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2017 Lexus ES 350

$29,336 — $48,257 NEW and USED
Sedan
5 Seats
25 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 1 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Interior design
  • Bright instruments
  • No touch-sensitive panels
  • App-compatible multimedia system

The Bad

  • Overpowering spindle grille
  • Remote Touch interface
  • Leather upholstery not standard
  • Unremarkable hybrid gas mileage estimates
2017 Lexus ES 350 exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2017 Lexus ES 350
  • Lexus Safety System Plus now standard
  • Five-seat midsize luxury sedan
  • 268-hp V-6 engine standard
  • Front-wheel drive
  • ES 300h hybrid version available

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

by Joe Bruzek - The Verdict:

The 2017 Lexus ES 350 remains a hallmark of entry-level luxuriousness despite getting only minor changes for 2017.

Versus The Competition:

The ES 350 is more of a practical luxury choice than a sporty one.

The 2017 Lexus ES 350 is about as safe a bet as you can make. Buyers will find expected amounts of luxuriousness, a perfectly plain but comfortable ride, and enough style to stand out without being polarizing. For 2017, a number of advanced safety features were added as standard equipment — for not much of a price increase.

The luxury landscape is changing now that Hyundai has launched Genesis as its own brand in the budget luxury space and the redesigned 2017 Buick LaCrosse benchmarked the ES 350's ride and handling — to great success. Compare the Lexus with the Genesis G80, LaCrosse and a more traditional compact luxury offering, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, here.

The ES 350 is good, but are its changes for 2017 enough to keep up with the competition?

Exterior & Styling

Lexus updated the ES 350 for 2016 with more defined front styling. That minor change hit all the right marks, giving the ES 350 more on-the-road presence, with a larger version of the hourglass grille, updated headlights, foglights and edgier styling. The ES 350’s last full redesign was for the 2013 model year.

How It Drives

Sportiness is not the Lexus ES 350’s strongest characteristic; in fact, it doesn’t do sport well at all. You may think that’s a knock against a car priced in a range that preaches sportiness (BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4), but the ES 350’s casual ride quality is refreshing. Lexus hasn’t ruined the way the ES 3...

by Joe Bruzek -

The 2017 Lexus ES 350 is about as safe a bet as you can make. Buyers will find expected amounts of luxuriousness, a perfectly plain but comfortable ride, and enough style to stand out without being polarizing. For 2017, a number of advanced safety features were added as standard equipment — for not much of a price increase.

The luxury landscape is changing now that Hyundai has launched Genesis as its own brand in the budget luxury space and the redesigned 2017 Buick LaCrosse benchmarked the ES 350's ride and handling — to great success. Compare the Lexus with the Genesis G80, LaCrosse and a more traditional compact luxury offering, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, here.

The ES 350 is good, but are its changes for 2017 enough to keep up with the competition?

Exterior & Styling

Lexus updated the ES 350 for 2016 with more defined front styling. That minor change hit all the right marks, giving the ES 350 more on-the-road presence, with a larger version of the hourglass grille, updated headlights, foglights and edgier styling. The ES 350’s last full redesign was for the 2013 model year.

How It Drives

Sportiness is not the Lexus ES 350’s strongest characteristic; in fact, it doesn’t do sport well at all. You may think that’s a knock against a car priced in a range that preaches sportiness (BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4), but the ES 350’s casual ride quality is refreshing. Lexus hasn’t ruined the way the ES 350 cruises down the highway by trying to make it handle well. For those who want more of a fun-to-drive car in this price range, Lexus has its IS sedan.

The front-wheel-drive-only ES 350 has a 268-horsepower V6 that’s also a no-frills experience; there’s no turbocharger or supercharger. Power comes on strong and is well-controlled by a crisp-shifting, six-speed automatic transmission. I prefer a well-built six-speed over a half-baked dual-clutch or eight-speed automatic transmission, but the ES 350’s EPA-estimated gas mileage isn’t very impressive. It’s rated just 21/30/24 mpg city/highway/combined, and that’s where small, turbocharged engines and more advanced transmissions help.

With a V6 and eight-speed automatic, the front-wheel-drive LaCrosse is rated 21/31/25 mpg, while the rear-wheel-drive C300 with a turbo four-cylinder engine is rated by the EPA at 24/34/28 mpg. The ES 350’s V-6 is, however, one of the few luxury car engines to make its advertised horsepower and fuel economy on regular gas.

Where the Lexus ES 350 could improve is its noise level. The way the tires smack the road is loud and intrusive for a luxury car, and there’s off-putting road noise as the tires hum at highway speeds. Buick benchmarked the ES 350 while developing the LaCrosse’s ride, handling and interior sound levels, and I think the LaCrosse is the better-driving car any way you slice it. The rear- or all-wheel-drive Genesis G80 (formerly the Hyundai Genesis) is also ahead of the ES 350 in terms of ride quality.

Interior

As the saying goes, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and the 2017 Lexus ES 350 maintains its credibility on the inside even five years after a complete redesign. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer the same level of luxuriousness, which is appropriate considering it starts at a much more affordable price. The G80 is the closer competitor, with high-quality materials similar to the ES — and even richer in some areas, like the door panels, seats and center console. But I’m partial to the Lexus ES’ design and more intricate style choices (some say it’s busy), as I think the G80’s interior looks too old-man-ish; the ES merely rides that way.

The ES’ full-size roominess is a strong asset considering most similarly priced luxury sedans are either compact or mid-size. There’s ample room throughout the Lexus ES; backseat room is spacious, and the seating position is comfortable, but I didn’t find the front seats overly plush, like the G80's, or as stylishly designed as the LaCrosse's. They’re just kind of there, without any distinction in comfort or style.

Ergonomics & Electronics

It’s about time Lexus rethinks its Remote Touch interface for controlling multimedia, navigation and radio functions. The mouse-style controller was a novelty at first, but after a few years of using it in various Lexus vehicles, I’ve had enough of the awkward interaction and cursor-driven menu system. It’s not easy to use while driving, and the big 8-inch screen isn’t a touchscreen. Of course, you wouldn’t want it to be, considering its position high atop the dashboard. Lexus added a back button for 2017, but it’s just a bandage on an ill-performing system.

A bright spot of the optional multimedia system is the stereo included in the stereo/navigation package. Lexus’ Mark Levinson stereos haven’t been consistent performers from car to car, but the ES’ version has great clarity and was pleasing to my ears when listening to high-quality music.

Cargo & Storage

The ES 350’s trunk is large and usable. At 15.2 cubic feet, it’s sized similarly to the LaCrosse (15 cubic feet) and G80 (15.3 cubic feet). It’s larger than most compact luxury sedans’, like the C-Class’ 12.6 cubic feet. There isn’t a folding backseat in the ES, however, and it’s not a typical option among similarly sized sedans. The LaCrosse has a folding backseat; the G80 doesn’t.

The Lexus ES' in-cabin storage isn’t great up front; there’s no space for a phone or pocket items other than the cupholders. It’s a similar story in the LaCrosse, but the G80 has a nifty area ahead of the gear selector for loose items.

Safety

The new Lexus ES earned top crashworthiness ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. New for 2017, Lexus includes a hefty grouping of standard safety features, including forward pre-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control (at high speeds only) and lane departure prevention; blind spot warning is optional. A backup camera is also standard.

I specify “high speeds only” for the adaptive cruise control because, unlike some adaptive systems that can bring you all the way down to a stop then restart in traffic, the ES’ system can be activated only at speeds above 30 mph. It cancels once the ES slows below 25 mph.

Value in Its Class

With a starting price of $39,875 (all prices include destination charges), the Lexus ES 350 represents a good value for 2017. Pricing is up only $800 from 2016, and its standard safety features are impressive — plus there’s a standard moonroof and LED headlights. The size-to-dollar ratio is full-size roominess at mid-size pricing.

Our test car’s as-tested price of $46,058 is a fair representation of how to equip an ES 350, with one major exception: It didn’t have heated seats or a heated steering wheel, which I thought was blasphemy during winter in Chicago. If you do opt for the heated wheel, it only heats at the nine o'clock and three o’clock positions. The G80 has heated seats standard at its $42,350 starting price, and an Acura TLX does it at $32,950. In the ES, heated seats are available in a number of luxury and premium packages.

Even with an increasing number of competitors and the Lexus ES 350 getting up there in years since its last redesign, it manages to keep its place as a dependable go-to in the luxury market.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.6
72 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Very smooth and quiet ride.

by CarolEK, artist from Las Vegas, NV on October 17, 2018

This car has all the features we were looking for in a luxury vehicle. We love the smooth, quiet ride and the beautiful color, inside and out. We look forward to having this car for a long time. Read full review

(5.0)

Most comfortable car I have ever owned.

by Silverone from Reston, VA on September 26, 2018

This car has loads of back seat room, very comfortable to drive, the seat can adjust so many ways no matter your size you will have a perfect fit. I like that the power is there for when I need it out ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2017 Lexus ES 350 currently has 1 recall


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2017 Lexus ES 350 Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
good

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
acceptable
Structure and Safety Cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Lexus

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Latest 2017 ES 350 Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The ES 350 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

A

Booster

(second row)

C

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Latch or Latch system

A

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker