2018 Lexus ES Hybrid Review

The 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid ranks midpack among luxury midsize cars. An excellent predicted reliability rating and a spacious cabin offset a confusing infotainment system and some uninspiring driving dynamics.

Pros & Cons

  • Above-average predicted reliability rating
  • Outstanding fuel economy
  • Upscale, comfortable cabin
  • Smooth ride
  • Confusing infotainment controls
  • Uninspiring performance
  • Little trunk space

Rankings & Awards

The 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid's #4 ranking is based on its score within the 2018 Luxury Midsize Cars category. It was a finalist for our 2018 Best Luxury Midsize Car for the Money award. Currently the Lexus ES Hybrid has a score of 8.4 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 33 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.3
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.1
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Lexus ES Hybrid Overview

Is the 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid a Good Used Car?

Yes, the ES Hybrid is a good used luxury midsize car that offers a balanced mix of luxury and practicality.

The 2018 ES Hybrid has several strengths:

  • Top-notch predicted reliability rating
  • Good safety score
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Plush, comfortable ride
  • Ample rear-seat legroom
  • Elegant cabin
  • Long list of standard driver assistance features

It also has some weaknesses:

  • So-so acceleration
  • Less fun to drive than rivals
  • Distracting infotainment controller
  • Shortage of modern tech features
  • Undersized trunk
Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 33 Lexus ES Hybrid reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability ratings and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars since 2007, and our team has decades of automotive industry experience combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid?

Based on listings for the 2018 Lexus ES on our site, the average price is $35,800. Prices range from $32,000 to $40,000 and vary depending on condition, mileage, features, and location.

We currently do not have pricing information for the 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid. However, you can view listings of the ES Hybrid for sale on our site.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid Cost to Own?

The 2018 ES Hybrid’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $22,700, or $4,540 per year. That’s one of the lowest totals among luxury midsize cars.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New ES Hybrid?

Lexus fully redesigned the ES and ES Hybrid for the 2019 model year. In addition to a revamped appearance inside and out, the sedan sees a bump in horsepower from 200 to 215. The 2019 ES Hybrid is also more fuel-efficient, getting up to 43/45 mpg city/highway. Trunk space is increased by about 4.5 cubic feet in the new model because the battery was relocated to under the rear seat. Several features make their debut in the 2019 ES Hybrid, including a Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa. There’s also newly standard safety tech, such as oncoming vehicle detection, road sign assist, and lane tracing assist.

You can likely save a lot of money buying a used ES Hybrid instead of a new one. However, we recommend going with the improved 2019 model if your budget allows. The price of a 2019 ES 300h starts at $41,560 and go up to around $53,500.

Read about the new Lexus ES Hybrid »

The 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid saw few changes from the previous model. Therefore, you may be better off buying a nearly identical 2017 ES Hybrid instead, which likely costs less. You can probably save even more money with older models, but there were some year-to-year changes to keep in mind. The 2016 ES Hybrid received updated exterior styling, and the Lexus Safety System+ suite of driver assistance features became available. For 2017, this package became standard. 

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 ES Hybrid »

See the Best New Car Deals »

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How Reliable Is the 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid?

The 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid has a stellar predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about ES Hybrid reliability »

2018 Lexus ES Hybrid Recalls

At the time of writing, there are no recalls for the 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid.

See more information on Lexus ES Hybrid safety recalls »

Which Used Lexus ES Hybrid Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid only comes in the ES 300h trim. The hybrid powertrain consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a single electric motor. Front-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission are standard.

The 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid comes standard with synthetic leather upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, a moonroof, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The infotainment system features an 8-inch display, an eight-speaker stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio, a USB port, and Bluetooth. Standard driver assistance features include forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a rearview camera.

When it was new, the ES Hybrid was offered with a few option packages and standalone features. Available features include heated and ventilated front seats, genuine leather upholstery, semi-aniline leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, parking sensors, a power trunk, a power rear sunshade, navigation, voice recognition, and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson premium surround-sound stereo.

See 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid trims and specs »

What Does Lexus' Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Lexus offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 70,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Lexus extends its original new-car warranty to six years or unlimited mileage. From the day you purchase or lease your Lexus CPO vehicle, you receive complimentary maintenance covering the next four factory-recommended services for two years or 20,000 miles. Every CPO Lexus must pass a 161-point inspection. Additional benefits like loaner cars, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Lexus warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Lexus has the best CPO program in the industry.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the ES Hybrid?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. It received five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Lexus ES a 2018 Top Safety Pick. It earned the highest rating of Good in five crash tests and the top rating of Superior for the effectiveness of its front crash prevention features. In headlight testing, ES models equipped with standard headlights earned the second-highest rating of Acceptable for how well they illuminate the road ahead, while models equipped with the Bi-LED headlamps package received the second-lowest rating of Marginal.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • forward collision warning
  • pedestrian detection
  • automatic emergency braking
  • adaptive cruise control
  • automatic high-beam headlights
  • lane departure warning
  • lane keep assist
  • rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • parking sensors

See ES Hybrid safety scores »

2018 Lexus ES Hybrid Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid or 2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid?

Both the ES Hybrid and 2018 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid have excellent fuel economy but dull driving dynamics. The ES Hybrid boasts a better predicted reliability rating, a nicer interior, and more second-row space. On the other hand, the MKZ has a bit more trunk space and an easier-to-use infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. Unless you really value the intuitive technology in the MKZ, the ES Hybrid is probably the better buy.

Which Is Better: 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid or 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid?

As products of the same parent company, the ES Hybrid and the 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid use matching 200-horsepower hybrid powertrains and return identical EPA-estimated fuel economy numbers. Though it's classified as a large car, the Avalon feels pretty nimble from behind the wheel. That extra size also translates to a little more rear-passenger and trunk space than you'll get in the ES Hybrid. The Avalon Hybrid comes standard with niceties like leather upholstery and heated front seats, and it stacks up well against the ES Hybrid in terms of interior luxury. You’ll likely pay a bit less for the Toyota. These are both pretty good cars, but the Avalon Hybrid is a little better overall.

Compare the ES Hybrid, MKZ, and Avalon Hybrid »

2018 ES Hybrid Performance

How Does the 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid Drive?

The 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid’s powertrain delivers decent acceleration from a stop. Though, at only 200 total horsepower, it won’t thrill you like many other sporty luxury cars will. For a little extra oomph, switch to the Sport drive mode for performance that's nearly on par with the nonhybrid ES 350.

The ES 300h is tuned to emphasize passenger comfort, with a suspension that delivers a plush ride with very little body roll around corners. Handling is what you'd expect from an easygoing touring sedan.

  • Powertrain: 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor with a combined 200 horsepower
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: continuously variable automatic (CVT)
Does the 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2018 ES Hybrid gets better fuel economy than nearly every other luxury midsize car.

  • 40/39 mpg city/highway

Read more about ES Hybrid performance »

2018 ES Hybrid Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 ES Hybrid Seat?

The 2018 ES Hybrid seats five people in two rows. The front seats are spacious, and the ES has more rear-seat legroom than most class competitors. First-rate materials fill the cabin, and the standard synthetic leather upholstery even has a high-grade look and feel. Genuine leather seats are available.

Standard seating features:

  • synthetic leather upholstery
  • 10-way power-adjustable front seats

Available seating features:

  • genuine leather upholstery
  • semi-aniline leather upholstery
  • heated and ventilated front seats
  • heated steering wheel
  • power rear sunshade
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid?

The 2018 ES Hybrid has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the highest rating of Good for ease of use. All of the anchors are easy to find and utilize.

2018 Lexus ES Hybrid Features

The ES Hybrid's standard infotainment system can be distracting to use while driving. A mouselike pad on the center console controls most functions, but using this demands too much attention from the driver and can be distracting when operating the vehicle. The ES doesn't have support for Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, but some models may have Lexus' native smartphone app integration.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch display, an eight-speaker stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio, a USB port, and Bluetooth
  • Available infotainment features: the Lexus Enform App Suite, navigation, voice recognition, and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson premium surround-sound stereo
  • Additional standard features: proximity keyless entry, push-button start, a moonroof, and dual-zone automatic climate control

See 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid specs »

Read more about ES Hybrid interior »

2018 Lexus ES Hybrid Dimensions

Lexus ES Hybrid Cargo Space

The Lexus ES Hybrid has 12.1 cubic feet of trunk space, which is one of the lowest capacities among luxury midsize cars. A lack of folding rear seats or a pass-through makes it hard to accommodate oversized or long cargo. A one-touch power trunk is available.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Lexus ES Hybrid Length and Weight
  • Length: 16 feet, 1.3 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,682 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid Built?

Lexus built the 2018 ES Hybrid in Japan.

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