2012 Lexus ES 350 Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2012 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 268 hp @ 6200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Lexus ES 350

  • As far as entry-level luxury sedans go, the 2012 Lexus ES 350 remains a top choice, but it's not the only choice.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful, velvety-smooth V6; plush ride; sumptuous interior.

  • Cons

    Price increases quickly with options; unimpressive handling and braking.

  • What's New for 2012

    For 2012, the Lexus ES 350 is unchanged.

Full 2012 Lexus ES 350 Review

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the Lexus ES 350 is unchanged.


Judging by most of the advertisements you see for luxury cars, you'd think that most folks shopping these brands moonlight as stunt drivers, what with the power slides and flat-out attacks on curvy mountain roads. But the reality is that plenty of premium-badge buyers aren't driving enthusiasts and are just looking for a well-built car that'll provide them with the latest convenience features, a comfortable ride and isolation from the noisy and harsh outside world. For this majority, the 2012 Lexus ES 350 is a worthy choice.

Favoring luxury over outright performance, the ES 350 entry-level luxury sedan offers a coddling cabin furnished with high-grade leather upholstery, rich wood accents and enough insulation from noise and vibration to please most anyone demanding some peace and quiet. Its V6 engine is smooth and will likely strike most drivers as strong enough for a luxury-themed sedan with no sport-sedan pretenses. This is apparently a winning combination, given the sustained popularity of this Lexus. As it stands, the ES continues to have just one main drawback: It gets pricey as options are tacked on.

We'd count the Buick LaCrosse and Hyundai Genesis as the ES 350's closest rivals in terms of features and levels of comfort, though they are a bit more responsive in terms of driving dynamics. You could also check out the Acura TL and Volvo S60, which are sportier still. It's worth considering all these models, but overall the 2012 Lexus ES 350 continues to be a fine choice for a luxury sedan.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Lexus ES 350 is a midsize luxury sedan that is offered in a single well-appointed trim level.

Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated exterior mirrors, a sunroof, automatic wipers, cruise control, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power front seats, driver memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, leather upholstery, wood interior trim, an auto-dimming mirror, Bluetooth phone and music streaming capability, and an eight-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, an iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

The ES 350 options list is extensive, with many features grouped into packages. These options include xenon adaptive headlights, parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control with a pre-collision system, heated and ventilated front seats, front passenger memory functions, upgraded leather upholstery, a power rear sunshade and a wood-trimmed steering wheel. The optional hard-drive-based navigation system includes a back-up camera, voice commands, real-time traffic updates and the Lexus Enform telematics system. A 14-speaker Mark Levinson premium stereo can be added to the navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Lexus ES 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard for this front-wheel-drive car.

At an estimated 7 seconds flat, the 0-60-mph acceleration of the Lexus is average for this segment. EPA fuel economy estimates are 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.


Standard safety equipment for the 2012 Lexus ES 350 includes stability and traction control, antilock brakes, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Optional features include a radar-based pre-collision system and the Lexus Enform and Safety Connect emergency telematics system.

In an Edmunds braking test from 60 mph, the ES 350 came to a stop in a longish 133 feet -- some 18 feet longer than a Hyundai Genesis sedan took in the same test.

In testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the ES 350 was awarded the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side crash tests. The IIHS notes, however, that these ratings were based on results for the Toyota Camry, which shares a platform with the Lexus.

Interior Design and Special Features

Luxury is the name of the ES 350's game, and for the most part, Lexus has succeeded in constructing one of the most comfortable and inviting interiors in its price range. Materials are impressive all around, with supple leathers and real wood trim. The ES 350 is also stocked with features that we're more accustomed to finding in much more expensive luxury sedans.

Space is plentiful throughout the ES 350, with roomy rear seats and a trunk that can accommodate up to 14.7 cubic feet of cargo. Folding rear seats and a cargo pass-through also allow for the transport of longer items.

Driving Impressions

The 2012 Lexus ES 350 delivers a refined and serene driving experience. The V6 engine is smooth and sufficiently powerful, and if you're not particularly interested in sporty handling dynamics, the ES 350's isolated and soft ride will be to your liking.

But if you do find yourself on a curvy road, know that the ES's wallowy handling and numb steering will be notable drawbacks. At highway speeds, the cabin remains remarkably silent, mostly devoid of wind, road or engine noise. Bumps and ruts in the road are absorbed with barely a hint of their presence reaching the passengers.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

5 of 14 people found this review helpful

Don't buy the navigation system

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Vehicle: 2012 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

This is our fourth Lexus. We bought the last three new. Until this model, we liked the car, the value, and the features, even though the latter are pricey. Our beef is with the navigation system. The Obamacare people could do better. A $270 voice-activated off-the-shelf Garmin 2797LMT runs circles around this $2,600 rip-off. It's awful. Based on what I've read about the 2013-14 models, nothing has changed. That affirms the arrogance of Lexus USA executives. Another tell-tale sign: If one calls the 800 Lexus number, one learns that Lexus management refuses to give the phone reps the tools to do their jobs: they can't see my instrument panel on their monitors. Therefore, they can't help.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Amazing car

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Vehicle: 2012 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

This is my 3rd Es 350, 2005,2009, now 2012,the exterior has never looked better, bought 2012 because did not like interior of 2013 coming out in August.The ride is quite and very comfortable, standard sound system is fabulous . car now uses regular unleaded, previous Es 350's required premium, car is quick,quite and reliable,get many compliments on the way my car looks, bought dark gray. Sticker 39.109- worth every penny.Got a great deal from Bredemann Lexus in Glenview Illinois [non-permissible content removed].

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Watch out for the paint

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Vehicle: 2012 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I did all my research before I bought my 2012 Lexus ES350, heard nothing but good things and heard nothing about people having paint issues. I have owned only high end cars most of my life, so I am on the compulsive side when it comes to maintaining my vehicles, I do not use car washes,I have my cars profesionally detailed, do not drive on dirt roads and so on well, I have so many scratches on my Lexus, I stopped counting!! it has less then 4000 miles on it, and it looks like a five year old car. Looked it up on the computer and found they had a class action law suit do to paint problems.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Great highway mileage

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Vehicle: 2012 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

Last weekend my 2012 ES 350 actually exceeded the advertised MPH (19 city, 28 hwy). I drove from New Orleans back to Houston, setting cruise at 70mph. After arriving at Houston I calculated the miles-per-gallon and 33 MPG is what I got out of my car !

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

2012 es 350 is a

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Vehicle: 2012 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I have 3,000 miles on my 2012 ES which replaced an 02 GS 300 with 236k miles on it which replaced a 95 ES 300 with 170k on it. These cars last! the current car is pretty and quick and quiet, but offers no drama. It does everything well but the handling reminds me of my dad's Buicks-well, that may be an exaggeration, but not by much. Apart from that, the 3.5 v6 is plenty quick and the fit and finish are very fine. The std audio system with blue tooth and navi are very functional. You can easily understand them. Seating is good for long hauls-i did 1,600 miles in a week and no problems. I like it but on a country road with twisties, I miss my GS. and that new GS just knocks me out but its $$$,

18 of 101 people found this review helpful

2012 es 350 : last

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Vehicle: 2012 Lexus ES 350 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

The 2010 , 2011 , and 2012 ES 350 are the last of the production run for the model . History since 1990 shows the end of the run with Lexus are the best of the best cars . We bought a 2011 , and 2012 Ultra Luxury with the Levinson radio . The Es's are as near perfect as one can buy . Do not hesitate , on the Es . History will rate them like '55 chevy's . Don't hesitate , buy em' before it's too late . This sedan is a 10 .

Talk About The 2012 ES 350

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
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Identifix Reliability Ratings

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