Very few vehicles are as highly regarded as the beloved Lexus ES. For 2016, the refreshed ES 350 adds drama to the exterior and new levels of luxury within.

Pricing and Equipment

Powered by the same legendary 3.5-liter V6 engine found in Toyota’s Camry V6 and Avalon, the 2016 Lexus ES 350 drivetrain has a proven track record of longevity and performance. A smooth-shifting six-speed automatic takes care of gear changes.

The 2016 ES 350 starts at $38,000. Rather than offering “trim levels” Lexus provides an à la carte menu of individual options and grouped option packages.

  • Of particular interest is the value packed $500 Lexus Safety System+ package that includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, high-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist and intelligent high-beam headlamps.
  • Those looking to give the ES 350 a nice bump in luxury will want to investigate the $3,500 Ultra Luxury Package that includes a stunning panoramic glass roof, perforated leather trim, genuine wood accents, ambient interior lighting and more.

Performance Pros

2016 Lexus ES 350 Rear

The 2016 Lexus ES 350 is a decidedly large, comfortable, luxury car. Based on the same underpinnings as the Toyota Avalon, the front-wheel drive ES 350 offers excellent performance but is better considered as a sporty luxury car than a purist sports sedan. That isn’t to say that the 268-horsepower engine doesn’t hold its own. We think the ES 350 offers excellent acceleration and provides some enthusiastic engine noises while doing so.

For 2016, the ES 350 gets an aggressive new grill. The exterior revisions certainly create a bolder look for the ES, which may be a little unsettling for some, but I have been a fan of the new Lexus grille since its debut. My personal take is that the ES finally has some styling cues that hint at the potential fun it is to drive.

Gas mileage is excellent at 21 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined.

Performance Cons

Though it flirts with sportiness, no one will mistake the ES 350 for a true sports sedan.

Interior Pros

2016 Lexus ES 250 Passenger Seats

The roomy cabin of the Lexus ES 350 has received a bit of a face-lift for 2016. Although the ES series has always been known for offering excellent luxury, especially for the price, the latest refresh takes the refinement another step forward.

Rear seating, a highlight of the ES 350 since the migration from the Camry to the larger Avalon chassis, is exemplary. Rear passengers have plenty of room to spread out and relax. A low center hump offers great legroom, even for middle seat dwellers.

The ES 350 has an expansive trunk, making the sedan a great choice for family vacations and golfing adventures.

Interior Cons

Standard seats, while comfortable, are wrapped in faux-leather. Optional regular or semi-aniline grade leather adds a touch of softness and luxury, but also adds to the price tag.

Most Pleasant Surprise

Unlike many of the ES 350’s competitors, the Lexus sedan earns its rated efficiency and performance on regular gasoline.

Least Pleasant Surprise

The learning curve inherent in the ES 350’s intricate infotainment system is a bit cumbersome. Even after a week with the Lexus, I find I am still lost at times when trying to do simple tasks.

Bottom Line

2016 Lexus ES 350 Headlight

With a strong reputation for reliability, history of high resale values, the relatively affordable 2016 Lexus ES 350 is an intelligent buy. Add in excellent driving characteristics, strong gas mileage, updated looks, and a roomy luxurious interior, and the 2016 ES 350 makes a compelling case for itself.