For years, the Lexus ES excelled at being comfortable and luxurious, pampering rather than sporty. With the current generation Lexus modified that formula in an attempt to create a more engaging driving experience. As a result, it is a less satisfying upscale sedan.
The ES still provides a quiet interior, gets good fuel economy, and is very reliable. But the car's cosseting, easygoing nature has been dialed back, with a less plush ride and more complicated controls. 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.