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2012 Lexus ES

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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.

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
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 221 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 vehicle I have ever owned

By on Saturday, December 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 326,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great to drive"

Cons: "Can't think of any"

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

"My wife never intends to drive a vehicle unless it has the Lexus name on it. No major repairs in 326,000 miles. In fact I can not even name a repair to this vehicle. No rattles, no squeaks. Replaced the battery once, oil change every 5,000 Miles and several sets of tires. I highly recommend this vehicle and intend to replace it with another Lexus when this one finally stops running, which I do not see in the near future."

14 people out of 17 found this review helpful

IT'S A LEXUS IT DOESN'T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THAT

By on Saturday, November 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfort, economy, safety, convenience-pleasure!"

Cons: "Can't think of any."

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

2009 LEXUS ES350 BLACK SAPPHIRE PEARL

"The 2009 Lexus ES350 lacks the overall elegance that my 2004 ES330 has, but adds a lot upgrades and amenities, and the new styling that I find more modern, sporty and almost European in it's overall look, especially in the dark Black Sapphire Pearl color, with it's dual exhaust and swept-back angular headlights. More importantly, however, are the many other reasons that compelled me to buy a Lexus to begin with: safety, economy, comfort, performance. When comparing the Lexus ES to other cars, many of which are both more and less expensive, many with "economical" 4-cylinder engines, I was amazed that the Toyota V6 beats all but the most economy-minded vehicles, like the Corolla or the Honda Civic. The V6 not only has the added power necessary for passing on the highway, but it adds a smoothness and quietude that can never be achieved with a 4 cylinder. The ES350's safety rating is one of the best. Comfort? It doesn't get much better, and I will say that my 2009 ES350 seems to be somewhat quieter than my 2004. And, as other owners have mentioned, you are treated like royalty when you take your Lexus in for service. Let's face it, it's a car with panache that takes the owner to a higher level of respect. After all, in the US car culture we are mostly judged by the car we drive."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

2009 LEXUS ES350 BLACK SAPPHIRE PEARL

best ever

By on Thursday, November 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000

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 car"

Cons: "none"

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

"Excellent condition. well cared for. no accidents. a beauty in and out. Only 9000 miles. Always upgrade after 5 years."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Best car ever, hard to even consider a new model

By on Thursday, November 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 96,000

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: "Truly a great investment, Quality everywhere"

Cons: "No cons. I get great gas mileage."

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

"I love my car. This was my first car purchased all alone. I bought mine used, with 54k. Now I have 97k and still going strong. I traded in a Camry for this car, I have the 2008 model year. The braking in rain or snow has always been amazing, and literally never slid or skipped a beat. I can't tell you how safe I feel. Having multiple side airbags front and back, even head side airbags AND body side airbags for both back seats.. (and front seats) is amazing. I just love this car. I was hit from the back by a Honda CRV and pushed into the car in front of me. I cracked their bumper in half (in front of me) but literally no damage to my front bumper at all.. it was amazing. My back bumper was also totally fine, just had the imprints from the license plate behind me. Wow! Best car ever.. Also this model has a timing chain and NOT a timing belt... which means less maint cost to change The only thing you have to do is oil, tires, spark plugs and a water pump if you need one Mine has 97k and so far, my water pump is great Love this car and engine always strong and clean.. beautiful wood interior, and you sit so low you feel so safe Best car ever Hope to make it to 200k ALSO, this is a V6 engine with 4 valves per cylinder which is a lot, 270 HP - and although it's rated 19 in the city and 31 on the highway, I've easily averaged 27 and 34 on the highway.. no problem If you look at my "average tank mpg" it says 29 right now :) also love the "miles until empty" feature.. and it also alerts you if your moonroof is open when you leave the car ;)"

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Great Value

By on Sunday, August 30, 2015

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
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great value and mechanically very sound"

Cons: "Control screen very distracting"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Mechanically this has been a great vehicle. This is our first front wheel drive vehicle and probably our last. The audio, navigation and cooling/heating system, in order to operate you have to take your eyes off the road temporarily. Very distracting to use. We've always had luxury cars, mechanically this beats out the Mercedes but equal to the Jaguar. Performance wise it comes in third Mercedes second and Jaguar(XJ) first. Style wise the Lexus has come a long way,But,still looks like every other car out there. and poor color choices, other than different shades of black or gray."

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Best Sedan

By on Saturday, August 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Cons: "No XM Radio"

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

"Lexus made the '09 through '12 ES too good. It was much less expensive than the LS, but was close to as luxurious in ride, comfort and appearance. When the new (2013) ES came out, some of the luxury features were reduced. (See Consumer Reports for details). I purchased the car at Carlsbad Lexus and was treated like a king there. My wife and I live in the central San Joaquin valley and when we take the car to Lexus here (Lexus of Fresno), we are treated like a king and queen, in spite of the fact that we didn't purchase the care there. My next car will be a '12 ES350."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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