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#1

in 2010 Upscale Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $14,129 - $14,129
Original MSRP: $34,120 - $34,120
MPG: 19 City / 27 Hwy
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2010 Lexus ES Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers often cite the interior of the Lexus ES as the best reason to consider buying the car. While sportier rivals like the BMW 3-Series and even the Lexus IS can strike some test drivers as a bit austere, the cabin of the ES would be at home in a more expensive car. Auto writers particularly praise the soft-grain leather and easy-to-use electronics, and say the cabin is one of the quietest in the automotive world even at highway speeds.

  • “The ES has one of the most comfortable and inviting interiors south of $40,000." -- Edmunds
  • “Faultless quality.” -- Car and Driver
  • “Though dull looking to some testers, wood trim, padded surfaces, and grained panels combine to create an upscale, if not quite opulent, cabin environment." -- Consumer Guide
  • ”The interior of the Lexus ES represents a quantum leap over pre-2007 models. The driving ambience is superb, with good sightlines, hooded instruments and crisp graphics, a 10-way power seat and standard tilt/telescope steering wheel. Fit and finish inside are exemplary.” -- New Car Test Drive

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Seating

The standard seats found in the 2010 ES are comfortable, reviewers say, featuring a softer grade of leather than what many automakers use in their entry-level luxury cars. The optional heated and cooled ventilated seats, however, are something few other cars can match at this price point. The ES offers more passenger space than some of its sportier rivals, but the Buick Lacrosse and Hyundai Genesis each offer more rear seat head- and leg-room, for those who routinely carry passengers in the rear seats.

  • Front "seats are nicely padded and contoured for set-and-forget support," while in the rear, “Three-across will be OK for short distances thanks to the soft padding and a nearly flat floorboard that makes the center position more comfortable than most competitors.” -- Consumer Guide
  • “The optional ventilated seats are among the best we've experienced." -- Edmunds
  • “The ES 350 is roomy and comfortable. It has as much rear head and shoulder room, and more rear legroom, than the 1990 LS 400, and its rear floor is flat and can accommodate large American feet under the seats.” -- New Car Test Drive

Interior Features

The interior of the Lexus ES is one of the most comfortable and luxurious available in this price range. Reviewers rave about the soft-grain leather and fine walnut trim that comes standard -- Lexus goes so far as to keep track of which batch of wood was used in the interior of each car, setting aside a portion for repairs so that any future repairs can be made with a matching grain.

The ES is available with some of the most user-friendly electronics found in an upscale midsize car, but reviewers caution that many are optional -- and adding them all adds significantly to the price. The Acura TL, for instance, has a higher starting price -- but a fully-equipped TL can cost less than a fully-equipped ES. The available touchscreen, voice-activated navigation system and 14-speaker Mark Levinson Surround Sound Audio System earn particular praise.

Shoppers test driving a number of upscale midsize cars might notice that the ES does not offer a single user-interface system that controls all of its climate and entertainment functions -- something most of its competition now offers. Some reviewers view this as a mark in the car’s favor, since separate controls for each system are often easier to understand than a single device that controls them all. This may, however, be the last year that the ES is offered without one. Lexus has developed its own system to rival BMW’s iDrive and Audi’s MMI. The device is offered on many 2010 Lexus products, and may appear in the 2011 ES as well.

  • "The large gauges are clearly marked. The steering wheel spoke hides the windshield wiper stalk, and the rain-sensing wiper function is frustratingly inconsistent. The navigation system absorbs some audio and climate controls, requiring familiarization." -- Consumer Guide
  • “Materials quality is absolutely top-shelf and the available features list is more like what you would find in something costing $60,000.” -- Edmunds
  • The optional Mark Levinson stereo "should impress even the geekiest audiophiles." -- Automobile Magazine

Cargo

Upscale midsize cars, with their traditional emphasis on sporty performance, often feature trunks smaller than those of more affordable cars. The ES doesn’t have that problem. It offers one of the largest trunks in the upscale midsize car class, with more than 14 cubic feet of space. Reviewers aren’t as impressed with interior storage space -- but we can’t think of an entry-level luxury car that consistently earns high marks for interior storage, and Lexus has increased the size of the center console’s storage compartment for the 2010 model year.

  • "Sickle-shaped trunklid hinges impede on the otherwise roomy and usefully shaped trunk. Liftover is low, but the opening is cramped for loading bulky boxes. The rear seatback has a pass-through opening. Cabin storage is just adequate." -- Consumer Guide