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2009 Lexus ES Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2009 Lexus ES was new.


Interior: 8.9

People tend to make the decision to buy a Lexus when they sit inside. The cabin of the ES is one of the nicest available at this price point, with soft leather and plush seats - and sound-dampening material so abundant that shutting the doors almost shuts out the world. 

  • "Wood trim, padded surfaces, and grained panels combine to create an upscale, if not quite opulent, cabin environment." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The closest thing to driving a Sealy Posturepedic." -- Car and Driver
  • "The look and feel of quality materials is evident everywhere. Lavish interior appointments, sound-deadening materials and an excellent sound system combine to give driver and passengers alike a relaxed and comfortable travel experience." -- The Family Car


The 2009 ES has a more spacious cabin than most of its competitors, and highly-adjustable ten-way power front seats. The standard leather Lexus offers strikes many testers as a step up from the leather many rivals give as standard equipment. Rear legroom is a roomy 35.9 inches with 36.8 inches of headroom, making the backseat a comfy perch for anyone but the tallest of passengers

  • "The seats are nicely padded and contoured for set-and-forget support." -- Consumer Guide
  • "If you can't find a comfort zone with the 10-way power seats, you aren't trying very hard." -- AutoMedia.com
  • "The back seat [is] a comfortable place to be, with lots of legroom -- unless you're stuck in the middle....The [optional] panorama glass roof that extends the length of the car snuffs any notion of claustrophobia." -- Rocky Mount Telegram

Interior Features

The interior of the 2009 ES is old-world luxury, with standard real walnut trim and a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter. The electronics, like automatic dual zone climate control, and a trip computer, work well. 

The standard eight-speaker stereo offers high-quality sound, but the available Navigation System/Mark Levinson Surround Sound Audio System Package equips the ES with a 14-speaker, 300-watt stereo that truly impresses reviewers. It also adds voice-activated DVD navigation system that includes a back-up camera and Bluetooth technology. Many reviewers count it as a mark in favor of the ES that Lexus hasn't tried to equip it with a multimedia interface like BMW's iDrive or Audi's MMI system.

  • "The proximity key makes opening the doors and starting the car almost magical; buttons on the outside of the doors allow me to lock them as I go so I never need to find the key fob hiding in the depths of my purse." -- Mother Proof
  • "The large gauges are clearly marked. The steering wheel spoke hides the windshield wiper stalk, and the rain-sensing wiper function is frustratingly inconsistent. The navigation system absorbs some audio and climate controls, requiring familiarization." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Nothing spoils the elegance of the interior. Nothing seems out of place or thoughtless. . . Nothing was complicated to operate, despite layers of advanced technology" -- USA Today
  • The optional Mark Levinson stereo "should impress even the geekiest audiophiles." -- Automobile Magazine


With over 14 cubic feet of space, the trunk of the ES is larger than what many of its competitors can claim. Combined with the smooth and quiet ride, cargo space is one of the reasons reviewers found the ES to be a good car for road trips, though some complain of limited interior storage.

  • "Sickle-shaped trunklid hinges impede on the otherwise roomy and usefully shaped trunk. Liftover is low, but the opening is cramped for loading bulky boxes. The rear seatback has a pass-through opening. Cabin storage is just adequate." -- Consumer Guide

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