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2012 Lexus ES 350 Photo
7.8
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by Bengt Halvorson
Deputy Editor, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$34,400
BASE MSRP
$36,725
Quick Take
The 2012 Lexus ES 350 is a great pick for those who want a lavish interior and the latest in-car tech, but place a priority on comfort over cornering performance. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features
Mileage

Okay, the Lexus ES isn't the most exciting luxury sedan money can buy

Motor Trend »

incorporates an even sleeker exterior that sets it apart from the boring world of midsize sedans

CNET »

harder than ever to distinguish from its larger and even more upscale sibling LS

The Auto Channel »

interior looks and feels like an antique compared to the contemporary LaCrosse

Edmunds' Inside Line »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$36,725 $36,725
MSRP $36,725
INVOICE $34,400 Browse used listings in your area
4-Door Sedan
Gas Mileage 19 mpg City/28 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas V6, 3.5L
EPA Class Compact
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 5
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style 4dr Car
See Detailed Specs »
7.8 out of 10
Browse Lexus ES 350 inventory in your area.

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The Basics:

The 2012 Lexus ES 350 stands as perhaps the most conservative vehicle in the luxury brand’s lineup—and really, one of the most conservative sedans on the market. With its smooth and quiet, yet responsive, feel—combined with a lavishly trimmed interior, an impressive feature set, and a price that’s affordable (for luxury shoppers), the ES 350 is one of the best choices for those who want to maximize comfort and luxury but don’t want a car that’s especially flashy or edgy-feeling.

Understated is probably the best way to sum up the ES 350’s design and styling. With modest roots—the Camry platform—the ES has a profile that’s conventional, almost plain. With a little more chrome and some careful finessing of the details inside and out, Lexus sharpened this sedan a couple of years ago, but overall even though it’s not sharp-edged, particularly rakish, or daring, the ES 350 looks very much like a luxury good.

Given that emphasis, it should come as no surprise that performance takes second stage to comfort—except in straight-line acceleration, where it doesn't interfere. It's in some ways the epitome of a classic luxury car—serene and soft, but not at all bouncy, with a powertrain that moves you along quickly but almost silently. The strong, 272-horsepower V-6 (which no longer requires premium fuel) is surprisingly responsive and satisfying in combination with the six-speed automatic transmission, and it can dash to 60 mph in just 6.8 seconds. Handling is competent and predictable, but the ES 350 steers with a light, detached feel and you'll feel no urge to drive it fast around corners, as there's lots of body roll and ample tire squeal. The steering's also a bit too light on center, which means you'll be making frequent adjustments on the highway.

That aside, the ES is an ideal Interstate cruiser—superbly isolated, and cushy without being too bouncy or wallowy. Seats aren't as supportive as you'll find in some German rivals (or from Cadillac, for that matter), but there's ample back-seat space. Factor in the impressive interior materials and trims—with walnut and maple wood trims, and supple and enveloping leather upholstery—and you have a true luxury-car interior good enough to impress discerning clients. Contrast-stitched leather upholstery is now standard, while the double-stitching, richer-looking wood and bright-chrome trims you get in the Ultra Luxury Package add some of the ambiance of the pricier LS.

As you might assume, the 2012 Lexus ES 350 comes with all the comfort-oriented luxury conveniences that shoppers might expect here. With the Ultra Luxury Package you also get perforated leather with heated and ventilated front seats, a panoramic glass roof, a power rear sunshade, and HID headlamps with adaptive cornering. With a nav system updated with satellite-radio subscription services, the Web-driven eDestination, and the Lexus Enform suite of services, there's plenty for the tech savvy, too. Bluetooth audio is part of the package, along with Bluetooth hands-free features, a USB port, and XM satellite radio.

Likes:

  • Comfortable ride and seating
  • Soft yet controlled ride
  • Classy interior trims
  • Strong powertrain
  • The Lexus dealership experience

Dislikes:

  • Bland exterior
  • Lack of driving feedback
Next: Interior / Exterior »
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