numerous amount of power adjustments available on the Limited. Like the ES, the Avalon’s seats strike the balance of comfort and support just right. In the back, there is an abundance of legroom that allows passengers to stretch out. Headroom is fine for most adults.
      Infotainment
      Toyota has installed the latest version of Entune for the 2019 Avalon. While looking somewhat dated with a muted color palette and dull screen, Entune retains its ease of use. The menus with large touchscreen buttons make it very easy to move around the system, along with clearly marked buttons and knobs sitting on either side. Toyota has also got with times and made the Avalon the first model to feature CarPlay integration. Those wanting Android Auto will need to wait until 2020.
      If there is an Achilles heel to the ES 350, that would be Lexus’ Remote Touch. I have written numerously about how using this system is not only a pain, but very distracting when driving. Take for example changing an XMSirius station.
      Look at the screen to see where the cursor is. Use the touchpad to move the cursor to the station you want, making sure to keep an eye on the screen. Press down on the touchpad to make the selection, hoping you’re finger doesn’t slip and causes something else to happen. This whole routine plays out time and time again whenever you want to do something. Even Apple CarPlay which was introduced for 2019 is a pain to use with Remote Touch. There is salvation on the horizon. Earlier this year, Lexus unveiled an updated RX crossover with a touchscreen for the infotainment system. The automaker said that it will be available on other models in the coming years. Here’s to hoping the ES is one of the first recipients. 
      Performance
      Both vehicles come with the choice of either a 3.5L V6 or hybrid system using a 2.5L four-cylinder. An eight-speed automatic is teamed with the V6. The hybrid uses a CVT.
      The 3.5 V6 has been given a bit more power for 2019, now producing 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. This bump makes for a noticeable improvement in overall acceleration, feeling slightly quicker than the last ES 350 I drove. Power builds on a smooth and linear fashion. The engine is also noticeably refined, with barely a rumble coming from underneath the hood. 
      With only a total output of 215 horsepower, the hybrid system in the Toyota Avalon may seem underpowered. This is only an issue when climbing a steep hill or needing to make an immediate pass. Otherwise, the hybrid system provides plenty of oomph for the daily drive. I like how the system seamless transitioned from electric to hybrid power with only a minimal buzz coming from the engine bay. Like other Toyota hybrids, the Avalon Hybrid can travel on electric power alone - albeit a short distance and at speeds below 25 mph.
      In EPA testing, the ES 350 returns 22 City/33 Highway/26 Combined and the Avalon Hybrid returns 43 City/43 Highway/43 Combined. I clocked averages of 25 in the ES 350 and 40 in the Avalon Hybrid.
      Ride and Handling
      Aside from engines, the Avalon Hybrid and ES 350 share another vital component. Under the skin of both models is a version of Toyota New Global Architecture (TGNA) known as GA-K. This variant provides the stiffer structure and lower-center of gravity found on other TGNA models, but allows both Toyota and Lexus to build larger front-wheel drive vehicles.
      In the Avalon Hybrid, the move to GA-K doesn’t change much. The last-generation model showed that you could have good driving dynamics and retain a mission of comfort. The new model continues that with slightly improved handling and sharper steering response. The ES 350 is a different story. Changing over to GA-K transforms the model from a creampuff on wheels to a luxury sedan with that can take corners without embarrassing itself. Body roll is significantly reduced and the steering responds to inputs without fuss. Neither one of these sedans will challenge the likes of the Germans or the Kia Stinger GT, but they will not fall over and cry uncle when pushed.
      Ride quality is still one of the impressive points for both models. On some of roughest, pothole-ladened streets that the Metro Detroit has on offer, the Avalon Hybrid and ES 350 made it feel like mere ripples. Not much outside noise comes inside the cabin of either model, making them a perfect place to decompress after a long day.
      Verdict
      Let’s begin with the 2020 Avalon Hybrid. This updated sedan didn’t surprise me and that’s fine. Aside from the styling, Toyota made small changes to address certain issues of the previous-generation and build upon its strengths. Getting 40 MPG is still an impressive trait for such a big sedan. With a starting price tag of $35,560 for the gas version and $36,650 for the hybrid, the Avalon is still the one to buy if you want the luxuries of the ES without the luxury tax.
      The ES 350, on the other hand, is the more impressive of the two. You have to wonder if Lexus was motivated by what Toyota was able to pull off with last-generation Avalon. In a lot of ways, the ES 350 looks and feels like a proper luxury car. Add in a new platform that doesn’t make you feel like you’re going to tip over and Lexus is very close to that idea of “Experience Amazing”. The only fault is Remote Touch which sours many of the dramatic improvements. If Lexus can get that new touchscreen into the ES ASAP, I would gladly give it my “Most Improved Car of the Year” award. 
      How I would configure a 2019 Lexus ES 350 or Toyota Avalon Hybrid
      Starting with the ES 350, I would skip the base model and go with the Luxury trim. This adds such items as leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, and ambient lighting. On top of this, I would add Blind Spot Monitoring package and a power rear sunshade. With destination, I'm out the door with a final price of $45,540.
      For the Avalon Hybrid, I would pick the XSE. This is positioned as the sporty model with various exterior treatments including a mesh insert for the grille. Other standard equipment includes a moonroof, leatherette and suede upholstery, and wireless phone charging. The only two options I would tick are the Ruby Flare Pearl paint and 14-Speaker JBL Audio System. Add destination and the final price comes to $41,480.
      Alternatives
      Genesis G80: A perennial favorite, the G80 slots between the Avalon Hybrid and ES 350 in terms of price - $41,750. It comes showered with loads of standard equipment and an excellent engine lineup. It cannot match the ES and Avalon in terms of interior design, but provides a more modern and easier to understand infotainment system. Ride quality is similar in all three vehicles, but the ES and Avalon have a slight edge in handling. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas 
      Year: 2019
      Make: Lexus
      Model: ES 350
      Trim: Luxury
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve with Dual VVT-i V6
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 302 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/33/26
      Curb Weight: 3,649 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, Kentucky
      Base Price: $42,755
      As Tested Price: $45,955 (Includes $1,025 Destination Charge)*
      Options:
      Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking - $1,065.00
      18-Inch Split Five-Spoke Alloy Noise Reduction Wheels - $950.00
      Wood and Leather Trimmed Steering Wheel - $300.00
      Power Rear Sunshade - $210.00
      *No window sticker was provided for the ES 350. This is me taking a guess as to final price and options.
      Year: 2019
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Avalon Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.5L 16-valve DOHC with Dual VVT-i Four-Cylinder, 650V Electric Motor
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 176 @ 5,700 (Gas);  118 (88 kW) (Electric); 215 (Total Output)
      Torque @ RPM: 163 @ 3,600-5,200 (Gas)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 43/43/43
      Curb Weight: 3,715 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, Kentucky
      Base Price: $42,800
      As Tested Price: $45,118 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Advanced Safety Package - $1,150.00
      Carpet Mat Package - $248.00

      View full article
  • Posts

  • Social Stream

  • Who's Online (See full list)

  • My Clubs

About us

CheersandGears.com - Founded 2001

We ♥ Cars

Get in touch

Follow us

Recent tweets

facebook

×
×
  • Create New...