Go

2012 Lexus ES

Overview
Share this page
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?

2012 Lexus ES Review

By

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.

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

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?

2012 Lexus ES Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 227 Ratings for the 2007 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Best car for comfort, safety and reliability.

By on Monday, May 09, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,900

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "size, style, comfort, good pick-up, ample trunk"

Cons: "newer models offer more with safety features"

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

"I have thoroughly enjoyed this car. It is a pleasure to take on the open road, handles nicely, not a sport sedan. The passengers always have ample room and the trunk is spacious. The styling is timeless, always looks good. Like the silver color, shows little dirt."

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

2007 ES 350 is much better than later years

By on Friday, April 01, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

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: "Very solid large size; extremely powerful engine"

Cons: "none"

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

"The 2007 Lexus ES 350 is an extraordinary car. It is a solid, good-sized car with an incredibly powerful engine. Later year models suck big-time by comparison. They are much smaller and have a much weaker engine. IF YOU OWN THIS CAR, DO NOT SELL IT FOR LESS THAN $40,000. THE 2007 LEXUS ES 350 IS A COLLECTOR'S ITEM AND WILL ONLY GO UP IN PRICE IN COMING YEARS. Mine is Absolutely NOT for sale. I expect to own it for at least another 30 years,"

7 people out of 15 found this review helpful

best car I've owned

By on Wednesday, March 09, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

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
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"This was the first Lexus I've owned, and have to say its the most comfortable, smooth, and quality car I've had."

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Love this car!

By on Sunday, February 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 255,000

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: "Excellent quality and reliable"

Cons: "I'm digging her but tires are expensive"

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

"I have had this car for 9 years and love it. It is very high quality, is incredibly reliable, and I love the way it handles. I really can't say anything negative about this car, it's just been phenomenal. I've thought about getting a new car since this is a bit old and has high mileage and has been loved so much that its interior is starting to show some wear, but I'm afraid I won't get another car as good as this one is."

6 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Nice Car, Few Problems

By on Monday, February 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Excellent, Reliable Car for the Money"

Cons: "Few, read comments"

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

"I bought the car used in 2009 with 42k miles. Excellent ride, not a sports sedan, but handles adequately for most road and driving conditions. Strong engine, which contributes to my only real problem with its driving dynamics -- traction control in wet weather from a standing start. It is way too easy to spin the wheels on wet pavement and the car will not automatically compensate for it. Poor front brakes -- within the first year or so the front end began to shimmy and shake under moderate braking downhill, warped rotors -- brake job on front end solved problem for awhile, but has resurfaced recently. I do mostly freeway driving and do not ride the brakes hard or over-brake. Visibility out the rear is difficult when backing up with the large side posts and sloping rear window. Other than that, it has been a great car. Easily the best I have ever owned."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

red, tan leather, cooled seats, only 61000 miles,

By on Thursday, February 11, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great car and price"

Cons: "needs new tires"

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

"beautiful red, never wrecked, imaculate condition, cooled seats, dual seat memory, parking sensors, 6 disk cd changer, nothing ever went wrong with the car, owned for 3 years."

8 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Share this page
Advertisement
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?

Advertisement