KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 10/20/2013
After six generations, the Lexus ES sedan is still going strong for 2014, taking a backseat only to the RX crossover SUV in overall Lexus sales. BMW may make a sportier handling sedan and Audi may have a more opulent interior, but the ES's reputation for bulletproof reliability and resale speaks volumes about what matters most to luxury car buyers. A modest but capable V6 (in the ES 350), respectable handling and a long list of luxury features are the ES strengths, while the hybrid ES 300h offers all this plus 40 mpg. Aggressive yet handsome, the ES doesn't stray too far from the formula most buyers find appealing, and its user-friendly interfaces are a welcome relief from overly complex touch screens and button-littered dashboards. That's why we named it one of the 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000 for 2014.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for luxury that is as reliable as it is impressive, the 2014 Lexus ES should hold a special place on your shopping list. The ES 300h hybrid model sacrifices nothing in return for its 40-mpg fuel economy.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're idea of a luxury sedan is one that can deliver a thrill ride while winding through twisting mountain roads, the ES is not the sedan for you. A rear-drive sport sedan, such as the Cadillac CTS or BMW 5 Series, makes a better choice.
What's New for 2014
Fresh from a complete remake last year, the 2014 Lexus ES receives only a few notable changes. LED fog lights replace the old fashioned bulb lamps, and heated and cooling seats can now be ordered with Lexus' faux-leather NuLuxe perforated seat trim. Apple's Siri Eyes Free technology is added to the equipment roster.
The 2014 Lexus ES 350 delivers one of the most comfortable and quiet rides in the segment. Both the ES 350 and ES 300h are extremely quiet at highway speeds, so much so that it's sometimes hard to hear the engine working. But punch the accelerator and the ES 350's 268-horsepower V6 emits a subtle growl no amount of insulation can shut out. Capable of sprinting to 60 mph in just 7.1 seconds, the ES is no slouch and delivers ample power for passing or merging. A selectable drive mode features a "sport" setting that changes the transmission's shift patterns to deliver better acceleration. Oddly, this setting seems to work better in the hybrid model, perhaps due to the added torque provided by the electric assist motor. The transitions between the hybrid's electric motor and gasoline engine are very smooth, except when in "eco" mode, in which the throttle response feels muted and the powertrain nervous.
The 2014 Lexus ES 300h hybrid is rated at 40 mpg combined, and from our experience that number is realistic.
The Lexus ES has a host of options that can make it an oasis on wheels. Some of our favorites include the heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, and Mark Levinson audiophile sound system that pumps out 835 watts through 15 speakers.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…