12 Best & Worst Lexus ES 350 Years (With Pictures)

The Lexus ES 350 is a luxury midsize car that first entered the U.S. market as a 2007 model year. 

It is a refined and luxurious vehicle that prioritizes safety, quality, and comfort. 

In this article, we’ll analyze the best and worst model years of the ES 350.

2023 Lexus ES 350

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Lexus ES 350 Are:

The best Lexus ES 350 model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, 2015, and 2013. The worst model years of the ES 350 are 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Lexus ES 350?

2023 Lexus ES 350

The 2023 ES 350 is the fifth installment of the 7th generation that was launched for the 2019 model year. It features the latest design and the most up-to-date tech and safety features.

Although performance isn’t class-leading you can expect a relaxing cabin, bulletproof reliability and faultless ride quality.

This car comes in 5 trim levels: Base, F Sport Design, Luxury, F Sport Handling, and Ultra Luxury.

Pricing ranges from $42,600 to around $51,400.

The most popular trim is the entry-level Base, which offers the best value in the segment.

However, we would recommend the midrange Luxury trim level which features leather upholstery, ambient interior lighting, and more

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2023 ES 350, Edmunds review:

“Great car- my third ES and just as good as MB E350 I owned previously. Plus I don’t have to pay $350 for an oil change. Quiet, smooth and the gas mileage is incredible for a medium size V6. Plus, not paying for premium gas.”

2022 Lexus ES 350

The 2022 ES 350 has a refreshed design, updated tech – including easy-access touchscreens and bolder wheel designs.

It boasts a plush and comfortable interior, excellent ride quality, and an attractive price tag.

Prospective buyers get to select from 4 trims: Base, F Sport, Luxury, and Ultra Luxury.

On the used car market, a low-mileage model can go for around $40,000.

Top safety features include Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lexus Enform Safety Connect, and Lexus Safety System+ 2.5.

Crash test results were also noteworthy. NHTSA gave this sedan an overall rating of 5 stars out of 5. 

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2022 ES 350, Edmunds review:

“The ES 350 had been almost perfect prior to 2022. The two weaknesses had been a touchy infotainment system and front bias of the sound system. Both of these issues are now corrected with an easy-to-use touch screen and what appears to be an upgraded Pioneer stereo. The braking and suspension have been improved and the ride is simply silky smooth with plenty of power. Headlights have been improved as well. Once you drive it you won’t want the ride to end.”

2021 Lexus ES 350

The 2021 ES 350 has had virtually no complaints registered on the NHTSA database and has scored impressive feedback scores from owners.

Fuel economy for this model is commendable.

EPA estimates claim up to 26 MPG for combined driving, 22 MPG for city driving, and 32 MPG for highway driving.

Speaking of trim levels, there are 4: Base, Luxury, F Sport, and Ultra Luxury.

Owners have praised this specific model year for its value, driving experience, minimal road noise, and manufacturing quality. 

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2021 ES 350, Edmunds review:

“I owned a MB E550 AWD and that car was a bit over 85,000 optioned as I wanted it. I took delivery of a 2021 ES 350 Ultra Luxury with every available option except AWD which I do not require given where I live now. The fit and finish is as good as Mercedes and any other fine automobile. The pure luxury inside is unsurpassed in any vehicle in this price range of $55,000 up to and including the MB. The ride is ultra quiet and smooth but gives the driver a solid feel for the road. If this very automobile were to be re badged and presented as a Mercedes they could slap an $80,000 price tag on it and no one would give it a second thought.”

2019 Lexus ES 350

The 2019 ES 350 marked the beginning of the 7th Generation, and it got off to a flying start.

It was fully redesigned, came with new safety and tech features, and a more powerful V6 engine was introduced.

As expected, the model is an easy-driving, quiet, comfortable, and well-built vehicle.

There are 4 available trims: Base, Luxury, Ultra Luxury, and the newly introduced F Sport.

Regardless of trim, the model is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine (302 horsepower) mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel drive.

EPA estimates place this car’s fuel economy at 26 MPG for combined driving, 22 MPG for city driving, and 33 MPG for highway driving. 

  • Edmunds: 3.9 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.1 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2019 ES 350, Edmunds review:

“I have owned seven Lexus vehicles and recently took possession of a 2019 ES350.  It is by far the best car I have owned in my lifetime, having had Mercedes, 2 BMW’s, Chrysler, Ford, Corvette, Honda Accord, Acura to name a few…”

2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport

2018 Lexus ES 350

The 2018 ES 350 capped off the highly successful 6th-generation ES lineup (which began in 2013).

It offers a silky smooth ride, an upscale interior and unrivaled reliability.

A 3.5-liter V6 engine (268 horsepower) powers the model and is mated to a 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission. 

Standard equipment comprises 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, automatic wipers, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, and dual-zone automatic climate control, among other interesting features. 

It is also an extremely roomy sedan, thanks to its 111-inch wheelbase and 57.1-inch height.

Fuel economy figures are not the best but are still respectable.

EPA claims up to 24 MPG for combined driving, 21 MPG for city driving, and 30 MPG for highway driving. 

Customizability is king with this car as it comes in 10 different exterior colors and 9 different interior colors. 

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 86 / 100

2018 ES 350, Edmunds review:

“ … Superb ride, that is very quiet with more than ample power.  The car feels heavy but moves with ease.    I have the base sound system and it sounds crystal clear.  Overall you get Lexus quality and the price really cannot be beat for this model.”

2015 Lexus ES 350

The 2015 Lexus ES 350 is another excellent choice when shopping for a mid-size executive sedan. It is part of the 6th Generation that was launched for 2013.

Critics have praised this model for its generous rear legroom, silky-smooth V6 and surefooted handling.

It comes in 2 trims: Base and Crafted Line. 

It has excellent crash test scores and was awarded a perfect 5-star rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side and side curtain airbags, as well as front knee airbags.

Optional tech features include front and rear parking sensors, a lane-departure warning system, and a blind spot monitoring system. 

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 85 / 100

2015 ES 350, Edmunds review:

“This is my second Lexus. I kept my 2004 es 330 11 years and never had any repair issues. It still drove beautifully. I recently got my new es350 which I just love. The navigation is so much easier to use. I am getting used to the new mouse pad. We looked at other cars but nothing drives as softly and quietly as a Lexus. In the end this is the only car I wanted. It’s beautiful inside and I can adjust the seat perfectly. I love the memory mirrors and seats. The stereo sounds wonderful. I can’t find anything to complain about. I will always be a Lexus owner. Thanks Lexus, I love my car.”

2013 – 2015 Lexus ES 350

2013 Lexus ES 350

The 2013 ES 350 was the first installment of the 6th Generation and it came with notable upgrades and a revamped design. It received excellent reviews from auto critics and owners alike, complaints have been minimal too.

It is powered by a dependable 3.5-liter V6 engine (268 horsepower), paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Critics have made special mention of this car’s smooth and refined acceleration, as well as its quiet and comfortable ride. 

In terms of fuel economy, EPA claims that owners can expect up to 24 MPG for combined driving, 21 MPG for city driving, and 31 MPG for highway driving. 

The interior of the vehicle is top-notch, being both spacious and luxurious.

Standard safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes, multiple strategically placed airbags, and stability control.  

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 88 / 100

2013 ES 350, Edmunds review:

“First experience with Lexus. Traded up from Toyota Avalon 2008. What a beautiful surprise. If you want the ultimate luxury highway cruiser, this is it. Looked at Mercedes, Audi even Hyundai. for around 40 grand, nothing comes close. Love it, One problem, my wife only lets me drive it when it needs gas”

Consumer Scores For Best Lexus ES 350 Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2023 Lexus ES 3504.7 / 5.04.1 / 5.083 / 100
2022 Lexus ES 3504.7 / 5.04.1 / 5.083 / 100
2021 Lexus ES 3504.5 / 5.04.1 / 5.082 / 100
2019 Lexus ES 3503.9 / 5.04.1 / 5.083 / 100
2018 Lexus ES 3504.5 / 5.04.6 / 5.086 / 100
2015 Lexus ES 3504.4 / 5.04.6 / 5.085 / 100
2013 Lexus ES 3504.6 / 5.04.6 / 5.088 / 100

Related: How Long Do Lexus IS Last? (Solved & Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Lexus ES 350?

2007 Lexus ES 350

Based on data obtained from CarComplaints.com and CarProblemZoo.com, the 2007 ES 350 is the most problematic model ever produced. This should come as no great surprise as it was also the debut model.

Most complaints were due to the infamous Takata airbag recall – the airbags were known to explode firing metal shrapnel into the cabin.

Due to the widespread nature of the problem, owners were often left waiting for unacceptable amounts of time for repairs.

There were a number of complaints from owners whose ES 350 accelerated on its own accord, here are a couple of NHTSA reports:

“While pulling into a parking spot at a very low speed, the vehicle accelerated independently and crashed into a tree. The air bags failed to deploy.”

“While attempting to leave a driveway, the vehicle independently accelerated without warning.”

Another widespread issue with the 2007 ES 350 is the dashboard melting.

Once melted the dashboard becomes shiny, and causes the sunlight to reflect into the driver’s eyes.

The 2007 ES 350 had a total of 49 problems at CarComplaints.com and 576 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Oil leak from timing chain cover
  • Melting dashboard
  • Blown engine head
2007 Lexus ES 350

2008 Lexus ES 350

The 2008 ES 350, which is the second-most problematic model, shared many of the same issues as its predecessor albeit to a lesser extent.

It was widely affected by the Takata recall, whereby the airbags were known to explode causing serious injury and/or death.

Acceleration problems were widely reported too, owners stated that their ES 350 would unintentionally accelerate.

Melting dashboard were another common complaint, as described by one owner below:

“The top of the dash is sticky, almost like it’s melting, causing a shiny glare to reflect off the dash and windshield making it difficult to see, especially in direct sunlight.”

The 2008 ES 350 had a total of 24 problems at CarComplaints.com and 275 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Melting dashboard
  • Battery not discharging
  • Engine noise

2009 and 2010 Lexus ES 350

The 2010 and 2009 Lexus ES 350s shared the same problems, which were mostly complaints due to the Takata recall.

Owners were left waiting for unacceptable lengths of time for airbag repairs and were unable to drive their vehicle safely.

These models are also slightly dated now and stylistically can’t compete with the latest models.

Owners also reported that the dashboard was prone to melting and so too were other plastic parts of the car, which attracted dirt and dust and generally looked unsightly.

The 2009 ES 350 had a total of 7 problems at CarComplaints.com and 153 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Sticky dashboard
  • Melting dashboard
  • Sudden unintended acceleration
2009 Lexus ES 350

2011 Lexus ES 350

The vast majority of the logged complaints for the 2011 ES 350 are airbag-related.

Many owners filed complaints as they were left waiting for a very long time for repairs.

“Takata recall. The contact owns a 2011 Lexus Es350. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 16v340000 (air bags). The parts to do the repair were unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair.”

The 2011 ES 350 had a total of 4 problems at CarComplaints.com and 161 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Microphone not working
  • Fine scratches turn into bigger cracks in paint
  • Leather seats worn out

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints(CarComplaints.com)Problems(CarProblemZoo.com)
2023 Lexus ES 350
2022 Lexus ES 3505
2021 Lexus ES 3505
2020 Lexus ES 35010
2019 Lexus ES 35005
2018 Lexus ES 35016
2017 Lexus ES 350026
2016 Lexus ES 350227
2015 Lexus ES 350321
2014 Lexus ES 350634
2013 Lexus ES 3501429
2012 Lexus ES 350089
2011 Lexus ES 3504161
2010 Lexus ES 3501151
2009 Lexus ES 3507153
2008 Lexus ES 35024275
2007 Lexus ES 35049576

What Problems Do Lexus ES 350s Have?

  • Car accelerated/lurched forward on its own
  • Melting dashboard
  • Sudden unintended acceleration
  • Oil leak from timing chain cover
  • Blown engine head
  • Battery not discharging
  • Engine noise
  • Sticky dashboard
  • Oxygen sensor failure
  • Water leaking into cabin
  • Sunroof exploded
  • Unwanted reflection from outside mirror
  • Blown head gasket
  • Door jamming
  • Discolored leather upholstery

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Lexus ES 350?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Mercedes-Benz E-Class8.8$56,750 – $121,100City: 16 – 23 /Highway: 24 – 31
BMW 5-Series8.5$56,000 – $81,500City: 17 – 25 /Highway: 25 – 33
Genesis G808.4$50,000 – $65,750City: 16 – 22 /Highway: 25 – 32
Audi A68.3$55,900 – $59,800City: 21 – 24 /Highway: 30 – 31
Lexus ES 8.2$41,440 – $50,230City: 22 – 25 /Highway: 31 – 34
Volvo S908.2$57,000 – $70,500City: NA /Highway: NA
Lexus ES Hybrid8.1$42,640 – $51,430City: 43 /Highway: 44
Acura TLX7.6$39,650 – $62,000City: 19 – 22 /Highway: 24 – 31
Jaguar XF7.5$47,000 – $52,700City: 22 – 25 /Highway: 30 – 33
Cadillac CT56.9$38,195 – $90,995City: 13 – 23 /Highway: 21 – 33

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: 10 Best & Worst Mercedes-Benz E350 Years (With Facts & Stats)

References

https://www.caranddriver.com/lexus/es

https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/lexus/es

https://www.carcomplaints.com/Lexus/ES_350/

https://www.kbb.com/lexus/es/

https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2022/lexus/es

https://www.carcomplaints.com/Lexus/ES_350/

https://www.carproblemzoo.com/lexus/es350/

Author:

  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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