Research

2015 Lexus ES 350 Review

Shopping for a new Lexus ES 350?
See exclusive deals in your area

The Car Connection Expert Rating Breakdown?

8.2
on a scale of 1 to 10
Styling
7.0
Expert Rating
Performance
7.0
Expert Rating
Comfort & Quality
10
Expert Rating
Safety
9.0
Expert Rating
Features
8.0
Expert Rating
Fuel Economy
9.0
Expert Rating

The Car Connection Expert Review

The 2015 Lexus ES is the one of the best luxury cars for those who still have practical considerations like back-seat space and ride comfort; and the 300h Hybrid model is quite the counterpoint to much more expensive 'green luxury' models.

The 2015 Lexus ES 350 and ES 330h hybrid are comfort-oriented luxury sedans based on the Toyota Avalon architecture (rather than, a few years ago, the Camry). With a major redesign just a couple of model years ago they gained more engaging road manners, a more interesting shape, and improved technology features. The lineup especially gets its reason for being in the smooth, high-mileage hybrid model, as we see it. 

Overall, the ES serves as a softer, more comfort-minded counterpoint to the performance-oriented IS and GS sport sedans in the Lexus lineup. Yet the ES family does a decent job of appeasing both the comfort-oriented luxury shoppers and the ones who expect a little more savvy and sophistication than the Lexus they're trading in. Serious driving enthusiasts will pass the ES by on the way to the IS or GS (or another sharp sport sedan like the BMW 3-Series), but for the vast majority of luxury shoppers, both the V-6 ES 350 or the ES 300h hybrid feel quick and responsive.

There is, in all fairness, a difference in how the two ES models accelerate; the V-6 models are still the quickest and smoothest, surely, but the ES 300h—which pairs a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine with an electric motor-generator system—is surprisingly vivid. Lexus' Drive Select gets Eco and Power modes, and you have a choice in how the hybrid system responds, and there's even now an EV-only mode. The new ES 300h returns an EPA 40 mpg city, 39 highway (much better than the ES 350's 21/31), so the real payoff really comes at the pump.

The overall appearance of the ES family remains conservative; but with last year's redesign, including the new hourglass ('spindle') grille and a few more curves at the rear flanks, the ES is no longer an accessory to slab-sided boredom. Inside, the ES got even more of a makeover, with a new  shelf-like horizontal design of the dash yielding more airiness; pushing the corners outward help with the sense of space for those in front, too. And in between, the navigation system's screen fits nicely mid-contour. Overall, it feels a lot like what Lexus has done to its IS and GS sport sedans, but with a little more elegance and spaciousness. 

Interior space is one of the ES sedans' strengths, as while it's a mid-size car on the outside, its wheelbase is now that of a large car—which really pays off in space for those in the back seat. There's now enough room for three adults back there, if you need it, while in front, for the first time, Lexus is offering an available extendable thigh support for taller drivers (cushions are longer, too). The ride itself is firmer than that of the last-generation ES, but altogether Lexus does a better job than ever in isolating out noise from the wind, road, and engine (except for a little engine noise when accelerating in the 300h).

Active-safety features, such as Rear Cross Traffic Alert and a Pre Collision System, are part of the ES sedans' standard feature set; and it offers all sorts of technology and convenience extras, most as part of packages. There's a hard-drive-based navigation system with voice command, Mark Levinson audio, upgraded leather and trims (or NuLuxe seats that can be heated and ventilated), a built-in backup camera system, and a next-generation Enform with apps. The Remote Touch is the only down side to stepping up to this setup, as its awkward, mouse-like controller has you follow a pointer on the screen.

For 2015, a backup camera is now part of the standard Display Audio system; There's also a new Lexus Enform Remote app that allows you to remotely locate your vehicle or use features like remote starting and unlocking; Lexus has also partnered with Apple to offer 'Siri Eyes Free Mode' for a streamlined set of controls for iPhone users, and the navigation system now has an expanded feature set with 3D maps, predictive traffic, and improved voice commands.

The Car Connection Consumer Review

2 Reviews
5 star
50%
4 star
50%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
2015 Lexus ES 350 4-Door Sedan Crafted Line

Great car, but I don't think I will ever fully understand the navigation/ information system.

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
Like everything but the navigation/information system. A little more road noise then I expected, but that might be from the low profile wheels. Need a four wheel drive version, that would seal the deal for... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
2015 Lexus ES 350 4-Door Sedan

I LOVE this car

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
I've owned many cars in my lifetime, and by far this is the best car I've ever owned. Not only do I feel safe, but it's comfortable and luxurious. It's large enough to haul 4 teenagers around, and they all... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
Friday, April 17, 2015
For 2014 Lexus ES 350

wolf in sheep's clothing

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
The finest car I have ever driven. Rock solid,comfortable, and fast enough to jeopardize my drivers license.
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
See all user reviews »
Looking for other models of the Lexus ES 350?
Read reviews & get prices
Compare the 2015 Lexus ES 350 against the competition
Compare All Cars