While Lexus continues to expand in new directions with compact crossovers and high-performance flagship vehicles to bring new customers to the brand, the ES mid-size remains an integral part of the lineup. One of the two original cars the Lexus brand launched with back in 1990, today's ES continues to offer comfort, refinement, and a roomy cabin at a reasonable price.
The ES is available in gasoline (ES 350) and hybrid (ES 300h) forms; the hybrid is reviewed separately.
For 2017, all versions of the ES 350 gain rain-sensing wipers, reverse camera, and the Lexus Safety System+ as standard. The latter includes radar-based cruise control with emergency autonomous braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, as well as automatic high beams. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert cost extra, though. The ES was just updated last year with freshened styling inside and out.
Sharing its platform with the Toyota Avalon, the ES 350 has an impressive amount of rear legroom and can easily accommodate six-foot-tall passengers. Front passengers have plenty of space too, and face a well-organized dashboard complete with an analog clock. While the ES's trunk is competitive with others in the segment, it oddly does not offer a split-folding rear seat. A pass-through is standard.
The ES 350 is powered by a 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 - no fancy direct injection or turbos here, just creamy-smooth power delivery. Engine output is 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque, which is delivered to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic. One of three drive modes can be selected via a rotary knob by the transmission - Eco, Normal, and Sport. The easy-going nature of the ES's powertrain is a good match for the effortless and isolating nature of its driving experience, which includes an absorbent ride and steering that's largely free of feel.
There's no shortage of competition, though; the ES faces stiff competition from the likes of the Genesis G80 and Lincoln MKZ, Acura TLX. If a premium badge isn't a necessity, models like the Nissan Maxima, or the just-redesigned Buick LaCrosse and Kia Cadenza could be worth considering, both of which offer plenty of interior space and amenities.
The ES 350 is offered in three trim levels: standard, Touring, and Executive.
The standard trim level receives 10-way power adjustable front seats with heating and ventilation trimmed in NuLuxe synthetic leather, an 8.0-inch infotainment screen with Remote Touch controller, proximity key with push-button start, LED headlamps, Siri Eyes-Free control for iPhone, USB, and Bluetooth.
The Touring Package adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, heated leather and wood-wrapped steering wheel, power tilt and telescoping steering column, power rear window sunshade, wood trim, DVD player, navigation, LED high beams, and driver seat memory.
The Executive Package adds rear door sunshades, 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, panoramic sunroof, power operated trunk, LED ambient lighting, variable cushion length driver's seat, and passenger seat memory.
Pricing for the base ES 350 starts at $43,100.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed