2020 Lexus ES 350 Review
  • Car Review

2020 Lexus ES 350 Review

By Autolist Editorial | November 24, 2020

Quick Facts:

Pros:

  • Luxurious interior with a focus on quality and details.
  • Great driving performance.
  • Attractive, sleek exterior styling.

Cons:

  • Rear seating has fewer adjustment features.
  • Infotainment features could be more user-friendly.
  • No all-wheel-drive option.

Would we buy one? Absolutely.

Vehicle Type: Four-door, five-seat luxury sedan.

Price Range: Base pricing starts at $39,900 MSRP going to $44,635 MSRP which includes a $1,025 destination charge. Pricing is before optional packages and upgrades.

Powertrain: A 3.5-liter, V6 engine making 302 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, paired to front-wheel-drive and 8-speed automatic transmission.

Competitors: Acura TLX, Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Genesis G70, Infiniti Q50, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Kia Stinger, Volvo S60, Lexus IS, Lincoln MKZ, and Alfa Romeo Giulia.

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Overall Score: 8.3/10

Safety Features: 8/10

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The Lexus ES 350 comes with a healthy amount of safety features shared across trim levels as standard. It includes forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, airbags, automatic high beams, and lane-keeping assistance.

Optional features such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are available.

The ES 350 is on par with most competitors when it comes to safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the ES 350 five out of five stars in crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a 'Top Safety Pick Plus.'


Value: 8/10

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The ES 350 is one of the longest-running sedan models in the Lexus family. It is upscale but has modest entry-level pricing and will be attractive to new car seekers, and the addition of the F-Sport trim gives sports enthusiasts something to consider.

There are four trim levels for the Lexus ES 350: ES 350, ES 350 Luxury, Lexus ES 350 Ultra Luxury, ES 350 F Sport.

The base model starts at $39,900 MSRP, $43,750 for the Ultra Luxury, and the F Sport starts at $44,635.

The new Lexus ES 350 F Sport can get a little pricey, but not overwhelmingly compared to some rivals in the segment. We liked the F Sport specs the best with the Adaptive Variable Suspension for adjustable driving modes and styles


Tech Features: 7/10

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Infotainment is fair in the ES models, but we agree with some owner reviews that the touchpad controller is not the most user-friendly. Even so, it offers infotainment system options like Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa, depending on trim levels and options chosen.

All trims come standard with Bluetooth, satellite radio, a premium audio system, WiFi, and automatic climate control.

Packages extend functionality with a navigation system, a head-up display, keyless entry, adjustable power front seats, and an optional Mark Levinson sound system.


Practicality: 7/10

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Even though the ES 350 is sporty, headroom and legroom are not sacrificed. However, one notable drawback is that the rear seats are not collapsible, so extra cargo storage will have to be sought in rivals if this is important to you.

The front bucket seats are comfortable, and the rear seats, which have increased legroom and headroom. Console storage is on the small side but okay for most small devices.

The trunk has 16.7 cubic feet, which is more than that of the Acura TLX.


Styling & Design: 8/10

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Lexus added a new F Sport trim to the ES models for the 2020 lineup with 19-inch alloy wheels and attractive styling.

A lower, more aggressive profile marks a slight change over previous model years of the Lexus ES 350.

Top-tier trims include leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, optional real wood grain interior paneling, and heated adjustable power front seats.


Driving Experience: 9/10

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As far as speed goes, the ES 350 has some get-up-and-go. With its powerful 3.5-liter V6, the Lexus ES 350 matches or surpasses much of the competition, with only possibly the Nissan Maxima being faster.

If you need more traction, competitors like the Acura TLX offer an all-wheel drivetrain option missing from the Lexus ES 350.

The suspension is supple, providing a smooth ride, and the ES 350 eases through corners without issue.

The quiet ride is something we enjoyed in the ES 350. Some competitors like the Toyota Camry are a bit noisier in the cabin, and the ES 350 offers a very driver-focused and pleasingly serene experience.


Fuel Efficiency: 8/10

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The ES 350 offers a sole powertrain delivering average gas mileage in a segment with some rivals that offer more engine configuration options like the fuel-efficient X. The fuel-saving Lexus ES 300h hybrid model is available for those who want a better overall fuel economy.

EPA estimated gas mileage 22/33/26 MPG city/hwy/combined for the 3.5-liter V6 engine with FWD.

The hybrid model, the Lexus ES 350 performs exceptionally well at a range of 43/44/44 mpg city/highway/combined, making it a top performer in the non-plug-in hybrid market.


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