For years, the Lexus ES excelled at being comfortable and luxurious, pampering rather than sporty. But for this version of the car, Lexus modified that formula by trying to create a more engaging driving experience. The overall result is a less satisfying upscale sedan.
The ES still provides a comfy, quiet interior and gets good fuel economy. But the cosseting, easygoing nature has been dialed back, with a less plush ride, cuts in interior refinement and more complicated controls. Further, despite Lexus' claims of injecting more sportiness into the ES, it's not agile or fun to drive.
We tested two versions: the ES 350, with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, and the hybrid ES 300h. Both drivetrains perform well. Slick and powerful, the V6 returns a good 25 mpg overall. The hybrid delivers ample zip, while squeezing out an excellent 36 mpg overall and 44 on the highway.