With its comfortable ride, quiet interior and lavish amenities, the Lexus ES provides big luxury car feel and refinement in a manageably sized package. The ES is also quick and yet sparing with fuel. Valuing ride quality over handling, agility is not a strong suit. Consequently, the ES idoes not try to be fun to drive. However, it is one of the best riding cars in its class.
Alerts
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and side air bags standard. Head protection air bags standard from 2002. Rear side air bags available from 2007. ESC available, standard from 2007.
Road Test

With its comfortable ride, quiet interior and lavish amenities, the Lexus ES provides big luxury car feel and refinement in a manageably sized package. The ES is also quick and yet sparing with fuel. Valuing ride quality over handling, agility is not a strong suit. Consequently, the ES idoes not try to be fun to drive. However, it is one of the best riding cars in its class. Further, rear-seat side airbags are standard equipment. Its few negatives include limited rear seat head room and partially obscured rear visibility.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 6-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 3.5-liter V6 (268 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Lexus ES owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Calipers

"Just normal maintenance repair"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)
Normal routine brake wear

"brake pads needed replacement."

Craig R., NJ (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

"Front and Real Brake Pads replaced. First time replaced both at 75,000 miles. I was pleased with the fact that this did not have to be done until this mileage."

Terry A., MD (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Pulsation or vibration

"Rotors were found to be warped so much that they could not be re-surfaced and had to be replaced. We believe this may have been due to hard braking during an accident."

Anonymous, MO (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Regular brake failure

"The brakes didn't work one time as I tried to stop. I just coasted to a stop without power. No damage to anything/ anyone, but scarey. Twice the radio wouldn't turn off after I turned off engine. Took it directly to dealer/I discovered if I turn eng"

Anonymous, VA (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)
Rotors

"Normal maintenance repair"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"rust. Needed grinding. Live at the shore where air is laden with salt spray."

Craig R., NJ (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"'Nav system' is HORRIFIC. Rather than being gouged $2,600 for this piece of garbage, I could have paid Garmin $300 and gotten something world-class. Lexus senior mgmnt should have OUTSOURCED its nav system to a company that has a clue. Mgmnt doesn't"

Warren M., VA (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"The Nav system is inaccurate. The position of the car is not where shown. May be of 300’. A real pain in the city where the streets are close. The system needs calibration, but no one knows how. The problem is the odometer reads 1 mile 120’ short of a actual mile. As this system reads both gps and odometer for position this is probably the problem. The system in our Prius is right on. Different system."

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

"Unable to hear incoming calls or make outgoing calls"

Anonymous, IL (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)
Radio

"Radio channels could not be manually adjusted"

Anonymous, MS (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"Just discussed this in previous statement"

Anonymous, VA (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"These items are all related. It is like there is a loose wire at time sand the radio and navigation screen and voice commands (interrelated) just go off and go blank. It will come on perhaps after a while or a bump in the road and periodically go on and off. Then again it may work properly for a good while and then mysteriously go in and out again for a time. This is annoying but not critical to making the car operate. I have mentioned it to the dealer, but they have not been able to find the issue or repair it easily. On my part it is not something I want to put a lot of money into repairing. And any repair these days like that will probably be a few hundred dollars just to take the system apart and investigate or replace."

Terry A., MD (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"Car is low to ground and have had front bumper pull loose several times approaching high parking bumper, storm drain or speed bump. About $2,000 each time."

Ronald C., VA (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Loose interior trim or moldings

"dealer couldnt fix A-pillar problem after 6 visits; private repair facility fixed it the first time"

Anonymous, SC (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Just faded that's all"

Anonymous, TX (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"The clear coat on both the hood and the trunk faded and did NOT protect the paint. It was/is abysmal."

Eduard H., GU (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Rust

"Noticed rust where paint was chipped off"

David B., TN (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

"Warranty- Takata bags"

Anonymous, CO (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

"recall"

Anonymous, TN (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

"airbags on recall"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

"Vehicle came with the Tikata airbag which was replaced by Lexus free of charge in 2017."

Max B., SC (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Alignment

"car pulls to the left even after checking alignment and tire pressures"

Martin M., ON (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"the car doesnt always seem to be tracking well - this can get a little scary on highway-speed turns. The alignment has been adjusted about 3 times since last fall."

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"I take my car to the dealer for regular maintenance. At the 75000 service they indicated that the rack and pinion steering was leaking and needed to be replaced as soon as possible. The estimated cost was about $3000. The car was beyond warranty. I looked into costs at private shops and estimates were about $2000 as well. Because I had regularly serviced my car at the dealer (with the same service manager) he contacted Lexus corporate and got them to pick of the entire cost of replacing the rack and pinon system. Kudos to Lexus and Lexus dealership. Lesson learned is that while servicing may be slightly more expensive with the dealership, when a regular customer and something is really needed they can and will go to bat for you for a repair that probably should not have happened. Their picking up the cost of the repair more than made up the slightly higher expenses of regular maintenance over the years."

Terry A., MD (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Tire wear is uneven

"I have been told my tires are wearing unevenly. It seems to be related to the alignment. However, all the alignment adjustments have not fixed the uneven tire wear patterns"

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveshaft or axle

"Upon acceleration the front tires were taking turns getting traction. The right front axle was bad. You could not feel any of this while coasting though. Experienced mechanical personnel at two locations either did not diagnose the problem correctly and/or tried to sell me tires and a front end alignment which the car did not need"

John S., OH (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"The drive shaft, according to Roundtree Toyota in Lake City Fl said the drive shaft had to be replaced. The car shakes when braking and does drive very well. Tire wears out quickly"

Edye B., FL (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Electrical failure

"Sometimes AC cooling stops after driving through standing water on roads."

Anonymous, TX (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"The brake light in the center of the rear window shorted out."

Anonymous, CA (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)
Tire pressure monitor

"The tire light came on and wouldn't go off until I replaced a sensor, an expensive part"

Anonymous, ON (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"The tire pressure warning light comes on and off routinely for no apparent reason"

Edye B., FL (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Minor issue w/ weather stripping getting misaligned by door. Dealer corrected issue at 25000 mile checkup"

Anonymous, NM (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)
Squeaks or rattles

"Clicking noise in right rear of car"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Automatic climate control

"Thermostat failed and automatic system would not maintain selected temperature"

Anonymous, IA (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

"This problem has existed since new and the dealer says they cannot find any cause for it. When using the heater cycle in the automatic mode - instead of just reducing the heat flow after it reaches the set temperature it blows large amounts of cold air into the car. Thus I have always had to use the system in manual mode and even then it blows cold air sometimes"

Anonymous, NE (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Mirrors

"Lexus has a know issue with the mirror castings corroding and then drooling dirt down the door causing staining."

Anonymous, ON (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Coil

"Coil had to be replaced"

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Lexus ES 350 3.5-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"Engine keeps going after I take foot off gas. It maintains a speed of about 25 km/hr without touching the gas pedal. This is troubling when trying to stop the car, I feel like I'm fighting for control of the car. Perhaps this is why fuel consumption is so bad - about 350 km per tank of mostly city driving. This is no different than the 2003 Camry I had. I thought they fixed that in the 10 years between cars."

Anonymous, ON (2012 Lexus ES 350.0 3.5-L V6)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

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