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2019 Lexus ES Hybrid Interior Review


Interior: 6.8

Almost every element of the redesigned 2019 Lexus ES Hybrid's cabin earns an A+. Its accommodations are supremely comfortable, with more room for rear-seat passengers than most luxury hybrid and electric cars. The trunk size – which equals that of the nonhybrid ES – is roomier than most. The ES Hybrid's Achilles heel is its infotainment system, which is not only complicated to use but also quite distracting for the driver.

  • "I'm happier about the swaddling that happens in the new interior, which feels impressively upscale. Boasting comfortable seats, good-quality switchgear and materials, it's a pleasant place to be no matter which model you're in, and despite the design's more dramatically sloping roofline, there's plenty of headroom back there for 6-footers." -- CNET
  • "The interior is beautiful with comfortable seating that features standard 10-way power-adjustable front seats with the option for heating and ventilation. Unlike many sedans, the ES boasts a comfortable, roomy rear seat that's ideal for lounging on longer drives." -- Boston Globe
  • On the inside, you'll find a redesigned cabin with significantly more upscale visual cues borrowed from the LS and the LC. That said, the materials used in the ES are a step down from these Lexus flagships. Mostly they still feel great, with lots of soft-touch and textured plastics on touch points, although there are a few spots where tacky hard plastic still dominates." -- Edmunds


The ES 300h seats five people and comes standard with synthetic leather upholstery and 10-way power-adjustable front seats. Upgrades such as genuine leather, semi-aniline leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, driver's seat memory, a power rear sunshade, and manual rear-door sunshades are on the options list. Overall, this hybrid earns heaps of praise for passenger comfort. The seats are well-cushioned and supportive, and very few midsize sedans offer more legroom in the back seat than the ES.

LATCH hardware for child safety seats includes two sets of lower anchors, located on the outboard seats, and three tether anchors (one for every rear seat).

  • "The first thing I noticed was how big the new ES feels inside, way bigger than a 3-Series or A4 and almost as big as a 5-Series, though it's a few inches down all around. I continue to say Buick and Lexus make the best non-racing seats and the ES does not disappoint. They're coddling and adjustable, and not laterally supportive enough for hard apexing moves. That's fine. There's a ton of room in the back seats. I had at least 6 inches of kneeroom with the front seat adjusted for my 5'10" frame." -- Autoweek
  • "Lexus stiffened the car as well to improve handling, and it added oodles of extra sound-deadening material, including some hybrid-specific padding for the ES 300h that's designed to filter out the unpleasant noises particular to its powertrain." -- Edmunds
  • "The objective is quiet comfort, and the new car delivers on both counts, particularly hushed operation. While quiet interiors have been a Lexus virtue since the beginning, this car is a library at midnight." -- Car and Driver

Interior Features

The base infotainment system in the ES 300h includes an 8-inch display, three USB ports, Bluetooth, a CD player, HD Radio, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, voice commands, Siri Eyes Free, Google Voice Control, 10 speakers, and smartphone integration that is compatible with Amazon Alexa. Additional standard features include a rearview camera, a moonroof, dual-zone climate control, and the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0. This collection of safety features boasts a pre-collision system, oncoming vehicle detection, low light pedestrian detection, daytime bicyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, road sign assist, lane departure alert with steering assist and road edge detection, lane tracing assist (similar to lane keeping assist), automatic high beams, and parking support alert.

Available features include a panoramic sunroof, Apple CarPlay, a Mark Levinson audio system, navigation, a 12.3-inch display, wireless charging for enabled smartphones, rain-sensing windshield wipers, blind spot monitoring, a head-up display, parking sensors, and a 360-degree camera.

While the sheer volume of standard technology and safety features is impressive, the infotainment system is not. In fact, some reviewers rank it among the worst on the market. The system is difficult and distracting to use; it's controlled by a mouselike touchpad that requires extra attention from the driver.

See 2019 Lexus ES Hybrid specs »

  • "There is absolutely no way to use [the infotainment system] without staring at the screen, which is not where a driver's eyes should be. And the ES driver's eyes will be there for a long time, because the menu layout buries common functions in obscure places. … The ES now offers voice-activated Alexa connectivity; I tried it and the responses were so slow I resigned myself to the awful touch-pad, suspecting that the car's warranty would run out before Alexa figured out where the nearest used book store was. … Of all the infotainment controllers I've tried-and that's most of them-Lexus' touch pad is, in my opinion, the worst." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Unfortunately, what you won't avoid, no matter what package you order, is the Remote Touch Interface that stands between the driver and nearly every vehicle function. Although the display screen that organizes the entertainment, communication, navigation, and vehicle settings is large and bright, the laptop-style touchpad required to access them is perhaps the worst system currently offered in the industry. Strong words, but I actually stopped using the system altogether while driving, as I found it dangerously distracting. The pad is too awkward and imprecise, the on-screen menus difficult to parse, and the overall experience frustrating and requiring a huge amount of attention to achieve desired results." -- New York Daily News
  • "And now we come to the one area where the new ES falls short of its predecessor. As in every other Lexus with this interface, there are generally far fewer physical buttons. Some climate control settings and radio presets are among functions that used to have physical buttons and now require more complicated interaction with the infotainment system. In a car with an easier system to use, this wouldn't be an issue, but in the ES, buyers upgrading from the previous generation might find cause to complain." -- Edmunds


As part of the ES Hybrid's redesign, Lexus moved the battery underneath the car, so the hybrid now has the same size trunk as the nonhybrid Lexus ES. Its 16.7-cubic-foot trunk has lots of space for a hybrid vehicle. A hands-free trunk lid is available, but the seats don't fold down, and there's no pass-through for long items.

  • The trunk has also grown slightly, up to 16.7 cubic feet. That's not class-leading, but it is very generous. Unfortunately, the rear seats don't fold down, so that's pretty much all the space you get aside from a pass-through for longer items." -- Edmunds
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