2024 Lexus ES Review and Test Drive

An affordable luxury sedan with high-tech features and a ride as smooth as silk.

2024 Lexus ES 300h front quarter rightPerry Stern


There can be certain expectations when you get into a car wearing a Lexus logo. You might anticipate that it will be luxurious, comfortable, high-tech, and high-quality, and that it will supply a supremely smooth and quiet ride. The 2024 Lexus ES may be surprisingly affordable, but it took just a few seconds behind the wheel for me to see that this sizable sedan delivers on all counts.

Toyota introduced the Lexus brand in 1989, and the ES and flagship LS were the first two vehicles to wear the L-shaped emblem. Over the last 35 years, the ES has seen many iterations, and in 2019, Lexus introduced the seventh-generation version. For the 2024 model year, the ES is mostly unchanged from the previous year, with only some package updates and new wheels on the Luxury and Ultra Luxury trim levels.

The ES remains one of the lowest priced models in the Lexus lineup and comes with multiple engine options, including an efficient hybrid powertrain in the ES 300h version I tested. With a range of trim levels that focus on sporty or luxury styling and the option of all-wheel drive, the ES can be a good choice if you're interested in a car that emphasizes luxury instead of performance.

2024 Lexus ES 300h rear quarter leftPerry Stern

2024 Lexus ES Pricing Is Surprisingly Reasonable

The 2024 Lexus ES has ES 250, ES 300h, and ES 350 model designations, each available in Luxury, Ultra Luxury, or F Sport trim. Base prices range from the mid-$40,000s to the mid-$50,000s, including the destination charge to ship the car from the Georgetown, Kentucky, factory that builds it to your local dealership.

For this Lexus ES review, I test-drove the ES 300h F Sport Handling near Detroit, Michigan. Highlights from the optional equipment list included a 12.3-inch Lexus Interface infotainment screen, a head-up display, and triple-beam LED headlights. The manufacturer's suggested retail price came to $55,155, including the $1,150 destination charge. Lexus provided the vehicle for this ES review.

2024 Lexus ES 300h interior dashboardPerry Stern

Familiar Lexus Design

Like other Lexus sedans, the ES features a large spindle-style grille stretching from the car's air dam to its hoodline. Stylish LED headlights come together toward the center, seemingly pinching the grille in the middle. The F Sport model stands out with a black grille and wheels, adding a sporty flair to this version of the ES.

Slide behind the ES's steering wheel and the quality and luxury are immediately apparent. NuLuxe synthetic leather trims the seats, doors, and dashboard, and if nobody told me, I would assume it was the real thing. The cabin's two-tone black and white treatment, reminiscent of a tuxedo, adds to the luxury vibe, while the band of aluminum trim surrounding the cabin nods to the sportier styling of the F Sport.

The optional 12.3-inch touchscreen display is the cabin's centerpiece, nicely paired with a classic analog clock. Physical controls are still present, providing quick access to climate and audio functions, and they include a proper volume and tuning knob. Rotary controls on either side of the steering wheel give access to the traction system and driving modes. Their placement is unconventional, but they're simple to use.

2024 Lexus ES 300h interior back seatPerry Stern

Stylish and Comfortable

Not only does NuLuxe look like the real thing, but it also feels like genuine leather. It covers the soft, well-padded front seats with bolsters providing extra support without feeling too snug. Multiple power adjustments make it easier to find a satisfying seating position, and the heated and ventilated seats add to the car's overall comfort.

The rear seat carries the same tuxedo-like pattern as in the front and offers plenty of legroom and headroom to ensure comfort for two adults. A third adult can fit if necessary but likely won't be as comfortable perched in the middle of the seat. Dual USB ports are available to keep your passengers' devices charged.

2024 Lexus ES 300h cargo spacePerry Stern

Decent Room for Your Needs

Though Lexus uses a traditional gear selector in the ES, the center console offers plenty of space for cupholders and a wireless charging pad. In addition, the bin under the center armrest has a good amount of room.

The Lexus ES has a roomy interior, but the trunk is small for a car of this size. It measures 13.9 cubic-feet, enough room for a few suitcases or a week's worth of groceries. Unfortunately, the rear seats don't fold down, but there is a small pass-through for long, narrow items such as skis.

2024 Lexus ES 300h infotainment systemPerry Stern

2024 Lexus ES Infotainment System Offers an Intuitive Interface

Two years ago, the ES got a much improved Lexus Interface infotainment system with a standard 8.0-inch or available 12.3-inch touchscreen display. It includes wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, and several connected service plans with access to a Wi-Fi hot spot, a cloud-based navigation system, and a conversational digital voice assistant.

My test vehicle had a 12.3-inch touchscreen. It features static shortcut icons on the left side of the display for quick access to navigation, audio, communications, vehicle settings, and smartphone projection. In addition to the physical controls for the stereo and climate functions, those made it simple to find and use features.

I've found that the Lexus Interface's natural voice recognition system is among the best in the auto industry, on par with BMW and Mercedes-Benz. You activate the intelligent assistant using a steering wheel button or by saying, "Hey, Lexus." It can execute various tasks and respond to inquiries, all while the driver keeps their hands on the steering wheel. It is part of the Drive Connect connected service plan, which is complimentary for three years but requires a paid subscription afterward.

Setting up Android Auto is a breeze. I quickly connected my Samsung Galaxy S23+ via Bluetooth, and the prompt to run Android Auto came up immediately. Afterward, Android Auto loaded every time I started the Lexus. My only complaint is that when Android Auto is running, it fills the screen and eliminates the shortcuts on the left, making it more cumbersome to return to the system's native environment.

2024 Lexus ES 300h gaugesPerry Stern

Unique Driver Display

Digital instrumentation is standard in the 2024 Lexus ES. However, while most luxury cars offer a single widescreen presentation of the information, the ES provides a compact display with three separate digital readouts. There's a round screen in the middle, and you'll find separate, smaller data displays on each side.

You can configure them to show different types of information, such as the car's average fuel economy or navigation instructions. The round center panel also changes to appear as an analog tachometer when the ES is in Sport mode.

But when you go into the settings to adjust the advanced driving-assistance systems (ADAS), the entire round display slides over to the right, revealing an additional panel showing the ADAS settings menu. After you've made your changes, the primary round display returns to its original position. Overall, this moving hardware seems overly complex, but it is cool.

2024 Lexus ES 300h safety featuresPerry Stern

The Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 Features Smooth Functionality

All 2024 Lexus ES models come standard with Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 (LSS+ 2.5), an extensive collection of ADAS. The list of LSS+ 2.5 features includes expected items such as forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist. However, it also includes low-light pedestrian and bicyclist detection, left-turn intersection assist, adaptive cruise control, and a lane-centering assist system. In addition, the ES has blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Heading down I-94 toward Detroit, I activated the lane-centering-assist system and set the adaptive cruise control to 70 mph. There was moderate traffic, but the system performed flawlessly, smoothly slowing as I approached vehicles ahead and then resuming speed once I had changed lanes to pass. The ES remained centered in the lane, even when the road curved. However, this is not a hands-free driving technology. A warning will appear if the driver's hands aren't on the steering wheel.

The gas-only 2024 Lexus ES 350 with a V6 engine earned a 2023 Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), with the top score of Good in all crash tests except for an Acceptable rating in the updated side-impact test. The IIHS does not offer a rating specific to the ES 300h hybrid model.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the 2024 Lexus ES 300h an overall safety rating of five out of five stars.

2024 Lexus ES 300h enginePerry Stern

Lexus ES 300h Hybrid Specs

Lexus equips the 2024 ES 300h with a hybrid powertrain consisting of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric drive motor, and a 29-kilowatt lithium-ion battery. The total system power ratings are 215 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) powers the front wheels.

While my test vehicle had F Sport Handling trim, the powertrain is the same as in other ES 300h models. The handling part refers to the F Sport-tuned adaptive suspension, which is supposed to make the car feel more athletic.

2024 Lexus ES 300h front quarter leftPerry Stern

Smooth and Quiet, but Not Very Quick

Despite its tauter suspension tuning, the Lexus ES 300h F Sport Handling is one of the most calming, peaceful vehicles I've driven. The ride is supremely smooth and quiet, a trait it shares with higher-end Lexus models. Sometimes the gas engine shuts off completely, such as when coasting at low speeds or when approaching a stop, further silencing the drive.

At speeds below 25 mph, you can manually choose an EV mode, which allows pure electric driving on whatever energy the hybrid's battery pack holds in reserve. That is useful when you're in a parking area looking for a space, creeping through a drive-through line, or stuck in heavy traffic.

When traveling at highway speeds, road noise is almost nonexistent, and the suspension does an excellent job of smoothing out the bumps for a solid, comfortable ride. While the ES is lovely for cruising around town or down the freeway, it can be disappointing if you are looking for any level of performance.

With a mere 215 horsepower, the ES 300h often feels underpowered. According to Lexus, this hybrid sedan takes 8.1 seconds to reach 60 mph — not exactly breathtaking acceleration. It has no problem moving along at 70 mph; it just takes some time to get there. The CVT doesn't help in this regard, which is something to consider before attempting to pass on a two-lane road.

2024 Lexus ES 300h rear quarter rightPerry Stern

The steering feedback was vague while testing the ES 300h on some of my favorite back roads in southeast Michigan. In addition, despite the F Sport-tuned adaptive suspension, the ES still felt loose when pushed hard in corners and displayed more body lean than I prefer. With that said, the ES handles adequately. It just doesn't exhibit the confidence of some similarly priced luxury sedans.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel-economy figures for the 2024 Lexus ES 300h are 43/44/44 mpg city/highway/combined driving. A full tank of gas translates to a range of 581 miles, so on a long road trip, you'll need fewer fuel stops.

On my standard driving loop to Michigan and back, the trip computer indicated a 37 mpg average. That number is significantly lower than the EPA estimate of 44 mpg in combined driving, yet it's still impressive for a four-door luxury sedan.

2024 Lexus ES 300h side viewPerry Stern

A Focus on Luxury and Comfort

Anyone looking for an affordable luxury sedan with a smooth, quiet ride; stylish, comfortable interior; and plenty of infotainment and safety technology should consider a 2024 Lexus ES. It looks and feels like what you expect from a Lexus, and the ES 300h hybrid returns impressive fuel economy.

However, if you measure performance differently, the ES 300h falls short. Acceleration is mediocre, so if quickly getting to 60 mph is a high priority, choose the ES 350 for its powerful V6 engine.

This site is for educational purposes only. The third parties listed are not affiliated with Capital One and are solely responsible for their opinions, products and services. Capital One does not provide, endorse or guarantee any third-party product, service, information or recommendation listed above. The information presented in this article is believed to be accurate at the time of publication, but is subject to change. The images shown are for illustration purposes only and may not be an exact representation of the product. The material provided on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any Capital One product or service to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.
author photo
Perry Stern
I have loved cars and trucks since childhood, and that fascination with anything that drives is just as strong today. As a teenager, I knew I wanted to become an automotive journalist, and during the past three decades, I have driven, written about, and photographed all manner of automobiles ranging from affordable econocars to exotic supercars. With the idea that there is a perfect car, truck, or SUV for everyone, my goal is to help consumers determine the right one for their wants and needs.