2009 Lexus ES 350 Review

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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Powerful and velvety-smooth V6, plush ride, sumptuous interior, admirable crashworthiness.
  • Options can be expensive.

The 2009 Lexus ES 350, with its plush ride, strong performance and beautiful interior, is a fine choice for an entry-level luxury sedan.

Vehicle overview

Surveying the scene in the entry-level luxury sedan segment, one could be forgiven for assuming that sportiness is the name of the game. There are sport-tuned suspensions, sport modes for transmissions and sport appearance packages providing eye candy such as fancier wheels and spoilers. But what about average luxury sedan buyers -- you know, people who value their cars mostly as respites from the daily grind? Are they being elbowed out in the rush to register faster slalom speeds and higher G-forces on the skid pad?

The truth is, while sportiness may be sexy these days, luxuriousness still brings home the bacon. A case in point is the 2009 Lexus ES 350. Here's a sedan that has no pretensions about being athletic, yet shoppers continually make it one of the best-selling luxury sedans around. It's the anti-sport sedan, and apparently that suits many well-heeled drivers just fine.

The ES 350's core virtues are readily apparent. A classy-looking cabin stocked with soft leather and high-quality materials greets every occupant, and road imperfections always seem a few layers of isolation away. As for ambient noise, this Lexus is quieter than thousands of pounds of moving metal have any right to be. The superb corporate six-cylinder -- pumping out 272 horsepower in this application -- never sounds taxed, yet it moves the ES out with impressive alacrity. In short, the ES 350 is all about coddling its guests, which is a pretty appealing proposition after a long day at the office.

As far as weaknesses go, the ES 350 wears them on its sleeve. Looking for a back roads dance partner? The softly sprung ES doesn't tango. Want to keep the price down? Better avoid those pricey option packages. And if you desire an exclusive luxury sedan that's not based on a plebian family hauler, the ES just won't do, as it's an extensively revised Toyota Camry at heart.

Otherwise, the 2009 Lexus ES 350 is hard to beat as an entry-level luxury offering. Still, there are rivals worth looking at -- the Hyundai Genesis sedan offers rear-wheel drive and a choice of V6 or V8 power plants for roughly ES money. And if you'd like some sporting flavor in your luxury sedan, there's Acura's redesigned TL as well as Infiniti's G35. Nonetheless, Lexus deserves credit for the ES 350's winning formula. It's an extremely comfortable, finely finished entry-level luxury sedan, and that should be enough to keep it near the top of numerous shopping lists.

2009 Lexus ES 350 models

The 2009 Lexus ES 350 is an entry-level luxury sedan that comes in one well-equipped trim level. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, 10-way power front seats, real wood accents, keyless entry/ignition, a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer, dual-zone automatic climate control, one-touch up/down windows all around and an eight-speaker audio system with a six-CD changer and an auxiliary audio jack.

Numerous additional accoutrements are offered via a number of available (and usually pricey) packages. Highlights include chrome wheels, park assist, leather seating, heated/ventilated front seats, adaptive cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, front seats with memory, adaptive xenon HID headlights, a navigation system (with voice activation and a rearview camera), a premium 14-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio and video system, satellite radio and a power rear sunshade.

2009 Highlights

For 2009, the Lexus ES 350 is essentially unchanged.

Performance & mpg

The 2009 Lexus ES 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that pumps out a turbine-smooth 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 performance testing, this tandem spirits the ES 350 to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates are above average, at 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.


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 2009 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), which automatically tightens 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 score 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 rear-occupant protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests, the ES 350 netted top-notch "Good" ratings.


The 2009 Lexus ES 350 provides an isolated, pillow-soft ride, and most buyers won't drive the ES aggressively enough to be disappointed with its unathletic handling. Road, wind and engine noise are negligible -- the ES is one of the quietest cars we've ever tested at freeway cruising speeds, which is all the more impressive given that it's one of Lexus' most affordable offerings.


Since sportiness isn't part of the equation, the ES 350's engineers had plenty of time to devote to making the cabin as luxurious as possible. For the most part, they've succeeded in grand style, as the ES has one of the most comfortable and inviting interiors south of $40,000. Materials quality is absolutely top-shelf, as is build quality. Moreover, the optional ventilated seats are among the best we've experienced. The ES 350 also offers a roomy backseat and a 14.7-cubic-foot trunk with a cargo pass-through.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2009 Lexus ES 350.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
Lexus .....still the best car I've ever owned
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
I'm now into the seventh year since I purchased this car used. I stilll maintain it as my Best. Ride quality, gas economy, handling...all 5 Stars. I still maintain it through Lexus and take their advice on most of their suggested maintenance. I purchased another Lexus two years ago , an 09 , RX 350. I just want to warn Lexus buyers to thoroughly query the Lexus dealer for all recall information on the car you're purchasing. I was not informed that my RX had a recall for dashboard cracking and at time of purchase, I was eligible to participate in the recall. I ended up incurring a considerable expense to replace the dashboard. I appealed to the dealer and Lexus corporate both of whom refused to listen to any compromise. I wouldn't hold this one experience against the Lexus Brand, as I still maintain they make a wonderful, very reliable car but nonetheless, buyer beware!
4 out of 5 stars
Great car sans the rattles
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
This is my second ES. The prior was an ES 330. The car is quiet in terms of road noise. Performance is great unless you are used to driving a high performance BMW. I';s easy to look down and see you are cruising at 80 thinking you are driving at 60. Interior materials are all high quality. I only have 2 complaints. First the sound system is sub-par for this class of vehicle. Second there is as persistant rattle in the sun-roof area that the dealer cannot seem to fix. There are also other bump related rattles that seem to develop during the first 20k miles.
4.75 out of 5 stars
Lucky to be alive
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
My husband and I had matching ES 350's. My 2 boys and I were traveling in Washington DC one evening and were T-Boned by a guy going about 50 mph who ran a stop light. My ES 350 saved all 3 of us, it was amazing how the car took over, spun around and landed perfectly between the lines of the road and disengaged itself. The car was totaled but we all walked away. The police officer said we would have had a fatality if not for the safety of that car.
4.75 out of 5 stars
Relentless Pursuit of Perfection
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
I was fortunate enough to find a 2009 Lexus ES 350 with 35,000 miles on it that was in mint condition.It is silky smooth and whisper quiet.I have no issues with the steering,and it handles well even around sharp curves.You have the feeling you are controlling a precision instrument. The biggest surprise is how fast it is.It has awsome passing power,and it is also fast off the line. My only minor critique on the car is that although the front seats are decently comfortable,there is room for improvement in that area.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2009 Lexus ES 350

Used 2009 Lexus ES 350 Overview

The Used 2009 Lexus ES 350 is offered in the following submodels: ES 350 Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A). The Used 2009 Lexus ES 350 comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2009 Lexus ES 350 comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 6 yr./ 70000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Lexus ES 350?

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Which used 2009 Lexus ES 350s are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 2009 Lexus ES 350s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Lexus ES 350 for sale - 4 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $7,589.

Find a used Lexus for sale - 11 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $12,482.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus ES 350 for sale - 2 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $11,105.

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Should I lease or buy a 2009 Lexus ES 350?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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