2017 Lexus ES

Starting MSRP: $38,900 - $38,900

Estimated MPG: 21 city / 30 hwy

2017 Lexus ES Review

Though some might consider it an entry-level luxury sedan, the 2017 Lexus ES 350 delivers materials quality and feature content that's on par with what many top-tier competitors offer.

By Matt Keegan
Last Updated 06/15/2017

The Lexus ES 350 is a midsize luxury sedan that seats five and has front-wheel drive. A V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard. Lexus also offers the ES Hybrid, which is marketed separately.

Changes for 2017 include the addition of Scout GPS Link, a navigation app offering turn-by-turn route guidance. Lexus also updated the audio display and added a "back" button to the infotainment system’s Remote Touch controller. The most significant change is the addition of Lexus Safety System+ as standard equipment. That bundle brings in features that include a pre-collision system, adaptive cruise control and lane departure alert.

Exterior

Exterior
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The sheet metal of the Lexus ES 350 will look familiar to many, since it aligns closely with the brand's current design language. The front fascia features a large spindle-shaped grille and includes distinct L-shaped LED daytime running lights and stylish pockets for the fog lamps. Unique exterior sculpting amplifies this sedan’s sporty expression.

Standard 10-spoke, 17-inch wheels may be replaced with optional 18-inch alloy wheels. Side mirrors with turn signal indicators and puddle lamp illumination are standard, and heated mirrors are available.

All models are equipped with a power slide-and-tilt sunroof, and a larger panoramic sunroof is available. The sedan’s roofline flows to a raised rear deck marked by large wraparound taillights and chrome dual exhaust tips.

Interior

Interior
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The ES 350 offers excellent space for five people. Rear-seat legroom is plentiful, and headroom and hip room are also superior.

The interior utilizes high-end materials. The seats are covered in NuLuxe, a material that has the look and feel of leather. Authentic leather is available, along with wood trim.

Traditional circular dials are found within the instrument cluster and are supplemented by a digital driver’s information center. The console display is located within a recess carved into the dashboard and located immediately above the center stack. That stack features an analog clock, as well as buttons and switches for managing the audio and climate control systems.

The ES 350 features a list of standard amenities that includes an illuminated entry system, power accessories, personal lamps and a first aid kit. Available luxury upgrades include a heated wood-and-leather steering wheel, heated and ventilated seats, a power rear sunshade and a power trunk.

Trunk space measures 15.2 cubic feet, which is about average for this class. A standard rear center-seat pass-through connects the passenger compartment with the trunk.

Performance

Performance
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The ES comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard. This model is rated at an EPA-estimated 21/30 mpg city/highway.

Although the ES doesn't offer all-wheel drive like rivals such as the Buick LaCrosse, our test model supplied the capable performance most buyers expect in this segment. The ES 350 stays composed under full throttle acceleration. A soft ride and a quiet interior are hallmarks of this luxury sedan.

The driving dynamics may be adjusted by dialing the drive model select between Normal, Eco and Sport modes. The Eco and Sport modes operate at opposite ends of the spectrum with the latter adjusting the powertrain for faster and more vigorous throttle response. The steering is evenly weighted and quick to the touch, offering a surprisingly lively feel and interaction. The brakes were efficient, though the pedal at times had a somewhat spongy feel.

Technology

Technology
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Standard technologies in the 2017 ES 350 include an 8-inch touch-screen display, USB and audio plugs, a CD player, Bluetooth connectivity, an eight-speaker sound system, HD radio and satellite radio. Siri Eyes Free is also included. This feature provides hands-free access to certain amenities when paired with most late-model Apple iPhone products.

A Navigation package includes voice command and the Lexus Enform App Suite. Buyers can also choose a Navigation/Mark Levinson Premium Audio package, which bundles navigation with a 15-speaker surround sound system that supplies concert-like audio quality throughout the cabin.

All models are equipped with a remote touch controller, and this mouse-like device manages the audio and available navigation systems. The learning curve here may be steep for some users, and there’s always the danger of paying more attention to the screen than to the road ahead. Fortunately, Lexus also provides a robust voice recognition system that is accurate and not as distracting.

Safety

Safety
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The Lexus ES 350 supplies a generous complement of standard safety features, including a suite of airbags, stability and traction control and daytime running lights. The standard Lexus Safety System+ bundle of active safety features includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, high-speed dynamic radar cruise control, automatically adjusting high beams and lane departure warning with steering assist.

The 2017 ES scored a top five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the ES 350 its Top Safety Pick+ designation, with a top Superior rating for its crash avoidance technology.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The base 2017 Lexus ES costs $38,900, not including a $975 destination charge. Various package upgrades can add upwards of $10,000 to the final price.

Our test model was equipped with the Navigation/Mark Levinson Premium Audio package ($2,590). Our review vehicle also included the Luxury package ($1,670), which adds a full leather interior, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and memory settings for the driver’s seat and outside mirrors. Additional upgrades included 18-inch wheels ($880), blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert ($500), a panoramic sunroof ($500) and bi-LED headlamps ($515). Our final suggested price weighed in at $48,090.

Overall

Overall
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The 2017 Lexus ES offers a logical point of entry into the Lexus brand. For some, this car will be a gateway that ultimately leads to other, more expensive Lexus products. Still, though it's not the most deluxe Lexus available, the ES easily has the goods to serve as a happy end point for many shoppers.