2023 Lexus ES

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2023 Lexus ES Review: Comfort Above All Else

Not everyone tries to play the sporty card to attract buyers, and Lexus recognizes that some people prefer comfort and luxury. The ES doesn't have the same dynamics as sportier RWD rivals like the BMW 5 Series or Genesis G80, despite a punchy 302-horsepower V6 on offer. What it does do is coddle its occupants, and even though it's been around since 2019 and is no longer new, the Lexus ES mid-size sedan is still one of the most comfortable and refined cars of its type. Its roomy interior is filled with quality materials, solid tech, and typically high long-term reliability expectations, the ES injects some style and comfort into what is a very sensible purchase done with the head, not the heart. It doesn't hurt that every safety review of the Lexus ES produces good results, rounding off a very complete car. Lexus replaces its maligned touchpad-based infotainment system this year and adds sportier trims to meet the enthusiasts halfway, but the base 203-hp four-pot still disappoints. So, has it done enough?

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 7 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 8 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 7 /10
  • Reliability 10 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 10 /10
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2023 Lexus ES Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 ES?

The 2023 ES range now comprises nine trims, with the addition of new ones this year. The ES 350 F Sport Handling trim is created by equipping the ES 350 with last year's Dynamic Handling package. It adds to the ES 350 a heated F Sport steering wheel, custom drive modes, and adaptive suspension. ES 250 and ES 350 F Sport Design trims are now also added as sportier alternatives to the luxury-oriented trims.

In a major upgrade, the Lexus Interface infotainment system is now fitted, doing away with the much-criticized Remote Touch Interface touchpad. The new system incorporates wireless smartphone mirroring, the "Hey, Lexus" assistant, and Drive Connect Capability with cloud navigation, with a three-year subscription of the latter standard on Ultra Luxury trims and optional on others. The deletion of the touchpad goes along with a redesigned center console with a sunglasses holder and relocated wireless charger (when fitted), while Lexus USA has made use of the opportunity to introduce new interior trim options such as Macadamia upholstery and Ash Bamboo trim. The starting price of the revised 2023 Lexus ES is just under $42k.

Pros and Cons

  • New infotainment system
  • Spacious interior and trunk
  • Stylish, high-quality cabin
  • Soft ride
  • High-value starting price
  • Breathless base engine
  • No AWD V6
  • Second row doesn't fold
  • Bland handling

What's the Price of the 2023 Lexus ES?

In terms of price, the MSRP of the new Lexus ES starts at the same $41,940 for both the ES 250 AWD and ES 350 trims. The ES 250 F Sport Design AWD and ES 350 F Sport Design trims both cost $46,525 and the ES 250 Luxury AWD and ES 350 Luxury both cost $47,110. The ES 350 F Sport Handling costs $48,400, while both the ES 250 Ultra Luxury AWD and ES 350 Ultra Luxury cost $50,730. The hybrid trims range from $43,340 to $52,130. Take note that these prices don't include the $1,150 destination fee.

Best Deals on 2023 Lexus ES

2023 Lexus ES Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
ES 350
3.5L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
ES 250
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
ES 300h
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
ES 250 F SPORT Design
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
ES 350 F SPORT Design
3.5L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
See All 2023 Lexus ES Trims and Specs

2023 Lexus ES Handling and Driving Impressions

One thing that soon becomes apparent is that the ES is no sports sedan. It doesn't trip over itself around corners but feels its weight, leans, and eventually succumbs to understeer to keep its balance. All very safe and predictable, but hardly any fun. The controls have been tuned for ease of driving, not race-track antics, and the light, numb steering and average brakes underscore this fact. The F Sport trims are strapped down better but still don't relish tackling corners. What the Lexus does extremely well is comfort. It glides smoothly and quietly, with excellent refinement, virtually imperceptible gear changes, and a wonderfully soft ride quality. Only the coarse voice of the base four-cylinder engine disturbs the equanimity somewhat when pushed. This is the weak link in the powertrain lineup and doesn't motivate the ES with any enthusiasm, in contrast to the smooth and powerful V6.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Lexus ES A Good Car?

Most people realize that the ES doesn't have the sporty pedigree of the Europeans, but then it's also a lot cheaper than those cars - and not everyone needs sporty. The ES does comfort instead and does it very well, with a convincingly plush cabin and a quiet and smooth demeanor. The base engine is breathless and best skipped, but it's the only one offering AWD, so you can't have your V6 with AWD, which is a shame. Neither will its handling excite, despite those ambitious F Sport options, so best stick to the luxury trims and enjoy smooth, unruffled progress. The Lexus ES is sensible and comfortable and while these adjectives hardly make for exciting reading, it's perfect for its target market.

What 2023 Lexus ES Model Should I Buy?

We've established that the ES is best at luxury and comfort, so we wouldn't bother with any of the F Sport trims, but we would opt for the V6 engine, as the base four-cylinder is weak and the hybrids are no better. The Luxury trim is well-specced, but mostly gains a few trim items such as leather and wood over the base version and it's still stuck with the smaller infotainment screen, so that leaves the ES 350 Ultra Luxury as the only trim with the powerful engine, 12.3-inch infotainment screen, and other additional features such as a head-up display, and a surround-view camera. This makes it our perfect ES - as long as you don't need AWD.

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