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#15

in Upscale Midsize Cars

MSRP: $36,620 - $36,620
Invoice: $34,300 - $34,300
MPG: 21 City / 31 Hwy
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Lexus ES Review

The 2014 Lexus ES ranks 15 out of 22 Upscale Midsize Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Lexus ES, as well as reliability and safety data.

Automotive critics say the 2014 Lexus ES offers room to stretch out and cloud-like comfort, but rival cars are significantly more exciting to drive.

Test drivers report that the ES 350 has a refined V6 engine that offers ample power. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard and test drivers say it makes good use of the engine’s power, though they acknowledge that rivals like the Audi A4 have quicker, more sophisticated transmissions. The ES gets an EPA-estimated 21/31 mpg city/highway, which is better than most V6-powered rivals’ fuel economy estimates. Reviewers say that vague steering means the Lexus ES isn’t very engaging to drive. However, they say it delivers on Lexus’ promise of comfort with a quiet, composed ride.

Reviewers say the 2014 Lexus ES 350’s interior is finely crafted and feels luxurious. The cabin is very quiet thanks to premium insulation, they add. The front seats are well-bolstered and comfy and the rear seats are incredibly roomy. The Lexus ES comes standard with a moonroof, an eight-speaker CD audio system, a USB/iPod interface, Bluetooth phone connectivity, satellite radio and a HomeLink programmable garage door opener. Optional features include parking sensors, a backup camera, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, lane departure alert, an upgraded stereo with surround sound, a panoramic moonroof, a power rear sunshade and voice command navigation. Reviewers say the available infotainment and navigation systems have a controller that’s difficult to use, and that many audio and entertainment functions are inaccessible when the ES is in motion.

  • "Meanwhile, the Acura TL, Buick LaCrosse, Chrysler 300 and Hyundai Genesis all pretty much match the ES 350's interior room and amenities. In addition, the 300 and Genesis typically cost less when comparably equipped. Although the 2014 Lexus ES 350 doesn't have any significant advantages over these rivals, it remains a fine choice for a comfort-oriented premium sedan." -- Edmunds
  • “BMW may make a sportier handling sedan and Audi may have a more opulent interior, but the ES's reputation for bulletproof reliability and resale speaks volumes about what matters most to luxury car buyers. A modest but capable V6 (in the ES 350), respectable handling and a long list of luxury features are the ES strengths. …" -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The enthusiast driver is likely to examine the 2013 Lexus ES and decide that it doesn't offer enough driving engagement. Sportier, similarly sized choices are available in the same price range, and even within the Lexus family, the pricier GS is a much better driver's car." -- AutoWeek (2013)
  • “Characterizing an ES has always been like trying to distinguish the flavors in oatmeal - a porcelain bowl of it from room service at the Hyatt, but oatmeal nonetheless." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "For us, though, the more aggressive styling and well-appointed interior just aren't enough to change our opinion of this, our least-favorite Lexus. It's a step forward from the outgoing car, but those sporty characteristics are only skin-deep." -- Autoblog (2013)

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Other Cars to Consider

If you’d like a smaller car that’s more fun to drive, reviewers say that the Cadillac ATS is one of the most agile sport sedans in the class. The ATS is available with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine matched to a slick manual transmission that test drivers say is fun to shift.

Like the ES, the Acura TL has a powerful V6 engine, and reviewers praise the TL for its firm, yet comfortable, ride. Leather upholstery and heated front seats require an upgrade in the Lexus ES, but are standard in the Acura TL.

Compare the ES 350, ATS and TL »

Details: 2014 Lexus ES

The 2014 Lexus ES 350 seats five and comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and front-wheel drive. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. Only one trim is offered, though a number of packages are available. The Lexus ES 350 was redesigned for 2013 and sees few changes for the 2014 model year. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from 2013 and the current model year.

See the full 2014 Lexus ES 350 specs »

Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

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