2020 Lexus ES 350 Review | Philkotse Philippines

Updated Mar 22, 2021

Editor's: 4.5/5
Genuine luxury amid incessant use of that word.
2020 Lexus ES 350 Review | Philkotse Philippines

In this review...

  1. Introduction
  2. Exterior
  3. Interior
  4. Tech & Safety
  5. Engine & Performance
  6. Fuel Efficiency
  7. Verdict
  8. Variants & Price
  9. Color Options
  10. Specs

2020 Lexus ES 350 Philippines: Introduction

The highest rating I’ve ever given to a car was a hair short of a perfect 10, and it was for the flagship Lexus LS 500 that I drove in 2018. It was a memorable drive, and I couldn’t help but recount those times as I sat inside the Lexus ES 350 that I tested for this review. The feeling was uncanny.
2020 Lexus ES 350 front exterior philippines

The face of Japanese luxury

If you’re in the market for a premium midsize sedan, let me share my thoughts on the ES 350 after a few days of testing one. It’s not as perfect as the LS I’ve tested before, but it’s around the ballpark. Read along.

4.5 /5

Lexus Es 350 2021 Review

How we do our reviews
  • aesthetics
    4.5/5

    Overall exterior & Interior design, build quality, form vs function

  • Safety & Technology
    4.0/5

    Number of safety & tech features, consistency during usage

  • Performance
    4.5/5

    Power delivery, acceleration, transmission, suspension, handling

  • Comfort & Practicality
    5.0/5

    Overall Ride Comfort, Space, Storage Areas

  • Value for Money
    4.5/5

    Sticker price vs overall package

2020 Lexus ES 350 Exterior Review: Aggressively classy

2020 Lexus Es 350 Front Quarter PhilippinesLexus ES 350 in front quarter

The 2020 Lexus ES is the Japanese luxury marque’s midsize sedan, and while the previous generations of the nameplate shared platforms with the Toyota Camry, this version that I tested was more closely related to the Avalon, a model not sold in the Philippines.

With that said, the ES 350 is huge by midsize sedan standards, but not as massive as its German counterparts – and that’s what makes this car great in terms of drivability, but more on that later.

2020 Lexus ES 350 Side ViewJust look at the side silhouette

Design-wise, there’s nothing I can complain about the ES 350’s exterior. Thinking beyond the fact that the sportier F Sport isn’t sold here, the aggressively styled grille forms a poetic collaboration with the car’s sharp curves and sultry lines, ending with a swoopy C-pillar that ends at a short rear deck in fastback fashion. The full LED configuration, front and back, isn’t a surprise, and boy do they look stunning especially at night.
2020 Lexus ES 350 Rear Quarter Philippines

Looks stunning especially at night

Despite the unexciting Ice Ecru Mica Metallic color that the media tester came with, it doesn’t look too old school in my opinion because of the overall form. If anything, the elegance that the color brings to the table adds contrast to the youthful aggression, and I’d count that as a plus.

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2020 Lexus ES 350 Interior Review: Definition of luxury

2020 Lexus ES 350 cabin dashboard philippinesA well thought out layout

It’s obvious that Lexus has learned so much over the years that luxury is beyond what the eyes can see, especially inside the cabin. The contrast of textures, the use of dark wood veneers, even the feedback of every button, and the way my elbows land on the center console cushions feel outstanding; I can’t help but think how car brands (and other reviewers) these days lie and call their cars luxurious in people’s faces.

2020 Lexus ES 350 rear seats philippinesThe place where owners would spend most of their time

With a wheelbase that’s as long as its German counterparts, the ES 350’s cabin space is beyond question. At the back where most of this car’s buyers will spend their time, the feeling fits the price, addicting even, with privacy screens available to use for that needed anonymity. The rear seats also recline to boost comfort, though the backrests don’t fold down to maximize trunk space – not that you need to since the default 473L of cargo volume is already massive by any standard.

2020 Lexus ES 350 head unit detail shot philippines

The devil is in the details

Just one miss with the overall design, though: the inner A-pillar of the ES 350 comes in black, while the headliner’s white (or off-white). That small detail is hard to unsee, especially that the other pillars are in the same color as the headliner.

Beyond that caveat, the ES is practically a smaller LS in terms of overall cabin comfort and design – that’s worth something to mention considering their price gap.

2020 Lexus ES 350: Tech & Safety Review

2020 Lexus ES 350 touchscreen head unitYou don't need Apple CarPlay/Android Auto for this

Lexus could have gone all out with its tech toys in the 2020 ES 350, but it seems like price consideration’s a factor to make this car competitive in the market. It only has regular cruise control, plus the camera’s limited to the rear parking assistance. There isn’t any wireless charging capability, as well.

2020 Lexus ES 350 instrument clusterA different kind of Optitron

But everything else is what you’ll expect from a luxury sedan. All seat adjustments are electronic, and that includes the steering wheel position. Every time you switch off your engine, the cabin opens up for easy egress and ingress but returns to your saved position as you start the car. Even the trunk lid opens automatically, whether via a button or by showing your Cole Haan by the boot sensor. Seat ventilation is also standard for all passengers.

2020 Lexus ES 350 Mark Levinson speakers philippines17 Mark Levinson speakers. 17.

Probably the crown of the cabin is the massive 12.3-inch Lexus Premium Navigation screen that’s perfectly positioned on the dashboard. While the touchpad isn’t the best thing on the planet, the whole system is intuitive to operate. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t standard but that’s fine as a regular Bluetooth connection is all you need to play your jazz and classical music via an unprecedented 17-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound System. Truth be told, the last time I heard something as awe-inspiring as this was in another Lexus.

Safety features, on the other hand, are chock-full as expected.

2020 Lexus ES 350: Engine & Performance Review

The Lexus ES 350 is a long sedan, but it isn’t as long and bulky as its German contemporaries. Driving around the city isn’t stressful, plus the electronically-assisted steering doesn’t take too much away from the needed ground feedback.

At 2,150 kg, the Lexus ES 350 sounds stubby, but the 300-hp 3.5L V6 with Dual VVT-i gasoline engine does a phenomenal job to effortlessly pull the car at desirable speeds, even beyond.

2020 Lexus ES 350 V6 engine philippinesThe gentle prowl of a Lexus V6

But the crème de la crème is this car’s ride comfort. Lexus has done a great job in equipping it with a damping and noise insulation system that protects its occupants from outside harshness. And that adds to the overall premium feeling – whether you’re behind the wheel or at the back seats resting after a long day of meetings.

2020 Lexus ES 350 Philippines: Fuel Efficiency

2020 Lexus ES 350 headlights philippinesCan't take my eyes off of you

With a V6 beating inside the hood, the 2020 Lexus ES isn’t the thriftiest car out there in terms of consuming fuel – and that’s fine as we think that’s the least of your worries if you’re in the market for this car.

After a few days of testing in and out of the city, the media tester returned 5.7 km/L. That’s a mix of city and highway driving with an average speed of 40 km/h.

2020 Lexus ES 350 Philippines: Verdict

What constitutes a genuine luxury car? It isn’t just about the materials used in the cabin, or the way even the most mundane things become convenient for you. It’s the overall feeling inside the cabin – a feeling that transcends deeper levels of sense and perception, making you bond with the car into an emotional level.
2020 Lexus ES 350 high angle quarter shot philippinesWhat is true luxury?

The Lexus ES 350 is all that and more, in a package that costs below P5-million. In recent years, the words luxury and premium are thrown around too much, to the point that no one knows the true meaning of those words anymore. But you’ll never learn the true meaning of luxury without experiencing a Lexus, especially the ES 350.

2020 Lexus ES: Variants & Price

Model

Price

2020 Lexus ES 350

P4,478,000

2020 Lexus ES: Color Options

2020 Lexus ES 350 Color Options

Ice Ecru Mica Metallic, Sunlight Green Mica Metallic, Sonic Quartz, Mercury Gray Mica, Platinum Silver Metallic, Sonic Titanium, Black, Graphite Black Glass Flake

2020 Lexus ES 350: Specs

Overall

Make

Lexus

Name

ES 350

Body Type

Midsize executive sedan

Dimensions and Weight

Length

4,975 mm

Width

1,865 mm

Height

1,445 mm

Wheelbase

2,870 mm

Ground Clearance

151 mm

Curb Weight

1,650 – 1,710 kg

Engine and Transmission

Type

3.5-liter V6 Gasoline

Max Power

300 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm

Max Torque

357 Nm @ 4,700 rpm

Transmission

8-speed direct-shift automatic

Chassis and Suspension

Brakes (Front/rear)

Disc/Disc

Suspension (Front/rear)

MacPherson Strut/Trailing Wishbone

Drivetrain Front-wheel-drive

Wheels and Tires

235/45 R18

Exterior

Acoustic Windshield w/ Blue Shade

Automatic side and rear glass with UV-Cut function

Moonroof

LED Headlamps

LED Tailamps

LED Daytime Running Lamps

High Mount Stop Lamp

Electronically adjustable, electrochromic side mirrors with memory

Power trunk

Interior

Wood interior trim

Electrochromic rear-view mirror

Optitron gauges

Analog clock

3-Zone Automatic air-conditioning

12.3-inch Electro Multi-Vision display

17-piece Mark Levinson QLI Speakers

Bluetooth

2 USB and 1 AUX mini jack

Semi-Aniline leather seats with free quilting patterns

Driver and front passenger seat ventilation

8-way power adjustable driver and front passenger seats w/ memory function

LED ambient lighting

Power rear sunshades

3 Drive mode select (Eco/normal/sport)

Remote touch interface

Power adjustable tilt and telescopic steering wheel w/ memory function

Voice recognition

Safety and Security

Smart entry system

Back monitor with guide and clearance sonar

Cruise control

ISOFIX anchors

Dual front, dual front knee, front and rear side airbags

Anti-lock braking

Vehicle stability control

Blind spot monitoring

Hill-start assist

Anti-theft system with horn

Jacob Oliva

Jacob Oliva

Author

Jacob is one of the premier motoring journalists in the Philippines. A former musician and a corporate slave, he took the leap of faith amid his twenties and started his writing career as a news and features writer for AutoDeal. It was there where he made his way up to become the chief editor and senior car reviewer before he left the company in 2020.

Right now, Jacob serves as the Content Manager of Philkotse. You may also read his insights about the local automotive industry in his column under Wheels, the motoring section of Philippine Star. A recipient of the Henry Ford Awards in 2019, Jacob is also the weekend editor for Motor1, a leading global automotive website.

Jacob has started his adoration for cars at an early age through his father’s Jeep Wrangler and his older brother’s Nissan Sentra. He currently has a soft spot in his heart for the latest version of the Suzuki Jimny, so don’t be surprised to see him one day driving a black or gray mini-SUV – bone-stock but with upgraded tires and rims.

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