Long-time luxury ñ the 2022 Lexus ES350
When the Lexus brand was born in 1989, two models were introduced – the flagship LS
sedan and the entry-level ES sedan. Since then, we have seen models come and go from
the luxurious automaker, but both the LS and the ES have stood the test of time. This
week we look at the 2022 Lexus ES.
Today’s ES comes in two variations – the regular ES350 and the hybrid version, the
ES300h. Both share the same appearance, unless you opt for the F Sport package which
adds a black mesh grill and trucklid spoiler. The ES, which once looked like nothing
more than a rebadged Toyota Camry, now carries on more of the traditional Lexus lines –
and even resembles the larger LS from certain angles.
Going with the ES350 gets you a 3.5-liter V6 engine under the hood and done the old-
fashion way – naturally-aspirated with no turbochargers. It makes a healthy 302 hp and
267 lb-ft of torque while an eight-speed automatic transmission sends that power to the
front wheels. While the F Sport package doesn’t add any additional power, it does include
19-inch wheels, an adaptive variable suspension and various driving modes.
The ES350 that Lexus has me driving this week does include the F Sport package, as well
as the Navigation and Mark Levinson Audio Package, bringing the total MSRP to
$53,510. Starting price for the ES350 is $42,025.
From my previous experiences with the ES, I’ve always determined it to be a nice,
smooth luxury vehicle but lacking in terms of sportiness, so I was anxious to see how the
F Sport package changes the ES’s demeanor. On my initial drive, switching to Sport+
mode, I could easily feel the steering wheel tighten up and the ride getting firmer. The
exhaust note also becomes more aggressive. The tighter suspension makes the ES carve
through corners with more confidence and adds some entertainment to what is typically a
ho-hum driving experience. A little extra power would be a nice welcome, but as-is the
ES350 can dart to 60 mph in about six seconds, so it isn’t slow by any means. Besides the
Sport + mode, drivers can select from Sport, Normal, Eco and Custom driving modes. In
all, the F-Sport package certainly makes the ES sportier but doesn’t necessarily transform
it into a sports sedan.
But the ES has always been known for its appealing interior and this current one doesn’t
disappoint. And while the ES may be considered the “entry-level” luxury car in the Lexus
brand, there is nothing entry-level about today’s ES. Open the ES and the door panels and
center console are all wrapped in indulgent and cushiony leather that looks so soft you
just have to touch it to believe it. And if it’s not covered in leather, it’s probably set in
wood (or both like the steering wheel). New for 2022 is the infotainment screen – which
is now an actual touchscreen. Prior to this year, the screen had to be used with a
touchpad-controller, which many drivers didn’t like. The touchpad-controller remains for
the few that liked it, but I’m sure most will simply touch the screen. To the left of the
touchscreen is the signature Lexus analog clock.
The gauge cluster is nicely done and changes with each drive mode. A round tachometer
and digital speedometer sit in the middle and at the push of a button on the steering wheel
slides the center display to the right to reveal even more, less important information. The
Mark Levinson sound system is made up of 17 speakers and 1800 watts.
The back seat is very roomy and passengers seated there get air-conditioning vents, a
power outlet, two USB ports, and a fold down armrest with a pass through to the trunk.
The one drawback to the ES is that the back seat does not fold down to increase trunk
storage. The trunk is capable of holding up to 17 cubic feet of cargo.
The current ES has been around since 2019 and for 2022, along with the new
touchscreen, it receives a new grill and LED headlights.
The ES sure has come a long way from its start back in 1989. Back then it was a
rebadged Camry that was even available with a manual transmission. Today, the 2022
ES350 has grown, matured, and gained a strong fan base. Yes, the ES has changed quite a
bit over the years, but one thing that wonít change is its appeal to buyers who want the
very best in the entry-level luxury car market.
– Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2022 Lexus ES350 F Sport
Base Price: $ 45,450.00
Price as Tested: $ 53,510.00
Layout: front-engine / front-wheel drive
Engine: 3.5 liter V6
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Horsepower: 302 hp
Torque: 267 lb-ft
EPA Fuel Economy: 22 city / 31 highway mpg
[Visit me at www.carsbycar.blogspot.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org]