Lexus IS vs. ES: Which Model Is Better?

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Since its inception in the 80s, the Toyota subsidiary Lexus has become one of the primary luxury car brands in the country. Their sedans and midsize SUVs are exceedingly common and a great way to have an everyday car with a little extra quality and class.
With their sedans specifically, both the Lexus IS and ES are popular choices. If you’re deciding on a Lexus sedan, we can help make your decision a little easier. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the IS and ES based on reports from Car and Driver.
Close-up of Lexus logo with raindrops
Should you go with the Lexus IS or ES?

What’s good about the 2022 Lexus IS?

The IS is more powerful than the ES, but neither have an overwhelmingly athletic feel. The handling is a bit easy-going and soft, especially in the standard IS 300 model.
However, the horsepower offered among the three engine options mostly outrank the ES. The IS 300 is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 241 horsepower. The IS 350 has a V-6 engine with 311 horsepower, and the IS 500 has 472 horsepower and a 5.0-liter V-8.
The F Sport package is offered for many Lexus models. The upgrade comes with improvements like a limited-slip differential, 19-inch wheels, and optional adaptive suspension. Car and Driver recommends consumers get the IS 350 F Sport with rear-wheel drive.
Lexus announced that the IS 300 starts at $38,625, the IS 350 at $43,050, and the IS 500 at $56,500.
The interior finishes are classy, with an 8.0-inch touchscreen display and the option to upgrade to a 10.3-inch screen. The IS also has a premium, 17-speaker Mark Levinson stereo system, power front seats, and options for a sunroof and leather seats. Driver-assist features like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warnings and assists are standard.

Where does the 2022 Lexus ES shine?

Lexus put an emphasis on style in the ES sedan. For those who like a smooth, sophisticated ride, the ES is an excellent choice. The handling and acceleration may not be as athletic, but it cruises nicely all the same.
For a lower cost than you might expect, the ES delivers on chic finishes. The seats are sturdy and comfortable, and the standard model comes with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. This can be upgraded to a 12.3-inch display, which is two inches wider than the largest IS option.
The backseat offers plenty of legroom for tall guests, though the seats don’t fold down to extend the trunk storage. The cabin remains calm and quiet on the highway, making it easy to hear whatever is coming out of the 10-speaker sound system.
The base model starts at $40,800, but Car and Driver recommends going up a trim level to the ES 350 with the Ultra Luxury package for the best value. The ES 300h hybrid trim comes in at $41,900.
The ES also comes with three engine options. The standard ES 250 has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 203 horsepower and all-wheel drive. The ES 350 offers front-wheel drive with a 3.5-liter V-6 and eight-speed automatic transmission that produces 302 horsepower.
The highest trim level is the 215-horsepower ES 300h hybrid model. This model is a front-wheel drive with a continuously variable automatic transmission for smoother gear transitions. For consumers wanting a sportier feel, there’s a high-performance F Sport trim package available for the two higher trim levels.
There are new safety features offered for the ES for the 2022 model year. The new Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 includes automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and new tools like pedestrian and cyclist detection.

Which car is the better choice?

If power level isn’t necessarily a huge factor for you, the ES could be the better choice. With a lower price for very similar finishes and smooth suspension, the ES sedan offers great value.
However, if you want the best handling, the IS with the F Sport upgrade would be your best bet between the two Lexuses.
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