2018 Lexus ES Hybrid Interior Review


Interior: 8.0

The 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid has a superb cabin, for the most part. Its top-notch materials and sophisticated styling exude luxury, a trait mirrored by the spacious, cushy seats. Since only a sole trim level falls under the ES Hybrid badge, the base model comes packed full of features. The interior's few shortcomings include an awkward infotainment control and limited trunk space.

  • "The 2018 Lexus ES … luxury sedan boasts upscale interior materials and the exacting fit and finish we've come to expect in Lexus vehicles." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Roomy for its class, the Lexus ES 300h is a relaxing place to spend time, with its exquisite interior trim and fit and finish, tranquil ride quality, and a large backseat." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • The dashboard features high-tech instrumentation set among modern lines that also come across as classy. Material quality is excellent, and some surfaces even have exposed stitching." -- Autotrader (2017)


The five-seat ES 300h comes standard with synthetic leather upholstery and 10-way power-adjustable front seats. Seating upgrades include leather seats, heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, a power rear sunshade, and manual rear door sunshades.

It takes very little effort to install a child safety seat in the ES 300h. Its LATCH system comprises two sets of lower anchors and three tether anchors, and all the hardware is easy to find and use.

Passengers are treated to agreeable cushions, a well-made standard faux leather that closely mimics real thing, and lots of space in both rows.

  • "The seats are comfortable and the interior is roomy enough for four adults. Rear-seat legroom is ample." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "There's also no comparison when it comes to interior space. The Lexus' back seat feels much more spacious, and the drivetrain hump is nearly nonexistent, so a middle rear-seat passenger actually has somewhere to put his or her feet." -- Motor Trend (2017)
  • "The front seats provide adequate support, and rear passenger space is exemplary, particularly in regard to legroom. The standard NuLuxe imitation leather upholstery looks pleasant and durable enough to consider skipping the optional real stuff." -- Autotrader (2017)

Interior Features

The base infotainment system in the 2018 GS 300h is composed of a 7-inch infotainment display, an eight-speaker audio system, HD Radio, satellite radio, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth, and a USB port. A moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a proximity key, and push-button start are also included. Standard safety features include adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, a rearview camera, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection.

Navigation is optional, as is smartphone integration (via the Lexus Enform App Suite) and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system. Ambient lighting, a blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, and parking sensors are also available.

Professional reviews praise the amount of advanced safety technology that comes in every ES 300h. Unfortunately, the infotainment system isn't as impressive. The interface itself is decent (though some settings are frustratingly locked when the vehicle is in motion), but the chief complaint is the mouselike controller, which is the main way to navigate the interface. It's tedious and tricky, and most importantly, it requires too much attention from the driver.

See 2018 Lexus ES Hybrid specs »
  • All the latest safety systems are here, but the ES 300h stumbles on other tech fronts. You have to download Lexus' app to have access to things such as Pandora, and the infotainment system's mouselike controller continues to fall short in user-friendliness." -- Edmunds
  • "All models offer a centrally mounted multimedia screen above the center air vents, operated by a console-mounted mouse-like Remote Touch system, which some find overly sensitive and frustrating to use." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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)


The trunk space of the ES 300h is smaller than most other luxury midsize sedans, measuring only 12.1 cubic feet. A one-touch power trunk is available, but a folding rear seat and a pass-through are not, so you're limited when it comes to hauling bulky items.

  • The ES 300h's cargo area dwarfs rivals' by several cubic feet, but because of battery pack placement, you can't fold the rear seats down to increase it." -- Edmunds
  • "The trunk in the Lexus is also 1 cubic foot bigger and shaped around the hybrid battery in an easier-to-use way." -- Motor Trend (2017)

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