2016 Lexus ES 350 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Smooth V6 engine
  • comfortable ride and composed handling
  • luxurious and well-built interior
  • generous rear legroom.
  • Navigation system controller can be complicated and distracting to use.
List Price Range
$17,499 - $27,998

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Edmunds' Expert Review

If you're looking for relaxed, serene transportation in an entry-level luxury sedan, the 2016 Lexus ES 350 is a fine choice. There are many excellent sedans in this price range, though, and you might prefer the driving experience or the technology interface in some of its rivals.

Vehicle overview

If you're shopping for an entry-level luxury sedan, you'll come up with a diverse list of eligible cars ranging in dimensions from compact to full-size. The sheer number of choices can be overwhelming, but it's fairly easy to decide whether the 2016 Lexus ES 350 belongs on your short list. The ES has no high-performance inclinations, so if you want a sporty near-luxury sedan, this isn't it. Instead, this entry-level Lexus is a spacious, well-built sedan that prioritizes comfort above all else.

The 2016 Lexus ES 350 continues to serve as a yardstick for the entry-level luxury car class.

Lexus hasn't made many changes for 2016 apart from the car's restyled front end and newly optional bi-LED headlights, but the ES 350's long-standing appeal as a feature-laden midsize luxury cruiser remains. Its standard V6 engine purrs rather than growls, and does so at all speeds without a hint of coarseness. Ride quality is well mannered and refined, and while there's nothing overtly sporty about the ES, its steering is precise and the big sedan feels steady around turns. Inside, the 2016 Lexus ES 350 swaddles its driver and passengers in quiet, polished comfort. There's ample room front and rear, and interior materials and fit and finish are top-flight. The only major annoyance here is the Remote Touch controller (included with the optional navigation system) that we've found clumsy and distracting to use while driving.

If you're shopping in this segment, one of the best overall options is the Hyundai Genesis, which delivers credible luxury on par with premium-brand German sedans. Another solid contender is the well-rounded Acura TLX, and both it and the Genesis offer optional all-wheel drive. If you're leaning toward something sportier, the 2016 Nissan Maxima is worth a look. Or, for something more traditional, consider Cadillac's XTS, which is every bit as comfortable as the ES 350 and available with all-wheel drive as well. But overall, we believe the Lexus ES 350 still serves as an entry-level luxury sedan benchmark. For those shoppers seeking comfy and luxurious transportation, it's a pretty good place to start.

2016 Lexus ES 350 models

The 2016 Lexus ES 350 is a midsize-to-large luxury sedan that seats five people.

Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, three driver-adjustable drive settings, LED headlights (low-beam setting only), running lights and foglights, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, heated mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats (with two-way adjustable lumbar), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, perforated premium vinyl upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera and Safety Connect emergency communications. Also standard is the Display Audio interface (includes a 7-inch touchscreen and multipurpose control knob), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Siri Eyes Free (iPhone voice control integration) and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

A luxuriously appointed, well-equipped cabin is a Lexus hallmark, and the 2016 ES 350 doesn't disappoint.

There are many options and packages available, but availability can vary depending on where you live.

The Navigation package includes a larger 8-inch display screen, the mouselike Remote Touch electronics interface, a navigation system, voice controls, enhanced Bluetooth connectivity, text-to-speech functionality and the Enform suite of smartphone-connected apps and concierge services (including Lexus Enform Remote, which allows you to control certain functions with your smartphone). A 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system can be added to the Navigation package. The Safety System+ package includes adaptive cruise control, a frontal collision warning system (the Lexus pre-collision system), a lane departure warning system with steering assist and automatic high-beam headlight control.

The Premium package adds driver memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and wood trim. The Luxury package adds that equipment plus parking sensors, heated and ventilated front seats, leather upholstery and a power rear window sunshade. The Ultra Luxury package adds the Premium and Luxury packages' equipment plus automatic wipers, a power-operated trunk lid, a panoramic sunroof, manual rear door sunshades, ambient interior lighting, a heated steering wheel, a power driver seat cushion extender and passenger seat memory functions.

Depending on which packages you select, you'll often be required to purchase specific stand-alone options as well. The list includes 18-inch wheels, upgraded bi-LED headlights, a blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning system, front and rear parking sensors and many of the Ultra Luxury package's extra items.

2016 Highlights

For 2016, the Lexus ES 350 gets improved sound-deadening in the cabin, a number of minor interior tweaks and freshened front and rear styling. Bi-LED headlights are a new option, while a revised safety package features an updated version of Lexus' pre-collision system with pedestrian detection capability. The panoramic sunroof is now available as an individual option.

Performance & mpg

The 2016 Lexus ES 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard. The EPA's estimated fuel economy is 24 mpg combined (21 city/31 highway).

During Edmunds testing, a Lexus ES 350 went from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, which is an average time for the class.

Safety

Every 2016 Lexus ES 350 comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side and side curtain airbags, and front knee airbags. Also included are a rearview camera and Lexus Safety Connect (automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location and an emergency assist button).

The Lexus Safety System+ package bundles the pre-collision system, lane departure warnings (with steering assist to help keep the car centered in its lane), adaptive cruise control and automatic high-beam headlight control. The pre-collision system is a fairly basic frontal collision warning system, though it does have the ability to apply the brakes automatically in a potential collision situation and, for 2016, it's able to detect pedestrians in addition to other vehicles.

Other optional equipment includes front and rear parking sensors and a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts.

In Edmunds brake testing, the ES came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet, which is around average.

In government crash testing, the ES 350 earned a perfect five-star rating for its overall performance, with five stars for total frontal-crash protection and side crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the ES the highest possible rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. Its seat/head restraint design also was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Driving

The 2016 Lexus ES 350 delivers a refined driving experience bolstered by a V6 engine that's smooth and responsive. At highway speeds, the cabin remains remarkably silent, mostly devoid of wind, road or engine noise. Bumps and ruts in the road are also nicely absorbed. However, don't expect complete isolation from road imperfections, as the ES 350 is tuned to deliver more of a balance between out-and-out comfort and handling precision.

Through turns, the steering is commendably accurate for a big sedan. Still, the steering feels a little light in "Normal" mode and many drivers might prefer the ES 350's Sport mode, as it provides a welcome increase in steering effort.

Reshaped exhaust tips are meant to give the rear of the 2016 ES 350 a more refined appearance.

Interior

The 2016 Lexus ES 350's cabin is modern and stylish. The analog clock in the center of the dash is a classy touch that breaks up the otherwise high-tech environment. There are new interior colors and trim materials for 2016, including a matte-finish bamboo trim and "flaxen" upholstery combo that makes things look positively Swedish. Of course, the richness of the materials varies depending on whether you opt for leather or stick with the standard perforated vinyl, but either way, build quality is excellent.

The climate controls are simple to use, but the audio system is a little more complicated due to the sheer number of available media types. This is true whether you get the standard Display Audio touchscreen/multipurpose knob controller, or upgrade to the Lexus Remote Touch system included with the Navigation package. The latter is essentially a mouselike device that controls a cursor on a large centrally located screen. Although interacting with this interface is very similar to using a computer mouse, the ultra-sensitive nature of the controller can make it clumsy and distracting to use while driving. For 2016, Lexus has added separate "Enter" buttons on each side of the mouse in hopes of improving ease of use, but we haven't yet tested the revised setup. If tech features are important to you, we recommend playing around with Remote Touch before taking an ES 350 home.

The troublesome, mouselike knob remains in the 2016 ES 350, though Lexus has added "Enter" buttons on the sides.

Space is ample all around, and 6-footers will be quite content in the comfy front seats. Rear seat legroom, in particular, is very impressive, though taller occupants will find their heads touching the roof in ES 350s equipped with the optional panoramic sunroof. The trunk offers 15.2 cubic feet of space, which is average for this class. The rear seats do not fold down, however, and only a pass-through is offered.

Rear seat legroom is generous, but headroom is a little snug and the seats do not fold.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2016 Lexus ES 350.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

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Brandon,01/05/2016
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
I have a 2016 ES ultra luxury, and have had a 2008 in the past. The ES is a terrific car for real world use, it will out-handle what most will ever throw at it. It's not a car for a track..but neither really is a C class or 3 or 5 series BMW that I've owned, and they were in no way as serene nor exciting (except when the warranty runs out, or you deal with condescending service departments). The Lexus ES is as luxurious and reliable as you can find anywhere close to it's price range, has a unique 'feel' of quality and thoughtfulness that can't be checked off on a checklist when shopping, you have to own it to notice it. Is it sporty? No. There's not much luxurious about 'feeling the road' unless you're on a track or rare weekend journey, and for that, you can get a real sports car. If you want a sportier 'edge' in a sedan, the GS is very nice and still solid. When shopping for the ES, know that with it being quiet, it's very noticeable which wheels and tires you get. They come with either Michelin or Bridgestone from factory, the particular Michelin they use is rated as top 3 by tirerack.com, the Bridgstone dead last. You can tell when you drive it, and from some reviews who say it's not the car they expected, they always photo Bridgestones on larger rims...which you also may want to avoid. The 17" wheels for 2016 look great, but if you get ultra luxury, you have to swap out the 18". I know..an inch less, but test drive for yourself, the 17", and on a Michelin (Not Bridgestone) tire is what you'd like. in 2016 they also updated suspension and added more sound deadening. It's noticeable if you drive it back to back with a prior year. It's 80% of the top of the line Lexus LS, for almost half the price. It's a hard model to ignore, unless you're trying to impress people who insist that luxury must be sporty and rough edged.
I like it
John Valenti,06/10/2016
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
Beautiful interior and exterior. Looks and feels like a luxury automobile. City gas MPG 23+. Highway gas MPG 34+. Overall a great automobile. No problems to date. Still good gas mileage.
5th ES 350, Best yet.
Ross,07/11/2016
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
I have leased/ purchased 12 Lexus vehicles prior to the 2016 ES 350, including 4 ES's, 3 RX's, 3 IS's, and 2 GS's. I currently have a 2015 GS 350. My 2014 ES 350 was coming off lease and was traded for a 2016 ES 350 Luxury with 18 wheels. I looked at several other brands this time, but kept coming back to Lexus as the lease deals are hard to beat in this segment. I was very surprised how much better the '16 is verses the '14. The 2014 ES 350 was ok, but had several downfalls. The ride was just ok, bumps got through. I hated the wood steering wheel, among a few other things. That car was sort of a marsh mellow. Mushy steering, handling, seating etc. The 2016 has greatly improved these things. The seats are better, being slightly firmer with good support for long drives. The steering is more direct. There is definitely more sound deadening in this new one. The ride is much better, with much improved absorption of bumps. I'm not going to debate the spindle grill, thats personal taste. It does blend in well on this design, unlike some other Lexus vehicles where the spindle protrudes. I recently completed a 7 hour drive, and my hands didn't hurt with the new steering wheel design. It is much more padded than the old one. I thought I would never used radar cruise, but it worked flawlessly on a long trip. This is primarily my wife's car, and she really likes it. I feel its a big improvement over the previous ES. The dealership experience was great as well. Is it perfect? No, but neither is any car out there. What could be better? Start with Lexus Enform. Ridiculous amount of steps to remote start the car. Apps are useless, better just to have the passenger use their smart phone. There are still some hard plastics in the interior, such as on the door panels, and where the driver's right leg hit the center console. Is it a GS 350? No way, but that car is more expensive. The ES has a very large rear seat, uses regular fuel, and is priced very well in this segment. Overall, I am very satisfied with this car. I am very happy that there has been refinements over the previous one.
Transmission issue
Amy,08/09/2016
4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
I've only had my 2016 ES 350 since December of 2015. It only have 5000 miles.Love my car until this past July my car starting doing some weird sound after taking off from a traffic stop light. Once I accelerated the car it made like loud thump and the speed diminished. I couldn't make the car go over 20 miles per hr because it started to make the thump sound again. Also the traction control came on when it made the sound. Long story short I got a tow truck to take my car to the dealership and they made the analysis and it turns out to be the transmission. But according to Lexus consumer hot line and the dealership they only cover a refurbished transmission not a new one. So for right know I am paying for a vehicle that is not drivable and going back and forth with Lexus to get a new transmission. This has been a big headache we just going to have to see what the outcome will be for my car.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover11.1%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2016 Lexus ES 350

Used 2016 Lexus ES 350 Overview

The Used 2016 Lexus ES 350 is offered in the following submodels: ES 350 Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Lexus ES 350?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Lexus ES 350 trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Lexus ES 350 Base is priced between $17,499 and$27,998 with odometer readings between 7127 and106617 miles.

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Which used 2016 Lexus ES 350s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 Lexus ES 350 for sale near. There are currently 42 used and CPO 2016 ES 350s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $17,499 and mileage as low as 7127 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2016 Lexus ES 350.

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Find a used Lexus ES 350 for sale - 5 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $8,843.

Find a used Lexus for sale - 11 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $7,573.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lexus ES 350 for sale - 7 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $21,294.

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Should I lease or buy a 2016 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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Check out Lexus ES 350 lease specials