When it comes to mid-size luxury sedans, the 2023 Lexus ES stands out with its unique blend of comfort, affordability, and reliability. In this comprehensive review, we’ll take a deep dive into what makes the 2023 Lexus ES a compelling choice for buyers in the luxury sedan segment. From its performance to its interior, features, and pricing, we’ll cover all aspects of this vehicle to help you make an informed decision.
The 2023 Lexus ES is positioned as an alternative to its European rivals like the Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. What sets it apart is its foundation – it’s built upon the Toyota Camry, a car known for its reliability and value. The ES takes that reliable base and adds sleek styling and upscale interior features. While it may not be the sportiest in its class, it excels in providing a serene and comfortable driving experience, earning it the nickname “a rolling Xanax pill.”
Pros and Cons
- Toyota-esque Reliability: The ES benefits from Toyota’s reputation for building long-lasting vehicles.
- Isolating Ride Comfort: The ride quality is exceptionally smooth, ensuring a tranquil journey.
- Affordable Starting Price: The ES offers an attractive entry price point for the luxury sedan segment.
- Base Engine Performance: The base four-cylinder engine may leave some drivers wanting more power.
- Underwhelming Overall Performance: While comfortable, the ES doesn’t deliver the athletic performance some competitors offer.
- Price Escalation: Adding options and higher trims can quickly increase the price.
What’s New for 2023?
For the 2023 model year, Lexus has introduced some notable updates to the ES. Here are the key changes:
- F Sport Handling Package: Available for ES350 and ES300h models, this package includes an adaptive suspension with Sport+ and custom drive modes, along with a heated F Sport-branded steering wheel.
- Interior Updates: The ES now features new Ash Bamboo trim and a Macadamia upholstery color. The center console has been redesigned, and a sunglass holder has been added.
- Infotainment Upgrade: The Lexus Interface infotainment system is now included, offering wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Cloud Navigation, Hey Lexus intelligent assist software, and Destination Assist service. This upgrade also replaces the Remote Touch Interface touchpad.
These updates enhance the overall driving experience and bring the ES’s technology offerings up to date.
Pricing and Trim Options
The 2023 Lexus ES offers a variety of trim levels to suit different preferences and budgets. Here’s a breakdown of the pricing:
- ES350: Starting at $43,090
- ES250: Starting at $43,090
- ES300h: Starting at $44,490
- ES350 F Sport: Starting at $47,675
- ES250 F Sport: Starting at $47,675
- ES350 Luxury: Starting at $48,260
- ES250 Luxury: Starting at $48,260
- ES300h F Sport: Starting at $48,875
- ES300h Luxury: Starting at $49,660
- ES350 Ultra Luxury: Starting at $51,880
- ES250 Ultra Luxury: Starting at $51,880
- ES300h Ultra Luxury: Starting at $53,280
While each trim level offers something unique, we recommend considering the ES350 with Ultra Luxury equipment if you prioritize luxury and comfort. This trim adds special features like quilted semi-aniline leather upholstery, a hands-free power trunk lid, a power rear sunshade, and a wood-and-leather steering wheel. However, note that it requires adding the Navigation package for certain upgrades.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The 2023 Lexus ES offers three different powertrains to cater to various driving preferences:
- ES250: Powered by a 203-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with all-wheel drive.
- ES350: Equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 generating 302 horsepower, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
- ES300h: A hybrid model with a net output of 215 horsepower, featuring a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive.
In performance tests, the ES350 with the V6 engine accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, offering respectable power for daily driving. The ES250 and ES300h are more focused on fuel efficiency, with 0-60 mph times of 8.1 and 8.3 seconds, respectively. The ES prioritizes a smooth and comfortable ride over sporty handling, even in the F Sport trims, making it an ideal choice for those who value comfort on long journeys.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Lexus ES impresses with its fuel efficiency, making it a practical choice for those looking to save on fuel costs. Here are the EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings:
- ES350: 22 mpg city / 32 mpg highway
- ES300h: 43 mpg city / 44 mpg highway
- ES250: 25 mpg city / 34 mpg highway
Real-world testing yielded promising results, with the ES350 achieving 39 mpg on the highway, the ES300h hitting 45 mpg under similar conditions, and the ES250 delivering 33 mpg. These figures make the ES a frugal choice for a luxury sedan, particularly for highway driving.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
One of the standout features of the 2023 Lexus ES is its interior comfort and quality. Inside the cabin, you’ll find a stylish and well-appointed space with high-quality materials and an asymmetrical dash design. Both front and rear passengers enjoy ample legroom, ensuring a comfortable ride for all. Even at highway speeds, the cabin remains remarkably quiet, contributing to the overall sense of tranquility.
Cargo space in the ES is generous, with all models offering 17.0 cubic feet of trunk space. This capacity surpasses that of some competitors like the Volvo S90 and Acura TLX. However, it’s worth noting that the ES does not have a folding rear seat, limiting its ability to accommodate oversized cargo.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Lexus has made sure the ES is well-equipped with the latest tech features to meet the expectations of luxury car buyers. The standard infotainment system includes an 8.0-inch central display, with an optional 12.3-inch touchscreen available. Notably, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now wireless, offering seamless device integration.
Additional standard tech amenities include Amazon Alexa compatibility, Bluetooth for phone and music streaming, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and Scout GPS Link navigation. All models come with a 10-speaker sound system with SiriusXM satellite radio. Whether you’re navigating, enjoying music, or staying connected, the ES’s infotainment system has you covered.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Safety is a top priority for Lexus, and the 2023 ES comes equipped with a comprehensive suite of driver-assistance features known as Lexus Safety System+ 2.5. These features include:
- Automated Emergency Braking: Capable of detecting pedestrians and cyclists.
- Adaptive Cruise Control: Maintains a safe following distance in traffic.
- Blind-Spot Monitoring: Alerts you to vehicles in your blind spot.
- Lane-Departure Warning and Lane-Keep Assistance: Helps keep you in your lane.
These advanced safety features provide peace of mind and contribute to the overall safety of the vehicle. For more detailed safety information, you can refer to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Lexus offers an attractive warranty package that provides peace of mind to buyers. The warranty coverage includes:
- Limited Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 miles
- Complimentary Maintenance: 1 year or 10,000 miles
While Lexus’s warranty doesn’t quite match the exceptional coverage offered by some competitors like Genesis, it still provides a solid level of protection for your investment.
In summary, the 2023 Lexus ES is a standout choice in the mid-size luxury sedan segment. It brings together the reliability of a Toyota foundation with the elegance and comfort expected from a luxury vehicle. While it may not be a performance-oriented sedan, it excels in delivering a serene and soothing driving experience, making it an ideal choice for those who prioritize comfort and value.
With its updated infotainment system, impressive fuel efficiency, and comprehensive safety features, the 2023 Lexus ES offers a well-rounded package that competes admirably with its European rivals. Whether you’re commuting in the city or embarking on long road trips, the ES provides a cocoon of comfort and refinement.
If you’re in the market for a mid-size luxury sedan that offers a compelling blend of comfort, reliability, and affordability, the 2023 Lexus ES is undoubtedly worth considering.