2015 Lexus ESBuying Guide • Review • Research
Lexus has stayed away from the temptation to advertise affordable luxury in combination with rocket power and racy performance. There is, quite simply put, a huge demographic out there seeking elegance without the high-powered thrills. The ES is the perfect example of a vehicle designed to please those who want excellent craftsmanship, good overall handling, and a spacious cabin, with just enough frills to justify the price paid.
What's New For 2015
The 2015 ES has a brand new interior lining, with very nice upholstery that is soft to the touch. The color combinations for the interior and exterior remain the same, but the plushness of the carpeting and the actual complementary tones between the upholstery and the hard surfaces inside the cabin have been changed slightly.
Lexus now includes an optional Mark Levinson audio system that is superior to last year's uplevel stereo. One thing that all vehicle owners demand is a high-quality digital sound system that enhances playback of stored audio files, and the ES includes such an upgrade. The touchscreen now has an audio display that makes finding stored media a breeze. This latest model also has the Enform Remote, making it possible for the driver to control audio features with a single app.
Top 10 Reasons To Buy A 2015 Lexus ES - The Pros
1) Smooth, Quiet Acceleration
The standard V6 engine delivers 268 horsepower, with automatic transmission and front-wheel drive standard. The six-speed transmission offers very smooth acceleration, with no hesitation even when the vehicle is fully loaded.
2) Comfortable Ride
The 2015 Lexus ES isn't going to impress with its ability to weave in and out of traffic at high speeds, but the ride itself is quiet and comfortable. Handling is slightly better than average for a vehicle of this size and weight.
3) Plenty Of Legroom
The layout of the cabin allows for event the tallest passengers to stretch out and relax. The rear seating area is elongated and can seat three adults comfortably. This does squeeze the trunk space a bit, but most Lexus ES owners don't mind. The rear seats do not fold down, but this is an acceptable trade-off for those who demand breathing room in the rear of the cabin.
4) Uplevel Trim Options Offer Excellent Packages
There is only one trim level but plenty of package options on the 2015 Lexus ES. The standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, xenon headlights, sunroof, and heated mirrors. The dual-zone climate control has automatic settings and memory, and the rearview camera is included in the base package.
Depending on the region of the United States, different package options are available. The Navigation package ES has a larger display screen, voice controls, and the enhanced Mark Levinson sound system. The Premium package option contains all the features of the Navigation package but adds driver memory settings for the seat and console controls, heated seats, and leather upholstery. Buyers have numerous combinations available to them when selecting a customized Premium package.
5) Complete Safety And Security Features
The rearview camera is standard on all packages, and the vehicle comes with front and rear side airbags as well as side-curtain airbags. The traction control is of the highest quality, and every ES comes with the full driver alert system that includes automatic collision warning, stolen vehicle location, and an emergency assist panic button.
Some of the alert systems are optional equipment only, but these do not jack up the price tag significantly. The cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control - with its pre-collision seatbelt priming feature - can be added to any of the uplevel packages for a nominal cost.
6) Stylish Front Panel Controls
The fancy analog clock in the front of the console is a nice touch, and the overall materials quality of the dashboard is unrivalled in this vehicle segment. The option of leather instead of vinyl creates an even more elegant look to the controls interface. The buttons are easy to locate and read, and once the driver gets used to the complicated layout, the entire arrangement can be operated without any hassle.
7) Affordable Starting Price
Lexus advertises the ES at around $40,000 for the base model without package options, but many dealers are offering a slightly lower price. Even with the full premium package features, the final price is generally less than $48K.
8) Sport Mode Available
The ES 350 Sport Mode isn't designed to turn the car into a racing machine, but it does give drivers an option. Even in normal mode, however, the steering is very responsive.
9) Classy Exterior Appearance
There's nothing really fancy here, but the Lexus look to the front end and grille are quite evident. The lines aren't all that sweeping, but those who like a classically designed vehicle will be satisfied with the overall look.
10) Acceptable Fuel Efficiency
The 2015 Lexus ES gets about 31 mpg on the highway, about average for this segment and engine size.
Reasons You May Not Want To Buy A 2015 Lexus ES - The Cons
1) Not Very Sporty
For those expecting a high-powered vehicle that packs on the horsepower, don't even consider the Lexus ES. This is a car meant to impress with its luxury and materials quality, not its performance.
2) Optional High-Tech Features Are Clumsy
When the uplevel packages are chosen, the options include several apps and touchscreen controls for operating the audio system. These can be cumbersome to use.
3) Sparse Headroom
While the legroom is impressive, taller individuals will bump their heads on the ceiling. This is not a very tall vehicle.
How It Stacks Up To The Competition
There aren't really many competitors because other automakers focus on sportiness and horsepower instead of comfort and luxury. The Acura TLX and Hyundai Genesis offer the same essential high-tech features and better overall handling, but some of the interior materials quality are not as good, and some of the entertainment features are missing on the base models of these competing models.
For those who want luxury, a quiet ride, and plenty of legroom, the 2015 Lexus ES can't be beat. However, if the demand for power and racetrack-level handling is high on the list, consider something a bit more expensive. The Lexus ES delivers for those who want a luxury vehicle for less than $45K and without the precision performance of the more sporty vehicles in this segment.