Lexus or Jaguar: Rakish Design Versus Subdued Elegance

Lexus RX 450h

Allow me to take you back in time. Let’s go to the early 1990s and stroll right on up to 2015 or so.

I want us to take a look at luxury cars during our journey. Specifically, let’s focus on Jaguar and Lexus.

Lexus was still new to America after being introduced in 1989 with the LS 400 sedan. The company took pride in creating a luxury car that was high in comfort while possessing a certain understated elegance.

Lexus appealed to people with similar qualities. Conservative older folks flocked to Lexus because it provided the reliability and unassuming looks of Toyota with the comfort and interior class of traditional German luxury brands.

Other luxury makers, including BMW and Jaguar, touted performance and unique design as selling points. Lexus buyers wanted none of that and enjoyed decades of low-profile luxury motoring.

Those days are gone.

Today’s Lexus is a loudly extravagant exercise in style meant to turn heads and appeal to the luxury buyer who wants to be noticed. Chiseled shoulders combine with sharp creases and hard angles more reminiscent of Lamborghini than classic Lexus.

Jaguar in the 1990s and 2000s was, on the other hand, designed with classically elegant soft curves that immediately stood out. One look is all it took to spot a Jaguar in a sea of normal cars.

In 2010 Jaguar surprised the automotive world with a design that shunned the automaker’s historic look. Rather than quad rounded headlights and a tapered back-end, Jag’s design evolved to a sleeker, more subdued look that might be perfectly at home on a Ford.

Jaguar F-PACE

In a review of the Jaguar XECar and Driver was inspired to say,

Most of the staff is into the look of the black Venom wheels against the British Racing Green body color, and the understated design is appealing, especially when the XE is parked next to a more extroverted machine, such as a new Lexus.

Who would have guessed, back in the 1990s or 2000s, that a Jag would look “understated” when parked next to a Lexus?

Lexus has its own way of describing its new design,

All Lexus vehicles have the power to catch the eye and turn heads. But they also capture and hold attention – because the more you look, the more you are drawn into the experience. Lexus designers, in fact, speak of “visual journeys.” Broad expanses of elegant bodywork flow into intriguing detail and dynamic changes of pace. Forthright boldness of expression fuses with compellingly poised composure. There is movement and, simultaneously, there is stillness.

Automakers get to use all the fancy words they want to describe their cars, but it’s the consumers who decide which designs stick around longer than a year or two.

Based on design alone, would you take home a Lexus RX 350 or a Jaguar F-PACE?


Find Certified Pre-Owned Cars and Used Cars in your area at CarGurus.

Used Lexus LS 400
Used Jaguar XE
Used Lexus RX 350
Used Jaguar F-PACE

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