It’s easy to see why the ES is one of Lexus's longest running and most popular models. The smooth, quiet ride, extensive list of luxury features, and strong resale value continue to make it a compelling option for those in search of an entry-level luxury sedan.
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2016 Lexus ES 350 Overview
What's New for 2016
There are few changes to the ES 350 this year. LED headlights are now standard and part of a redesigned fascia that gives the ES 350 a wider appearance. New exterior colors and interior finishes are now offered as well.
Choosing Your Lexus ES 350
As it only comes in one trim level, choosing your ES 350 is rather easy. The real decisions come down to selecting which packages and options most appeal to you.
The ES 350 comes with a 268 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine connected to a six-speed automatic transmission that delivers an EPA fuel rating of 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway. The interior features an eight-speaker sound system with in-dash CD player, USB/iPod/Bluetooth connectivity and SiriusXM Satellite Radio receiver all controlled by a 4.2-inch display. Other features include push button start, dual-zone climate control and moonroof.
- A step up to the Premium Package costs you $730 and adds 10-way power adjustable front seats, programmable personalized electronic settings, remote keyless entry, genuine wood accents and a power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel.
- Adding $1,670 gets you the Luxury Package, which starts with everything in the Premium Package and adds an embossed-stitch perforated leather trim interior, heated and ventilated front seats and a wood trimmed console.
- The Ultra Luxury Package starts at an additional $3,500. It includes everything from the Premium and Luxury Packages as well as a power rear sunshade with manual rear-door sunshades, programmable personalized electronic settings for both driver and passenger seats, a driver’s seat power cushion, and ambient interior lighting.
You can also choose from a pair of technology-oriented packages:
- Add the Navigation Package to any of the other packages for an additional $1,530. Navigation includes a high-resolution color LCD display with a suite of compatible apps, voice activated navigation, remote touch navigation controller and in-dash DVD/CD player.
- An upgraded Navigation Package is available for $2,650. It includes the 15-speaker, 5.1-channel, 835-watt Mark Levinson audio system and an 8-inch high resolution LCD display.
Other options include the Lexus Safety System, which offers a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, steering assist, intelligent high-beam headlamps and more.
The base package ES comes pretty well loaded, and many features are available as standalone additions. This makes it very possible to add the features you want and remain under the $50,000 mark, relative bargain for a luxury car with strong resale value.
2016 Lexus ES 350 Review
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.
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.
Though it flirts with sportiness, no one will mistake the ES 350 for a true sports sedan.
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.
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.
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.