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2012 Lexus ES

Overview
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2012 Lexus ES Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

2012 marks the final model year of the Lexus ES 350 before a planned revamp in 2013. While it is getting a little long in the tooth, the ES 350 is still a worthy competitor to luxury sedans such as the Acura TL, Audi A6, Infiniti G37 and Lincoln MKZ. Built on a platform shared with the Toyota Camry, the Lexus ES 350 is a front-wheel-drive sedan that is more focused on cruising comfort than burning up back roads. To that end, its cockpit is plush and its ride is marshmallow-soft. And then there is Lexus' luxury pedigree and reliability, both among the best in the business.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're shopping for a comfortable, spacious, dependable luxury sedan that won't break the bank, the 2012 ES 350 is a solid choice. It's a vehicle that speaks of its owner's tastefulness yet still manages to be relatively modest. Its engine, for example, runs on regular 87-octane gasoline while delivering a fuel economy rating of up to 28 mpg.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're a driver who wants more performance pop in a luxury sedan, you may want to consider alternatives such as the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, Cadillac CTS or Infiniti G37. Unlike the ES 350, those cars feature rear- or all-wheel-drive and have more sport-oriented suspensions, not to mention added visual pizzazz.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Lexus ES 350 is mostly unchanged from 2011, in which differences were also minimal after a facelift the year before. For 2012, the ES receives a new exterior color option, Nebula Gray Pearl, and is available in a Touring Edition that is limited to 2,000 cars and features a saddle-leather interior and high-gloss 17-inch wheels.

Driving the ES

Driving Impressions The Lexus ES 350 puts its emphasis on comfort. If blissful highway cruising and quiet drives in the city are paramount to you, this sedan delivers. In low-speed situations, steering...

feel is light, making parking a snap. The ES 350's V6/6-speed automatic transmission combination is strong, offering good acceleration and supple shifts in both regular and sport modes. The Lexus ES 350 has a stated 0-60 mph time of seven seconds flat, which is swift but not sports-sedan quick. The Lexus' suspension soaks up bumps well and its brakes are strong.
Favorite Features

Mark Levinson Audio System
If you appreciate audio quality, the 14-speaker Mark Levinson sound system sounds very good. Available only on the Navigation System/Mark Levinson package, the option is not cheap, but if you're an audiophile or a commuter who spends countless hours in the car, it makes time behind the wheel much more gratifying.

Creature Comforts
Easy-to-locate and use seat ventilation controls can warm or cool your bottom in a hurry, and the ES 350's optional wooden-and-leather-trimmed steering wheel feels great, literally, in your hands. We also like that unlike many luxury vehicles, this one can run on 87-octane gas, which can add comfort to your budget at each fill up.

2012 Lexus ES Details
Interior

Driver and passenger comfort are key up front, where the soft seats feature 10-way power adjustment. In the rear, the bench seat offers ample headroom and legroom for two adults or three children. Leather seating is standard all around, and tastefully complements the polished walnut or maple wood accents. Some aspects of the interior feel dated, such as the digital clock and steering-wheel-mounted buttons. Also on the down side of the ledger, controlling what should be simple aspects such as fan speed often requires a multi-step process using the touch screen.

Exterior

The 2012 ES 350 features pleasant - if not exciting - contoured lines. Dual stainless-steel exhaust tips and a shark-fin antenna give the ES 350 some personality, while pragmatic features such as puddle lamps mounted under the side mirrors help illuminate the ground and any pitfalls thereon. Up front, the illumination theme continues with optional high-intensity headlights and an adaptive lighting system that turns the headlights in unison with the car for better visibility around curves.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The ES 350 offers an impressive array of features inside and out, including keyless entry, push-button start/stop, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and a dual-zone climate control with a smog-sensing system that automatically switches to recirculation mode - a great feature for those who are frequently stuck in traffic. Also standard are a moonroof, HomeLink universal transmitter and an 8-speaker sound system with an in-dash 6-disc changer and Bluetooth audio streaming. On the safety front, the Lexus ES features 10 airbags.

Optional Equipment

Looking to enhance your ES 350? Consider a premium sound and nav unit that boasts a high-end Mark Levinson audio/video system and a navigation screen that can relay information such as traffic, weather, and sports and stock news. The Ultra Luxury Package ups the ante with semi-aniline leather interior with heated and ventilated front seats, panorama glass roof, power rear sunshade and a full-size spare tire. Other options that can be had as standalone features include a wood-and-leather trimmed steering wheel, pre-collision system and radar-enabled cruise control, 17-inch sport allow wheels, and a parking-assist system that uses ultrasonic sensors in the front and rear bumpers to detect distance from objects.

Under the Hood

Carried over in the 2012 ES 350 from last year's model is its 3.5-liter V6. That engine makes 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque while delivering an EPA fuel-economy rating of 19/28 mpg city/highway, the latter being one mpg better than the 2011 model. The V6 is mated to a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission that features a sport mode and can also be shifted manually. In addition to Lexus' 48-month/50,000-mile basic warranty, the ES 350's powertrain is backed for six years or 70,000 miles, whichever comes first.

3.5-liter V6
268 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28

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2012 Lexus ES Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 184 Ratings for the 2007 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Wonderful

By on Monday, April 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Overall drive and conmfort"

Cons: "GPS is terrible"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"While I do love my ES350 like no other vehicle I have owned. I do have a couple qualms. The seat heating can be confusing as to when its supposed to be on and when its not. The GPS is terrible to configure and setup waypoints. While other GPS use the idea that obvious is best, The lexus GPS either has not added the feature of searching for locations or just never thought people would want to look. Also when trying to find a location such as Main Street for example. it would show 50 or more lines of which it takes a long time to go through. Not a very friendly user interface. Last there seems to be a weird drain issue around the exterior mirrors. After washing a run off appears like a slow leak down the side of the vehicle draining from the mirrors. Its not there right away but you have to wipe it down after 30 minutes or more to keep it clean"

Wonderful

By on Monday, April 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Overall drive and conmfort"

Cons: "GPS is terrible"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"While I do love my ES350 like no other vehicle I have owned. I do have a couple qualms. The seat heating can be confusing as to when its supposed to be on and when its not. The GPS is terrible to configure and setup waypoints. While other GPS use the idea that obvious is best, The lexus GPS either has not added the feature of searching for locations or just never thought people would want to look. Also when trying to find a location such as Main Street for example. it would show 50 or more lines of which it takes a long time to go through. Not a very friendly user interface. Last there seems to be a weird drain issue around the exterior mirrors. After washing a run off appears like a slow leak down the side of the vehicle draining from the mirrors. Its not there right away but you have to wipe it down after 30 minutes or more to keep it clean"

Wonderful

By on Monday, April 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Overall drive and conmfort"

Cons: "GPS is terrible"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"While I do love my ES350 like no other vehicle I have owned. I do have a couple qualms. The seat heating can be confusing as to when its supposed to be on and when its not. The GPS is terrible to configure and setup waypoints. While other GPS use the idea that obvious is best, The lexus GPS either has not added the feature of searching for locations or just never thought people would want to look. Also when trying to find a location such as Main Street for example. it would show 50 or more lines of which it takes a long time to go through. Not a very friendly user interface. Last there seems to be a weird drain issue around the exterior mirrors. After washing a run off appears like a slow leak down the side of the vehicle draining from the mirrors. Its not there right away but you have to wipe it down after 30 minutes or more to keep it clean"

The best vehicle I ever owned!

By on Friday, April 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great price, classy, fun to drive"

Cons: "had problems with drop calls..."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this car new 300 miles....this was my 8th new vehicle....and the best one of all. Customer service.....AWESOME....I will be getting many more.....Rated as...#1 luxury sedan...."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Reliable reliable reliable

By on Thursday, April 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "reliable and pleasent to drive on long trips"

Cons: "base modle could have more for the money."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Lexus is definatly a higher priced car however, you get what you pay for. The is very comftable but alittle light on the interior quality. Alot of power packed in the 3.5 liter engine with the exterior being a good mix of conservative style with some sport mixed in. The body style will stay apealing in years to come. the car handles great in nomal driving conditions, alittle lacking under aggresive driving but it is the ES not the GS. Will buy another someday when this one needs replaced. I am bettng i will have this one for awhile."

Best vehicle I ever owned, including my 2003 ES

By on Sunday, March 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfortable, economical, a joy to drive."

Cons: "Cup holder diameter too small for my cup - Ha!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have two Lexus. The 2003 was a big surprise (still owned). The 2010 is a gigantic surprise. Both purchased new, serviced at dealerships during warranty periods. Neither has ever failed. My 2010 is incredibly comfortable for travel. If I ever purchase another auto, it will be a Lexus. Incredible car."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?