The Lexus ES is refreshed for 2022.
Making the transition from mainstream to luxury models is a leap some of us are hesitant to do. After all, justifying spending thousands of dollars extra on a pricey sedan or utility vehicle does not come easily.
Lexus, however, has created a market of affordable models, including the 2022 ES sedan. This roomy five-passenger model starts at $40,000, which is approximately the average cost of a new vehicle. A fully optioned model retails for about $10,000 more, making the Lexus ES one of the great values of our day.
What’s New for 2022
The 2022 ES gains subtle styling updates this year along with additional technology and safety changes. Package shuffling rounds out the changes of note.
Lexus offers the 2022 ES in ES 250 ($40,000), ES 250 and ES 350 Luxury ($45,200), ES 250 F Sport and 350 F Sport ($45,800), and ES 250 and ES 350 Ultra Luxury trims ($49,000). Add $1,075 for the freight charge.
Models equipped with the standard four-cylinder engine (ES 250) have front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. Choose the ES 350 and this one comes with a V6 engine and front-wheel-drive only. Lexus markets an ES Hybrid separately, but it is worth mentioning as it is priced at just $1,910 more than each corresponding trim. The hybrid averages 44 mpg, which is its strongest appeal, especially during these days of elevated gas prices.
Every Lexus model features an hourglass-shaped grille. On the ES, it dominates the front fascia, although it is also offset by deep cutouts and signature lighting. It is a busy look for some, but it also imparts elegance and sportiness. That same aggressive design mantra dominates the sedan’s profile and brings up the rear. Yet, handsome wheels, a long flowing roofline, and a wide trunk help supply balance.
Inside, the cabin is spacious, offering comfortable room for five. We were especially impressed with the rear seat as it is one of the few that make it possible for passengers to cross their legs.
Most models feature high-end leathers and open-pore wood. A heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, and rear sunshades are optional. Lexus also offers a power moonroof and a hands-free trunk opener.
Excellent attention to detail, flowing lines, a deep front storage compartment, and a separate space for the smartphone holder are things that we like. Surprisingly, though, the rear seat does not fold down. In any case, the trunk offers 16.7 cubic feet of storage space, which rivals some of the predominant sedans on the market.
Tech & Safety
For the first time, the ES’ center console display screen offers touch-screen control. Moreover, the screen is moved 4.3 inches closer to the driver for ease of access. This change is a wonderful and much-need improvement over the previous method of screen control – knobs and a scratchpad — neither of which moved the needle for the automaker or pleased users. As before, an 8-inch screen is standard, while a 12.3-inch screen is available.
Other tech features of note include Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and USB ports. HD Radio, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hotspot are included. Upgrading from the standard 10-speaker audio system brings in a 17-speaker Mark Levinson package.
Nearly every driver-assist safety feature is standard with the ES. These features include automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. Automatic parking assist is available.
Lexus ES On the Road
Lexus lent us a fully loaded ES 350 sedan with a retail price of under $50,000. This model comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque.
The V6 is well suited for the ES, although under hard acceleration the steering wheel tends to pull to one side. This sensation is known as torque steer and can surprise drivers when first encountered.
Alternatively, customers can order an ES with a four-cylinder engine and opt for all-wheel drive. With all-wheel drive, up to 50 percent of the power moves to the rear wheels when roads are slippery. It provides better handling overall, but also means customers must sacrifice one-third of the power by opting for the smaller engine.
We give Lexus credit for designing a large sedan that strikes a balance between performance, efficiency, drive handling, and comfort. Except for the latter, it does reasonably well in each area. But when it comes to comfort, the ES swallows bumps and insulates the cabin from the outside world.
From a performance perspective, it is hard to pass up a V6-powered ES. From an efficiency standpoint and when equipped with available all-wheel drive, the base engine holds its own. But if practicality is your guiding star, then the ES Hybrid is too hard to ignore. For a modest price premium, this sedan averages an incredible 44 mpg. It has slightly more power overall than the base gas engine, while stretching out your visits to the service station. Fuel prices aren’t falling anytime soon, therefore the hybrid should pay for itself in about two years and continue supplying savings for years to come.
See Also — Much Wanted: Lexus IS 350 F Sport
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