Lexus has been gradually making its line sportier, but underneath the aggressive styling the 2018 Lexus ES is old fashioned. It’s all about premium-badge luxury at a competitive price, and the hybrid option means efficiency doesn’t have to go out the window.
What's New for 2018
For 2018 the Lexus ES carries over without major changes. The only substantial addition is Lexus’ Enform Safety Connect, which includes services like stolen vehicle location, emergency roadside assistance, and maintenance alerts.
Choosing Your Lexus ES
Choosing a Lexus ES starts at the powertrain, which comes in gas-powered or hybrid configurations. The gas engine is a 3.5-liter V6 producing 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid pairs a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a total of 200 hp and 156 lb-ft. The gas engine is the quicker of the two, but it’s also thirstier: the EPA estimates mileage at 21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined. The hybrid bumps those numbers to an impressive 40/39/40 mpg.
The gas engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, but the hybrid uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The hybrid provides the usual three modes (Eco, Normal, and Sport) to customize throttle response. All ES models are front-wheel drive only.
Both models come with a healthy list of standard features, including 10-way power-adjustable seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-speaker sound system, LED headlights, a rearview camera, and an eight-inch infotainment display. 17-inch alloy rims are standard, but 18-inchers are available as an option or among the various packages.
The two trims correspond to the powertrain choices: 350 for the gas engine and 300h for the hybrid. Both come with a choice of five packages: Premium, Luxury, Ultra-Luxury, Navigation, and Navigation/Premium Audio.
Despite being the second-cheapest Lexus sedan, the ES gets expensive in a hurry after a package or two. The good news is that the standard features are plentiful, and Lexus’ renowned reliability costs nothing. Neither trim will please sportier drivers, but the hybrid is impressively efficient for a big sedan.