Dec
20
2019 Lexus ES 350

2019 Lexus ES 350 in Sunlit Green

Quick Spin

2019 Lexus ES 350 Ultra Luxury

Class: Premium Midsize Car

Miles driven: 424

Fuel used: 17.8 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 23.8 mpg

Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortA-
Power and PerformanceB
Fit and FinishA-
Fuel EconomyB
ValueA
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyA
Tall GuyB
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs302-hp 3.5L
Engine TypeV6
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Drive WheelsFront-wheel drive

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 22/33/26 (city/highway/combined)

Fuel type: Regular gas

Base price: $43,150 (not including $1025 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Blind-spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, intuitive parking assist w/ auto braking, rear pedestrian detection, panoramic-view monitor ($1900), wireless charger ($75), 18-inch alloy noise-reduction wheels ($950), head-up display ($500), Mark Levinson premium audio system with 12.3-inch display, Apple CarPlay, auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, navigation ($3000), heated wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel, windshield-wiper de-icer, fast-response interior heater ($480), illuminated door sills ($379)

Price as tested: $51,459

 

Quick Hits

The great: Satisfying V6 acceleration, generous level of comfort and safety features for the price

The good: Ride quality, quietness, visibility

The not so good: Complicated control layout, rear seat backs don’t fold down to expand the cargo area

More ES price and availability information

 

CG Says:

We’ve covered the entire redesigned-for-2019 Lexus ES lineup in our First Spin report, along with specific Chicago-area Test Drives of the performance-oriented F Sport and economy-focused 300h hybrid in subsequent reviews, so we invite you to read those for more details. But here we’re looking at the bread-and-butter model of the lineup, the ES 350.

2019 Lexus ES 350

A lot of people commented — positively — on our tester’s Sunlit Green paint. Photos don’t really do it justice; you have to see it in sunlight.

Two elements of the 2019 Lexus ES 350 are rather rare for the premium-midsize class: its standard V6 engine — of 3.5 liters and 302 horsepower — and the fact it only comes in front-wheel-drive form. Also rare is that it doesn’t offer Android Auto compatibility, but does have Apple CarPlay — and a CD player.

Aside from that, this is really the quintessential premium-midsize sedan.

Cool Color: Lexus Sunlit Green

2019 Lexus ES 350

Good and … not so good. While we liked the large dash screen with its 180-degree rearview camera and our tester’s optional 360-degree one, we found it can be a really long reach to the front door handle.

Quiet, quick, spacious, pleasant riding, and loaded with features, the Lexus ES 350 defines what a luxury car is supposed to be — at least when equipped like our tester. In addition to the extensive list of standard features, this Ultra Luxury version came with such upscale niceties as 14-way power drivers seat with 4-way lumbar and seat-cushion extension with memory (that also includes the power steering-wheel setting, a great touch), heated and ventilated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, hands-free power trunklid (you swipe your foot under the rear bumper to open or close — no more dirty hands), and a power rear sunshade and manual rear-door ones. Added as options were blind-spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert (which really should be standard), rear obstacle detection with rear automatic braking, parking assist, and 360-degree cameras with “rotating” view, all included in a $1900 option package. Other notable options included Qi wireless charging (which for $75, also seemed as though it should be standard), a large 10.2-inch head-up display, heated wood-rimmed steering wheel, wiper de-icers, fast-response interior heater, and a $3000 Mark Levinson audio system with navigation. A few other options pushed the bottom line to over $51,000, but that’s for a very nice, very loaded vehicle.

First Spin: 2018 Acura TLX

2019 Lexus ES 350

Inside there’s spacious and luxurious accommodations, but we’ve never much liked the console touch pad that controls most infotainment settings.

Yet not all is rosy. None of our editors were particularly fond of the console-touchpad infotainment controller (the large dash screen is not a touchscreen) as it’s rather cumbersome to use. Ditto the climate controls, which consist of repetitive-step pushbuttons, though at least they’re easy to reach. Also, most sedans allow the rear seat backs to be folded to expand the cargo area, but this one doesn’t — though it does have a ski pass-through. Cabin storage space could be better, with the most notable culprit being a small glovebox, though there is a handy (but small) left-side dash bin, along with a largish console box with a lid that can be opened from either side — a really thoughtful touch. Another negative is that if the front doors are opened anywhere close to wide, the door handles are a really long reach away.

Test Drive: 2019 Audi A7

2019 Lexus ES 350

Handy: The center-console lid opens from either side.

But from there, the ES 350 fares well. The engine provides a strong jump off the line, and it combines with the transmission’s fairly quick kickdowns to make the ES feel very responsive in traffic. (This kind of performance used to be de rigueur in the premium-midsize class, but now that many rivals have switched to small 4-cylinder turbos as the standard engine, it isn’t.) The ride is short of plush but still comfortable, and it’s also quiet. Passenger space is enough that 6-footers should be able to sit in tandem, though a center-seater in back will have to contend with a large driveline hump.

Test Drive: 2019 Volvo S60 T6

The bottom line is that the ES has long been a Consumer Guide Best Buy, and the 2019 redesign carries on that tradition. (Spoiler alert: it continues as such for 2020 as well. — Ed). As long as you don’t need all-wheel drive, this is one of the best all-around luxury sedans you can get.

2019 Lexus ES 350

The Lexus ES is the definitive premium midsize car — and long has been. It offers a combination of style, comfort, strong dynamics, and value pricing that is really hard to beat.

Check out our Premium Midsize Car Best Buys

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2019 Lexus ES 350