Sedans & Coupes

The Lexus ES Is a Terrible Luxury Car, According To KBB Consumer Reviews

Have you ever thought about treating yourself by purchasing a luxury car? Many of us have. But before you do so, it’s essential to do your research. The last thing you need is to have your splurge turn into a headache. Such is the case of many buyers of the Lexus ES.

Car shoppers often ask if it’s worth it to buy a luxury car. However, there is an undeniable sense of prestige and satisfaction that comes with purchasing a model from a brand like Lexus. 

Many drivers got behind the wheel of the Lexus ES expecting to enjoy premium materials, cutting-edge technologies, and thrilling performance. After all, driving a luxury car is supposed to be a serene experience. However, some were left disappointed, as the Lexus ES left them distracted, uncomfortable, or concerned.

What exactly turned off these Lexus ES owners, and do critics share similar concerns? Let’s examine what both parties have to say.

What do owners hate about the Lexus ES?

A blue 2021 Lexus ES on display with a mountain range in the background
A 2021 Lexus ES on display | Photo via Lexus

If you’re willing to pay above $35,000 for a sedan, then you might be debating between a luxury compact car or a standard full-size sedan. The Lexus ES looks like the better option at first glance when compared to the Toyota Avalon and similar models. However, some buyers who made this choice retroactively wished they saved a couple of thousands of dollars and went with a standard brand.

Kelley Blue Book’s consumer ratings give the Lexus ES an overall score of just 3.6/5 – worst among all luxury vehicles.

One KBB reviewer said, “Prior to my purchase of the 2020 ES 350, I owned a 2015 Hyundai Azera. Would you believe that the Lexus has little over the Hyundai? My main complaint is the level of wind and road noise.”

Other common customer complaints range from seat comfort to audio system issues. While these issues don’t initially appear to be significant, they can wear on you when driving the car on a daily basis. One 2020 Lexus ES owner called the audio system a “deal-breaker.” This buyer said, “Lexus raised the price of this car and then cheapened it with a junk sound system.”

Critics have fewer concerns

This loaded luxury sedan traditionally fares well with the experts. Starting at an MSRP of $39,900, the Lexus ES offers a lot of value for the money. Plus, the 2021 ES added more features, including an available all-wheel-drive system.

The U.S. News & World Report named the ES its third-best luxury midsize sedan for the 2021 model year. The publication noted its smooth ride and impressive predicted reliability among the most significant positives the vehicle has to offer. Meanwhile, the only significant negative it mentioned was the car’s finicky infotainment controls.

Prospective buyers can get an ES tailored to their style of driving. The 2021 Lexus ES 250 comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and an AWD system. This powertrain kicks out 203 hp and returns a healthy 28 MPG city/highway combined.

However, those looking for sporty performance should opt for the 2021 ES 350. This model ditches AWD for a front-wheel-drive system, but it adds a 302-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine. Finally, the ES 300h is the perfect car for eco-conscious drivers, as it returns an EPA-estimated 44 MPG combined.

Should you consider buying the Lexus ES?

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Those looking for paradise on wheels might take issue with this luxury sedan. However, the Lexus ES could be a value-buy for those willing to overlook audio system issues, road noise, and an unfriendly infotainment system. Of course, front-seat comfort could be a concern for some drivers. But shoppers will likely be able to come to their own conclusion about that during a test drive.