in 2011 Upscale Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $23,280 - $23,280
Original MSRP: $36,725 - $36,725
MPG: 19 City / 27 Hwy
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2011 Lexus ES Interior

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

Reviewers are very impressed with the 2011 Lexus ES’s cabin, saying it’s the number one reason shoppers should buy this 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. The high-class finishing is the perfect match for the ES’s well-equipped cabin. Both characteristics combine to make this interior a class leader.

  • “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 standard seats found in the 2011 ES are comfortable, reviewers say, and are made of a softer grade of leather than what many automakers use in their entry-level luxury cars. Few cars, however, can match the optional heated and cooled ventilated seats for less than $40,000. Some members of the press even say these optional seats are the best they’ve experienced. As for room, there is plenty of leg space, padding and support, but taller passengers may have limited head space.

The ES offers more passenger space than some of its sportier rivals, but the Buick Lacrosse and Hyundai Genesis offer more rear seat head- and leg-room. These are good options for shoppers who plan to transport family and friends frequently.

  • 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

Interior Features

Interior features and quality, not driving capabilities, make the Lexus ES a top notch luxury car. It’s one of the most comfortable and well-stocked available in this price range. Reviewers rave about the soft-grain leather and fine walnut trim that comes standard.

The ES features some of the most user-friendly electronics found in upscale midsize cars, but reviewers caution that many are optional, and adding them significantly increases the price. Lexus hasn’t listed pricing for the 2011 ES’s optional features yet, but in 2010, the automaker had two packages. The first was about $2,000, and the second was about $5,000. The cheaper option offers a lot less, but highlighted heated and ventilated seats and a wood and leather trimmed steering wheel and shift knob. The second option added a lot more, and included a navigation system, LCD color display, an integrated backup camera, enhanced Bluetooth technology and intuitive parking assist. This package bumps the ES up to about $40,000.

  • "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


Traditional upscale midsize cars sacrifice trunk space for sporty performance. The ES doesn’t have this problem. With 14.7 cubic feet of cargo room, the 2011 Lexus ES offers one of the largest trunks in the upscale midsize car class. However, reviewers aren’t as impressed with the trunk’s shape, which makes loading large items difficult.

  • "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