in 2012 Upscale Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $26,963 - $26,963
Original MSRP: $36,725 - $36,725
MPG: 19 City / 28 Hwy
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2012 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 2012 Lexus ES 350’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 leather and easy-to-use electronics. Both characteristics combine to make this interior a class leader.

  • "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 ES comes standard with leather-trimmed seating, which matches nicely with the real walnut or maple accents." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The ES' interior was so beautiful that I found myself fearing what my brood would do to it during our test drive. Luckily, it was as sturdy as it was sparkly." -- Mother Proof 


Critics say the standard seats found in the 2012 ES are comfortable, featuring a softer grade of leather than what many automakers use in their entry-level luxury cars. Additionally, some test drivers say the optional climate-controlled front seats are the best they’ve experienced. They note that there is plenty of leg space, padding and support, but taller passengers may have limited headroom.

  • "Tall occupants will complain of too little headroom beneath the housing from the standard sunroof or panoramic sunroof. Legroom is generous, though." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Space is plentiful throughout the ES 350, with roomy rear seats." -- Edmunds 
  • "Although the ES 350 may not be the first thought when purchasing a family vehicle, the 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat leaves more than enough head and legroom to accommodate two average adults or three children." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The roofline was so low that my 9-month-old developed a permanent bruise on her forehead from me hitting her head on the door frame every time I tried to maneuver her out of her child-safety seat. Sorry 'bout that, baby." -- Mother Proof 

Interior Features

Interior features and quality make the 2012 Lexus ES a top-notch luxury car. Reviewers rave about the soft leather and upscale walnut trim that comes standard, saying that the ES 350 has one of the nicest interiors in its price range.

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. While most test drivers appreciate the ES 350’s dash layout and clear gauges, one reviewer notes that the windshield wiper controls could use improvement.

  • "The large gauges are clearly marked. The steering wheel spoke hides the windshield wiper stalk, and the rain-sensing wiper function is frustratingly inconsistent." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The control and switchgear layouts are ergonomic and easy to use, though the white-on-black electroluminescent main gauges are better seen in bright sunlight than the center stack display." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The touch-screen made access to the navigation system a breeze, which made my driving experience much safer. I was no longer forced to rely on my smartphone to navigate through the Los Angeles' convoluted freeway system. This left my hands free to drive." -- Mother Proof 


With 14.7 cubic feet of cargo space, the 2012 Lexus ES has 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. One reviewer also notes that the ES lacks sufficient cupholders and storage cubbies for family use.

  • "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 seat back has a pass-through opening." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Folding rear seats and a cargo pass-through also allow for the transport of longer items." -- Edmunds 
  • "While the ES 350 was luxurious, its lack of some family-friendly features such as sufficient cupholders and storage compartments had me questioning just who their target market was for this midsize sedan." -- Mother Proof