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Lexus continues to be a trusted luxury brand that makes slow but important moves in their quest to listen to buyers and provide them with some of the most reliable vehicles on the planet. The Lexus ES has long been part of a nearly perfected formula and for the 2022 model year, the ES 350 gets a few welcomed updates that is a direct answer to what some buyers have been seeking.
The new 2022 Lexus ES 350 is updated with the most important change being its infotainment system now features a touchscreen. The new 12.3-inch screen, still utilizing the cumbersome trackpad and onscreen interface from previous years, is now a touchscreen that’s mounted closer to the driver and front passenger for easy reach. In making such a chance the ES becomes a more attractive offering among luxury buyers who may prefer to interact with an infotainment system that wasn’t necessarily bad, it was just how you controlled the system through an unagreeable touchpad interface. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is part of the slightly revised infotainment system as well, and there is the availability of a color heads-up display.
The other notable change for the new 2022 ES is a Dynamic Handling package found on my ES 350 F Sport test vehicle, which combines the addition of two new driving modes (Custom and Sport+) and adaptive dampers for better body control and handling. Ultimately, from what I experienced this week with the new ES 350 F Sport, the adaptive dampers do a good job to appeal more to the luxurious side of things but more controlled and balanced over other trim levels of the ES. The dampers firm up instantly when going over road imperfections, undulations, and rises all making for a conforming ride that rivals much more expensive luxury sedans. Don’t worry, there isn’t any real “sport” in the way the ES 350 F Sport feels or rides, which is a characteristic that Lexus cannot shed. That’s a good thing considering the ES 350 has grown to be a rather specious luxury sedan where it’s buyers who opt for the F Sport package don’t necessarily want a sports sedan even though it has a decent 0-60 mph time of 6.6 seconds. They may look to the IS 350 F Sport or new IS 500 for that.
Powered by the same 3.5-liter V6 engine that is buttery smooth and produces a healthy 302 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, the ES 350 F Sport remains a consistent performer. The 8-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and there’s hardly any upset to the drivetrain no matter how you drive the ES 350 F Sport within the legal limits of public roads. Mostly everything about the powertrain is smooth and quiet, just the way you expect from a Lexus. The F Sport option appeals to those who want a little flare to the style of the ES featuring unique sporty seats with additional bolster support, the distinctive digital gauge cluster found on other F Sport vehicles, darkened 19-inch wheels, a darkened mesh-style front grille, and a small trunk lid spoiler.
Inside the cabin is an inviting space with plentiful soft-touch surfaces, aluminum upper beltline trim, red-accented stitching throughout the dashboard, and contrasted sports seats that feature heating and ventilation up front, and a sporty 3-spoke heated steering wheel. There’s ample space throughout with a large amount of legroom out back for passengers to stretch out.
The only complaint I have in the Lexus ES 350 in any trim level is that the rear seats do not fold down to give you additional cargo capacity. While the power liftgate trunk is an average size with 13.9 cubic feet of space, there is only a small passthrough that can be accessed with the rear seat armrest is folded down.
There’s much to like about the Lexus ES 350 F Sport and it remains one of my highly recommended luxury sedans for those who aren’t looking to spend anywhere near six figures. Touted as the Camry of luxury sedans (there’s some intentional pun there because the ES is essentially a stretched version of the Camry’s platform), the ES 350 remains a popular buy with a decent price from its base trim all the way up to the Ultimate Luxury trim. The as-tested price of my 2022 Lexus ES 350 F Sport, which includes a bevy of active safety features and a couple of option packages, tests out at $54,010.
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