2016 Lexus ES Hybrid Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2016 Lexus ES Hybrid was new.

Scorecard

Interior: 8.2

Auto journalists praise the 2016 Lexus ES Hybrid for its high quality cabin that stays impressively quiet from outside noise. The interior also features first-rate craftsmanship, with upscale trim materials like bamboo and real wood. The front seats are roomy and comfortable, critics write, and the rear seats have plenty of legroom. Many reviewers say the infotainment system can be complicated to use, though some like that there are physical buttons and knobs for climate and audio controls.

  • "The 2016 Lexus ES 300h's cabin presents a modern, stylish environment. The optional interior trim of sustainably grown bamboo is an especially attractive touch. The richness of the materials depends on whether you opt for one of the luxury packages, but in typical Lexus fashion, everything is put together with care regardless of how the ES is equipped." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2016 Lexus ES 350 luxury sedan interior boasts upscale materials and the exacting fit and finish we expect in Lexus vehicles." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The ES is all about luxury and the interior reflects that fact. The materials are high quality and finely crafted, with soft-touch surfaces on the dashboard, doors and armrests." -- MSN (2013)
  • "Luxury touches include piano-black or genuine wood trim, with real bamboo in the ES 300h, and optional ambient lighting below the door and dashboard inlays." -- Cars.com (2013)

Seating

The 2016 ES Hybrid has seats for five, and it comes standard with 10-way power-adjustable front seats and leatherette upholstery. Leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a power rear sunshade are optional. The front seats are comfortable and supportive and have plenty of head- and legroom, according to reviewers. The rear seats impress critics with the amount of legroom they offer, though a few say the seats may be mounted too low for tall passengers. Some reviewers say the leatherette upholstery has a nice appearance and they feel it may be preferable to the optional leather upholstery. Test drivers report the ES 300h's cabin is well-insulated from road noise.

  • "Six-footers will be quite content in the ES 300h's front seats. Rear-seat legroom is impressive as well, although taller occupants may find the seat to be positioned a little low." -- Edmunds
  • "If a quiet highway ride is the most important thing to you, then the 2015 Lexus ES is your dream car. Few cars match its silent highway ride, something that applies to both the ES 350 and ES 300h hybrid." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "The front seats provide adequate support, while rear-seat passenger space is exemplary, particularly with legroom. The standard NuLuxe upholstery looks nice enough and will likely hold up better over time; we'd consider skipping the optional real stuff." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "Like the last model, the front seat has plenty of headroom and legroom, and front passengers sit on comfortable seats." -- MSN (2013)

Interior Features

The 2016 Lexus ES 300h comes standard with a moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, a rearview camera, an eight-speaker audio system and Lexus' Display Audio infotainment system with a 7-inch display, a Remote Touch controller which is used like a computer mouse, a USB port, Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD Radio and Siri Eyes Free iPhone integration. Optional features include navigation, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system, Lexus' Enform App Suite (with smartphone integration and Internet apps like Pandora and Yelp), blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and forward collision warning with pedestrian detection.

Some critics agree the infotainment system's Remote Touch controller is overly sensitive, and they think it will take some time for drivers to adjust to the way it functions. A few test drivers report that a number of the infotainment system's features can't be used while driving, which they find irritating. Some reviewers are pleased there are physical controls for climate and audio settings, while others think the large number of optional audio inputs makes the infotainment system a bit cumbersome.

See 2016 Lexus ES Hybrid specs »

  • "The climate controls are simple to use, but the audio system is a little more complicated due to the sheer number of available media types. This is true whether you get the standard Display Audio touchscreen/multipurpose knob controller or the upgrade Lexus Remote Touch system included with the Navigation package. The latter is a mouselike device that controls a cursor on a large centrally located screen. Although interacting with this interface is very similar to using a computer mouse, the ultra-sensitive nature of the controller can make it clumsy and distracting to use while driving." -- Edmunds
  • The available Remote Touch interface takes getting used to, but software refinements have made it easier to use." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "Frustratingly, the system locks out numerous functions (even many radio presets) while the vehicle is in motion. Maybe Lexus is doing many of us a favor by forcing ES drivers to pull over before they attempt to mouse. Then again, at speed, even co-pilots are barred from making inputs." -- Motor Trend (2013)
  • Most buyers will get the Lexus Remote Touch system to control the navigation, entertainment, communications and climate functions, though many of the climate and audio controls are thankfully separated." -- MSN (2013)

Cargo

The 2016 ES Hybrid has 12.1 cubic feet of cargo room in its trunk, which is a little smaller than most upscale midsize cars, though it is large for a hybrid in the class. As is common among hybrids, the ES 300h's battery pack takes up some trunk space, so the gas-only ES 350 offers more cargo room. The ES Hybrid doesn't have a folding rear seat or a trunk pass-through for long items. A power trunk lid is available.

  • "The rear-mounted battery pack cuts trunk capacity to 12.1 cubic feet (versus 15.2 cubic feet in the ES 350), and the rear seats do not fold." -- Edmunds
  • "Typical of a hybrid, the ES 300h places its battery behind the rear seats, which lowers trunk volume to 12.1 cubic feet. Like the prior generation, the ES 350 gets a center pass-through but no folding backseat; the ES 300h has no opening at all." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "As a result of that battery location trunk space is slightly compromised, but the ES 300h still offers a generous 12.1 cubic feet of cargo space." -- Left Lane News (2013)

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