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The Lexus ES mid-size luxury sedan excels in comfort and offers buyers a much lower starting price than ostensible competitors like the

Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-class. That’s because it’s a Toyota Camry underneath, with sleeker styling and posh interior furnishings. In our testing, we’ve found its performance and driving character underwhelming and called it a “rolling Xanax pill”—a backhanded compliment of sorts for the way it isolates its driver and passengers from the bumps, thumps, and harsh noises of the outside world. The ES’s cabin is one of the more comfortable in the segment, its powertrains are silken and quiet, and its ride is soothingly smooth. It’s simply not a car for people who love to drive. But it can be a car for people who love to save fuel: the 300h hybrid model returned 45 mpg on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test.

Where This Vehicle Ranks

What’s New for 2023?

For the 2023 model year, Lexus introduces a new F Sport Handling package for ES350 and ES300h models along with a few new interior accouterments. The F Sport Handling package is similar to the Dynamic Handling package that was available last year–which was then exclusive to ES350 F Sport models. It includes an adaptive suspension with Sport+ and custom drive modes in addition to a heated, F Sport-branded steering wheel. Buyers can now also pair a panoramic roof with the F Sport Design package. On the inside, the ES sees new Ash Bamboo trim, a new Macadamia upholstery color (light tan), and an updated center console design, garnished with a sunglass holder, a revised cup holder location, and a new sport for the wireless charger pad. The Lexus Interface infotainment system has also been added to the ES, bringing with it wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Drive Connect Capability with Cloud Navigation, Hey Lexus intelligent assist software, and the subscription-based Destination Assist service. We’re happy to report that the addition of this new multimedia system results in the deletion of the Remote Touch Interface—the fussy touch pad located on the center console.

Pricing and Which One to Buy







ES350 F Sport


ES250 F Sport


ES350 Luxury


ES250 Luxury


ES300h F Sport


ES300h Luxury


ES350 Ultra Luxury


ES250 Ultra Luxury


ES300h Ultra Luxury


While we’re always weighing whether to recommend a car’s sportiest version or a high-value mid-grade trim, in this case, we think upgrading to the ES350 with Ultra Luxury equipment is most in keeping with the sedan’s mission and core capabilities as a luxury sedan. The Ultra Luxury designation adds special 18-inch wheels, quilted semi-aniline leather upholstery, a hands-free power trunk lid, a power rear sunshade, and a wood-and-leather steering wheel. It also requires the addition of the Navigation package, which upgrades the infotainment display to the larger 12.3-inch setup and adds in-dash navigation, an electrochromic rearview mirror, a DVD player, voice recognition, and the automaker’s Enform Destination Assist service.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The Lexus ES gives buyers a choice of three powertrains. The ES250 is powered by a 203-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and comes standard with all-wheel drive. All ES350 trims come with a 3.5-liter V-6 that generates 302 horsepower and is governed by an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels. With all ES350h trims, motivation comes from a hybrid powertrain that provides a net output of 215 horsepower; a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive are standard. At our test track, the gas-only ES350 sprinted from a standstill to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. The all-wheel drive ES250 and the hybrid ES300h both made the dash in a more leisurely 8.1 and 8.3 seconds, respectively. This Lexus sedan exhibits the composed handling and forgiving ride quality that’s cherished by many luxury-car shoppers. For those seeking keener handling, the F Sport trim adds larger wheels and suspension tuning that’s more performance-oriented, but hardly enthralling. The ES400h F Sport we tested got to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, so there is an advantage there, but only just. Even with this upgrade, the ES is less athletic than competing models such as the BMW 5-series.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

According to the EPA, mileage for the Lexus ES350 tops out at 22/32 mpg city/highway. As you’d expect, the ES300h hybrid is even more frugal, achieving mileage of 43/44 mpg. The EPA’s fuel economy estimates for the new ES250 are 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. During our time with an ES350, we observed mileage of 39 mpg during highway driving at 75 mph over the course of 200 miles. With the ES300h, we observed fuel economy of 45 mpg on the same test route and with the ES250 we observed 33 mpg. For more information about the ES’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

With its stylish, asymmetrical dash and high-quality materials, the ES’s cabin creates a plush environment for passengers. Both rows offer enough legroom for the long-legged, and the seats provide comfortable support. Notably, the cabin is unfailingly peaceful, even when the ES is being driven at highway speeds. Both gas-only and hybrid models provide 17.0 cubic feet of room in the trunk, and this gives the ES more cargo space than rivals such as the Volvo S90 (14.0 cubic feet) and Acura TLX (14.0 cubic feet). Unfortunately, the ES isn’t available with a folding rear seat. This makes it difficult for this Lexus to accommodate outsize cargo.

Infotainment and Connectivity

Luxury car buyers look for vehicles offering the latest and greatest tech features, and the Lexus ES sedan doesn’t disappoint. It comes standard with a touchscreen infotainment system with a standard 8.0-inch central display, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability are onboard to provide hassle-free device integration; a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen is optional. All models come with a 10-speaker sound system equipped with SiriusXM satellite radio. The list of standard tech amenities also includes Amazon Alexa compatibility, Bluetooth phone and music streaming, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and Scout GPS Link navigation.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

All ES models come standard with Lexus’s Safety System+ 2.5, which includes driver-assistance features such as pedestrian and cyclist detection, automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitoring. For more information about the ES’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keep assistance
  • Standard adaptive cruise control

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Lexus provides longer warranty coverage than rivals such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz. However, it trails Genesis in this area, which offers one of the best warranties in the segment.

  • Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers 6 years or 70,000 miles
  • Complimentary maintenance is covered for 1 year or 10,000 miles
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2021 Lexus ES250 AWD F-Sport

front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

$53,500 (base price: $46,825)

DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, port and direct fuel injection
152 in3, 2487 cm3
203 hp @ 6500 rpm
184 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

8-speed automatic

Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 12.0-in vented disc/11.1-in disc
Tires: Michelin Primacy MXM4, 235/40R-19 92V M+S

Wheelbase: 113.0 in
Length: 195.9 in
Width: 73.4 in
Height: 57.1 in
Passenger volume: 98 ft3
Trunk volume: 14 ft3
Curb weight: 3776 lb

60 mph: 8.1 sec
100 mph: 21.5 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 8.7 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.9 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.6 sec
1/4 mile: 16.2 sec @ 88 mph
Top speed (C/D est): 130 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 167 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.86 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.

Observed: 23 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 33 mpg
Highway range: 520 miles

2023 Lexus ES300h F Sport Handling

Vehicle Type: front-engine, front-motor, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

Base/As Tested: $50,085/$54,345

DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 2.5-liter inline-4, 176 hp, 163 lb-ft; 2 permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors, 118 hp, 149 lb-ft; combined output, 215 hp; 0.9-kWh (C/D est) lithium-ion battery pack
Transmission: continuously variable automatic

Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 12.0-in vented disc/11.1-in disc
Tires: Michelin Primacy MXM4
235/40R-19 92V M+S

Wheelbase: 113.0 in
Length: 195.9 in
Width: 73.4 in
Height: 56.9 in
Passenger Volume, F/R: 51/46 ft3
Trunk Volume: 14 ft3
Curb Weight: 3793 lb

60 mph: 7.9 sec
1/4-Mile: 16.2 sec @ 89 mph
100 mph: 20.7 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.4 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 8.0 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.8 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 5.0 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 117 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 178 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.86 g

Observed: 33 mpg

Combined/City/Highway: 44/43/44 mpg


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