2008 Lexus ES 350 Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Lexus ES 350 Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Lexus ES 350 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 272 hp @ 6200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Lexus ES 350

  • The 2008 Lexus ES 350, with its plush ride, strong performance and beautiful interior, is a fine choice for an entry-level luxury sedan.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Strong yet quiet performance, plenty of available high-end luxury features, very good crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Pricey option packages, some rivals offer as much or more power and room for less money.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Lexus ES 350 sees just a couple of changes, including sleeker but smaller sideview mirrors and upgraded interior lighting.

Full 2008 Lexus ES 350 Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Lexus ES 350 sees just a couple of changes, including sleeker but smaller sideview mirrors and upgraded interior lighting.


In spite of all the ads you see showing premium-badged sedans blazing down a deserted twisty road, not everyone in the upper-income brackets is a race driver wannabe looking to double his heart rate every time he gets behind the wheel. To the contrary, there are plenty of people who prefer something different when they're in the car -- a more soothing experience when dealing with traffic-clogged commutes, nerve-frazzling construction zones and fussy kids on the way to school. For this silent majority, there's the 2008 Lexus ES 350.

Serenity, not scintillation, best describes the car's personality. As Lexus has been doing with its ES series sedan since the early 1990s, the ES 350 provides exactly what most entry-level luxury customers want -- classy styling, superb build quality, plenty of luxury features and a reputation for safety and reliability -- and delivers it all in a refined, attractive package.

Although the ES 350's V6 is certainly strong and the handling precise, the ES 350 is still not well-suited for driving enthusiasts. If you're looking for an involved, not isolated drive, then luxury sport sedans such as Lexus' own IS series or competitors such as the Acura TL and Infiniti G35 would be more to your liking.

There's also the Chrysler 300C, which has more passenger room and the performance of an available 340-horsepower V8, though its drab, overly plastic interior is absolutely shamed by the beautifully finished ES 350's. We'd also suggest looking at the Hyundai Azera, as it offers a similar design to the ES 350's with a less expensive price as a trade-off for reduced prestige and premium-grade materials.

All of these cars are just alternatives, however. Overall, the 2008 Lexus ES 350 stands tall as just about the ideal entry-luxury sedan. If you're seeking a luxury car that gets just about everything right and provides a calm, quiet respite during commutes, errands and road trips, it doesn't get much better than the ES 350.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Lexus ES 350 is an entry-level luxury sedan that comes in a single, well-equipped trim level. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, 10-way power front seats, real wood accents, keyless entry and starting, a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer, dual-zone automatic climate control, HomeLink, one-touch up/down windows all around and an eight-speaker audio system with a six-disc, in-dash CD changer and an auxiliary audio jack.

Via a number of available (and usually pricey) packages, Lexus offers most any luxury feature one may desire. Highlights include leather seating, park assist, heated/ventilated front seats, adaptive cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, a front seat memory system, adaptive xenon HID headlights, a navigation system (with voice activation), a premium Mark Levinson surround-sound audio and video system, satellite radio, a power rear sunshade and chrome wheels. Summer tires are available to buyers seeking added dry-weather grip over the standard all-season set.

Powertrains and Performance

The ES 350 has a 3.5-liter V6 that develops 272 hp and 254 pound-feet of torque. This power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability. In testing, we've found that this smooth and silent powertrain whisks the car to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates, at 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, are above average for a 2008 midsize luxury sedan.


Antilock disc brakes, stability control and a full array of airbags (including dual front knee, front-seat side and full-length side curtain) are all standard on the 2008 Lexus ES 350. Rear-seat side airbags and a pre-collision system are optional. The latter option comes into play when an impending collision is sensed (via the components used for the optional adaptive cruise control system) and automatically tightens up the seatbelts and applies full power braking when the driver presses the pedal.

In government crash tests, the ES 350 scored five stars (the highest possible) in the frontal-impact category for both driver and passenger. In side-impact tests, the Lexus scored five stars for front-occupant protection and four for the rear. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests, the ES 350 rated "Good" (the highest possible).

Interior Design and Special Features

With meticulous fit and finish and a warm, classy ambience, the cabin of the ES 350 is a strong example of why Lexus is so highly regarded. All the materials, be they plastic, leather, metal or wood, are of the finest quality, while the numerous luxury features are easy to use. The optional ventilated seats are among the best we've experienced, with plenty of cool air circulating throughout. The ES 350 also offers a roomy backseat and a 14.7-cubic-foot trunk with a pass-through.

Driving Impressions

As expected, the 2008 Lexus ES 350 provides a soft, absorbent ride, yet provides better control than expected. Road, wind and engine noise are well muted -- this Lexus is one of the quietest cars we've ever tested at freeway cruising speeds. When pushed hard in the corners, there is noticeable body roll but the car remains composed. Most owners will probably never even notice that, as the ES 350 is a quiet, low-stress luxury sedan that makes no pretense of possessing sporting intentions. Those seeking back-road thrills should test-drive its more tautly sprung, though less comfortable and less roomy, IS series siblings.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Kinda disappointed

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I have driven an Acura TL for the last five years. Let me unequivocally say that the TL is a superior vehicle except in one area. The lexus has a plush and very comfortable ride. The panel on the Lexus is completely dull. The low roof line really compromises us guys over 6 feet tall. The lexus lacks many features that are standard on the TL, like satellite radio. Upgrades on the lexus like land navigation are very expensive to add. This is not a sports sedan, lots of body roll in the curves. Decent power and excellent fuel efficiency for a v 6. BE AWARE: the paint job on this model really sucks! Two paint chips the day after I drove it off the lot and there are more! Loud engine!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Like other first-time lexus owners,

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

Based on the opinion of a friend, purchased a 2008 ES-350 w/ 56k miles from Lexus dealer. Immediately experienced transmission shift flares, abrupt downshifts. Software update didn't fix it, transmission was replaced. Other issues not yet addressed: soft engine knock (piston slap?), timing chain rattles briefly when engine not started for several days, plenty of interior rattles, and of course paint chipping. While baffled that a car costing over $40k new would exhibit these technical issues at av'g miles, I must say the dealer service (Sewell in Dallas) has been exemplary so far.

Toyota lexus quality slipping

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

Not happy here, ES 350 and paint chips all over the hood, this car is primarily driven by 56 yr old stroke victim who drives 3 miles to Krogers few times a week, it is 08 and has 27K miles on it. Tires are shot, rattle inside that has been there for a long time. Leather seats are not holding up, gas mileage is good for the amount of power it has. This will be the last Lexus/Toyota product... I go back to 1976 Celica, 80 Cressida, 90 Celica, 2005 Sequoia 2006 Scion XB and they would be sorely mistaken thinking I would ever purchase again from them. Nuf said...

18 of 22 people found this review helpful

2008 lexus es350 engine troubles

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I bought the car new and have had an engine noise from the beginning that sounds like a valve lifter. Lexus started out claiming no noise, then no abnormal noise, than piston slap and finally less than premium gas in the tank. I have all gas receipts and they're all premium. The NCDS (National Center for Dispute Settlement) funded by Toyota wasn't interested in the evidence disproving the Lexus claim. The noise had gotten worse and Lexus refuses to address the issue. The value of this car will be greatly diminished at trade in time.

0 complaints... coming from an

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

People say, "never day never." Well, I truly believe that I will never drive another car other than a Lexus. I owned an 2002 Audi A6 2.7T from new to 70k, I had to take it to the dealer every month... Now, I have the 2008 Lexus ES 350 and this car is simply amazingly reliable and fun ride! The back of the car needs a more contemporary look, but, overall it gets a 10!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

My lexus saved my life

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

This happened to me on Saturday March 20th in Laurel md at approximately 4pm while driving on rte 1 as I entered the intersection of rte 1 and cherry lane a black Ford or Mercury grand marquis or crown vic ran a red light and t-bone my es 350 totally destroying my car. Every air bag on the drivers side deployed thus saving my life the other driver was dui going approx. 70 miles per hr, I don't think that I would have survived had I not been in my Lexus. That car saved my life there's no doubt about it. I called my Lexus dealer today to get me into another es 350 asap. My family and I want to say thank for building such a great car its truly a life saver. Thanks Toyota keep up the great job. Jfman

Talk About The 2008 ES 350

2008 Lexus ES 350 Discussions See all Started By

I picked up my car with Smokey Granite Mica paint Feb. 8 2008. I quickly noticed after each hand washing all the scratches that were showing up. Each scratch and chip showed up as white lines or mark?...

2008 ES 350 with residual value of $22K and only 20,000 miles on a 12K miles lease. This has the 1st level of options (no GPS) I will be swapping for a 2011 ES 350 similarly outfitted. A 2008 with ...

2008 ES 350 will cost $100 more (MSRP) for cars arriving at dealers from 12/18....

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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