Behind the Wheel

2020 Lexus ES 350 F Sport Review: This is the ES variant you should be buying

The 2020 Lexus ES F-Sport is the flashiest ES model.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

There is only one Lexus ES 350 you should consider buying unless the prospect of mundane drivability excites you – the 2020 Lexus ES 350 F Sport.

The ES sits in the Lexus lineup between the IS and LS. It's a midsize sedan that is made in America and available in three models – ES 350, ES 350 Hybrid, and ES 350 F Sport. There are a variety of trim levels for buyers to choose from for 350 and 350 Hybrid models.

2020 Lexus ES 350 F-SportThe ES 350 F Sport has a different grille than other ES models.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

On the outside, it's immediately apparent that the 350 F Sport has the better grille and wheels (19-inchers) than the other ES models. There's also black finish mesh on the front fascia and available triple beam headlights. Those enhancements make the ES appear more sophisticated and sassier.

As the saying goes, it's not the size, it's how you use it. All ES 350s are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain achieves 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. The oomph is enough for the ES, but not anything that will excite.

ES 350 models have Eco, Normal, and Sport modes. The ES 350 F Sport replaces Sport mode with Sport+ and Custom. The Sport+ mode lengthens the amount of time between shifts and allows the driver to achieve a torquier behind-the-wheel experience, adjusts the throttle response, and changes the steering parameters. This is one of the keys to the 350 F Sport's success.

2020 Lexus ES 350 F-SportLexus has given the ES 350 F Sport sportier seats than what are other ES 350 models.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Combine the engine engagement with an adaptive variable suspension that is similar to the system in the Lexus LC and LS, and the ES's drive experience shines (for an ES). Don't mistake the enthusiasm for quickness. The ES still takes 6.6 seconds to get from zero to 60 mph and it only comes in front-wheel drive.

The ES serves valiantly as a daily driver in any model. Its trunk is spacious and there's a good amount of passenger space for four adult occupants.

While the materials in most of the cabin of this particular model are right with its price point, the entire interior experience is clouded by the Lexus track pad way of navigating the infotainment system. Thankfully, the ES is one of the few Lexus vehicles that has both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so use of the track pad is not often needed.

2020 Lexus ES 350 F-SportThe ES 350 F-Sport is available with a red leather interior.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Other high points of the model include the available 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system and the good amount of unobtrusive safety technology that works well including blind spot monitoring and lane keeping assist.

The 2020 Lexus ES F Sport starts at $44,635. With the options boxes checked, it can get near $50,000 including destination and delivery charges. That price seems fair for the model. It's pricier than the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry but less costly than the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The ES is priced most similarly to the Infiniti Q50's midgrade models. Top-tier models of the Q50 have significantly more horsepower befitting the higher rate.

Sure, the ES F-Sport isn't as

Trending News

 
 

Refreshed luxury crossover

2022 Lexus NX earns Top Safety Pick +

The 2022 NX earned a Top Safety Pick + award.

Lexus

The redesigned 2022 Lexus NX just got its crash test scores, and they're strong. The new crossover picked up a Top Safety Pick + award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the agency's top award. It's the NX's fourth consecutive Top Safety Pick + award, and before that the vehicle earned Top Safety Picks.

2022 Lexus NXThe NX has picked up top awards for several years in a row. Lexus

The 2022 NX picked up top scores in testing, earning a "Good" rating in all crash-test categories, a "Good" score for headlights, "Superior" scores for both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention, and a "Good+" score for LATCH system ease of use. Though the 2021 model also picked up a Top Safety Pick + award, it scored lower for its car seat anchors.

Lexus offers the new NX with a whopping four propulsion options, including a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 203 horsepower, a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 275 horsepower, a 2.5-liter hybrid with 239 horsepower and a plug-in hybrid powertrain with 302 horsepower. The two gas engines come paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive, while the two hybrids both get all-wheel drive.

2022 Lexus NXLexus offers the NX with four powertrain options. Lexus

Pricing for the 2022 NX starts at $39,025 for the base NX250. Moving up the line, the NX350h starts at $42,125 and the NX450h+ starts at $56,725.

Trending News

 
 

New luxury EV

Lexus announces all-electric RZ 450e

Lexus just announced the new RZ 450e

Lexus

Lexus and Toyota have finally jumped onto the EV train, and we’ll soon see new all-electric SUVs from both. The Lexus variant, named RZ 450e, features a reasonable range, upscale interior, and neat all-wheel drive technology. We don’t have firm pricing for the Lexus, but expect it to start in the mid-to-high $40,000 range.

2023 Lexus RZRange is expected to reach 225 miles per chage. Lexus

The RZ shares a platform and much of its underlying engineering with the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra, but will take a more upscale approach. Though its size and overall shape are similar to the others, the Lexus’ exterior styling is sharper and sportier, with functional aerodynamic bodywork. A new Lexus logo is spelled out on the rear gate, instead of the traditional “L” of previous models.

The SUV comes with a 71.4-kWh battery that should deliver a range of around 225 miles on a charge. All-wheel drive is standard, and uses the RZ’s dual electric motors to shift power between the wheels that need it most.

Inside, the RZ features a minimalist, open space with controls meant to remind drivers of a horse’s reins. Ultrasuede upholstery and woodgrain trim come standard. Lexus notes the RZ’s head-up display is controllable via steering wheel-mounted buttons that handle navigation, audio, and other functions.

2023 Lexus RZThough similar to the Toyota bZ4X inside, the Lexus IS more upscale and minimalist. Lexus

Speaking of the steering wheel, the first RZs will be available with a round wheel only, but later on, Lexus will offer a yoke-style wheel like the one seen in the Toyota bZ4X concept and Tesla’s Plaid models.

Trending News