Luxury means different things to different people, and the 2022 Lexus ES delivers a quiet, comfortable form of luxury that’s appealing to many. Although in theory it competes against premium sports sedans such as the Audi A6 and the Mercedes-Benz E-class, the ES forgoes the athleticism of its rivals and focuses solely being an effortless cruiser with a pleasant, well-dressed interior. The base model comes with a four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive, but a more powerful V-6 is optional, as is a fuel-efficient hybrid setup. No matter the powertrain, the ES is a smooth operator; its interior is lined with upscale materials, its seats are supportive and comfortable, and there’s plenty of tech for both driver-assistance and infotainment purposes. It might not have the moves of its sportier rivals, but it delivers just as much luxury and costs less as well.
What’s New for 2022?
Lexus has given the ES a light refresh for 2022, by tweaking the car’s headlamps, grille, and wheel designs. Inside, the 8.0- and 12.3-inch infotainment screens have been swapped out for touchscreens of the same size that are moved closer to the driver for easier access. The F Sport trim can now be ordered on the hybrid ES300h and includes a new Dynamic Handling package when ordered on the V-6–powered ES350. The ES’s suite of driver-assistance features—called Lexus Safety System+ 2.5—now includes pedestrian and cyclist detection, a new system that detects oncoming traffic in intersections, and a tweak to the adaptive cruise control system that slows the vehicle for sharp curves in the road.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We think upgrading to the ES350 with the Ultra Luxury package is worth it even though it increases the price significantly over the base model. The Ultra Luxury package adds special 18-inch wheels, semi-aniline leather upholstery, a hands-free power trunk lid, a power rear sunshade, a wood-and-leather steering wheel, and an adaptive suspension. To that, we’d add the Navigation package, which upgrades the infotainment display to the larger 12.3-inch setup and adds in-dash navigation and voice recognition.
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 ES350h 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. Even with this upgrade, though, 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 ES350h 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 ES350h, 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 2022 Lexus ES 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
- 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