The Lexus ES is a front-wheel drive midsize car. Along with the Lexus IS and CT 200h hybrid, the ES provides an affordable gateway to Toyota’s luxury brand. The Lexus ES 350 was introduced in 2007, though the ES model line reaches back to 1990.
2013 to Present: Lexus ES 350
The sixth-generation Lexus ES arrived on the market in 2013. Lexus identifies the engine powering its models within the model name. Thus, the 350 represents a 3.5-liter V6 engine. The ES 330, sold from 2004 to 2006, has a 3.3-liter V6 engine. All models from 1992 to 2003 had a 3.0-liter V6 and were known as the ES 300.
The 3.5-liter V6 engine makes 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. It comes paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The ES 350 is EPA-rated at 21/31 mpg city/highway.
A 2015 refresh gave the ES a more aggressive look, as the sedan assumed the brand’s updated design language marked by a spindle (hourglass) grille. From front to back, the ES 350 received a more upscale look, aligning this once sedate sedan with the more elegant Lexus GS and LS models.
Along with the spindle grille, the ES 350 is marked by wraparound headlamps with LED accent lights, as well as oversized embrasures on both sides of the lower grille for the fog lamps. The sedan’s profile has a swept back roofline, an upper character line and lower body sculpting. A deck spoiler, wraparound combination lamps with LED accents, a chrome embellishment and fog lamps are at the rear.
The Lexus ES 350 offers 100.1 cubic feet of passenger volume and 15.2 cubic feet of cargo volume. Power-adjustable front seats and a rear bench seat with a center pass through to the trunk are included. Wood and metal accents are found throughout the cabin.
The ES 350 is a one trim level model with various package upgrades available. Standard equipment includes Bluetooth, satellite radio, a USB port, an analog clock and a digital driver’s information center. A rearview camera and a touch-screen audio system became standard for the 2015 model year.
Individual factory options or package upgrades are available, including driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring. A Premium package brings in additional wood trim, leather seats and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Ventilated front seats, embossed leather trim, ambient lighting and a panoramic sunroof are also available.
Other models to consider include the Acura TLX, Lincoln MKZ, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and Infiniti Q50. The Buick LaCrosse also compares favorably to the Lexus ES 350.
Earlier Lexus ES Models
The fifth-generation ES sedan made its debut in 2007. Based on the underpinnings of the Toyota Camry, the sedan continued as Lexus’ answer to Buick. A 3.5-liter V6 engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. This model is EPA-rated at 19/28 mpg city/highway. Offered in one trim level, a luxury package brings in high-intensity headlamps, Bluetooth connectivity, a power rear sunshade and a panoramic sunroof. Navigation and a Mark Levinson audio system are individual upgrades.
From 2004 to 2006, an ES 330 sedan replaced the previous ES 300. This sedan was essentially a refresh of the fourth-generation model introduced two years earlier, with the larger engine paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. This model makes 210 horsepower and is EPA-rated at 18/27 mpg city/highway. A luxury package adds leather seats, a Mark Levinson audio system and a voice-activated navigation system.