MSRP
$39,900
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Lexus ES Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 7.0

The 2020 Lexus ES has a nearly perfect cabin. It's quiet and spacious, with relaxing seats, quality materials, and sophisticated styling. The ES also has a sizeable trunk that holds more luggage than most rivals. However, the infotainment system in this Lexus is a weak spot. Although it's packed with standard features, the interface and controller are not user-friendly.

  • "This roomy cabin is filled with high-quality materials and the tasteful color schemes for which Lexus is renowned. The F Sport also comes with aluminum accents inspired by ancient Japanese swords." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2019)
  • "The sporty spirit extends to the interior, which is as posh as the other members of the clan, with the addition of nicely bolstered front bucket seats—available in snappy red leather that is heated and ventilated—that would be right at home in an Audi. Luxury abounds in the cabin throughout the line, with tasteful decors and first-rate materials." -- Car and Driver (2019)

Seating

The Lexus ES is a luxury midsize sedan with five seats. It stands out in the class for having a tranquil cabin, supportive seats, and lots of space to stretch out. Perforated NuLuxe (Lexus' synthetic leather) and 10-way power adjustable front seats are standard. Seating upgrades include genuine perforated leather upholstery, semi-aniline leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, 14-way power adjustable front seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a heated steering wheel, a power rear sunshade, and manual rear-door sunshades.

For installing child safety seats, the ES 350 comes with two full sets of LATCH anchors for the rear outboard seats and an upper tether for the rear middle seat.

  • "One good reason for buying the 2020 ES is the great expanse of passenger space, especially in the back. There's 39.2 inches of rear legroom. For context, the Genesis G80 has 35 inches. Nor is rear headroom compromised by the raked roofline, thanks to finely angled seatbacks." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2019)
  • "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 (2019)

Interior Features

The infotainment system inside the ES 350 is one of its major weak spots. The system lacks a touch screen, so all inputs must be made using a tricky mouselike touchpad, physical buttons that are difficult to quickly identify, and hit-or-miss voice commands. The final product is a system that demands a lot of attention from the driver. Luckily, the new addition of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay make even the base infotainment system a bit easier to use.

Standard features in the ES include an 8-inch display, 10 speakers, HD Radio, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Siri Eyes Free, USB ports, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, dual-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, proximity keyless entry, and push-button start.

Optional features include a navigation system with a 12.3-inch display, enhanced infotainment voice controls, a 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system, ambient lighting, a panoramic moonroof, and wireless smartphone charging.

The ES comes standard with a rearview camera, but that's not all. The standard Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 includes a pre-collision system, low-light pedestrian detection, daytime bicyclist detection, road sign assist, lane tracing assist, lane departure alert with steering assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights. Available safety options include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, parking sensors with automatic emergency braking, and a head-up display.

See 2020 Lexus ES specs »

  • Plenty of luxury features are available, including a 12.3-inch infotainment display that's the dashboard's visual centerpiece. However, the system's touch pad can be tricky to operate, not the ergonomic slam-dunk a luxury car should have. At least Lexus offers Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, which is simple to use." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2019)
  • "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 (2019)

Cargo

The trunk of the ES 350 measures 16.7 cubic feet, which is above average for a luxury midsize car. Its optional hands-free trunk lid is convenient, but it has no folding rear seat.

  • 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 (2019)
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2020 Lexus ES

MSRP: $39,900 - $44,635

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