Lexus ES vs IS: Comparing the Luxury Sedans for You

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

When you’re considering a luxury sedan, the Lexus ES and Lexus IS both offer impressive style and performance.

You might struggle to choose between these two popular sedans, but don’t worry—this article will compare their features to help you make an informed decision.

Each model has its unique advantages, such as rear head- and legroom in the ES or front head- and legroom in the IS.

By the end of this comparison, you’ll have a clearer understanding of which Lexus is the right fit for you.

Lexus ES vs IS

Lexus ES and IS Overview

If you’re looking to buy a luxury sedan, chances are, you’ve come across the Lexus ES and the Lexus IS. Both of these sedans offer a high level of comfort, style, and performance, but each has its own unique appeal.

Lexus ES overview

The Lexus ES is a comfort-focused midsize sedan, perfect for those who prioritize a smooth, quiet ride, and a roomy, elegant interior.

It’s designed with your long drives in mind, ensuring that you and your passengers have a truly relaxing experience.

The ES is also quite fuel-efficient, making it an environmentally friendly choice for your everyday commute or road trips. Discover these Lexus ES 350 years to avoid and every listed issues explained!

Lexus IS overview

On the other hand, the Lexus IS is a compact sports sedan, offering a more aggressive, and engaging driving experience.

With its racy exterior and sporty handling, the IS is an exciting car to drive. You’ll appreciate the spirited performance and thrilling cornering abilities, especially if you have a passion for driving.

In terms of pricing, both the ES and the IS have base models starting around $40,000, which is quite competitive in the luxury sedan market.

However, when comparing features and options between the two, you may find that the ES offers more standard amenities, while the IS provides additional performance-oriented options.

When considering which luxury sedan is best suited for your lifestyle, it’s important to compare and experience both the Lexus ES and IS.

Test drive each one to discover how well they respond to your driving style and preferences. Ultimately, the choice between these two excellent sedans will depend on your personality, needs, and unique preferences for comfort, luxury, and performance.

Exterior Design

The Lexus ES and IS offer distinct design elements. The ES is a mid-size sedan with a sleek and sophisticated look, while the IS is a compact sedan that features a sporty and aggressive design.

Both models have an option for the F SPORT package, which adds unique body styling and performance enhancements.

Regarding dimensions, the ES is 2 inches wider and has a 2.8 inches longer wheelbase than the IS. The height and width of both cars contribute to their distinctive looks and driving experiences.

If you’re a fan of rear spoilers, consider opting for the F SPORT package, as it often includes a stylish rear spoiler to enhance the sporty appeal of your Lexus sedan.

Interior and Comfort

In the Lexus ES and IS, you’ll find a refined and cozy interior design. The ES offers more legroom with 42.4 inches in the front and 39.2 inches in the back.

This extra space gives you and your passengers room to stretch out and relax. Both models feature premium synthetic seats, with the choice of a stylish black color.

As for cargo volume, the Lexus ES has a slight edge over the IS. With their sleek and comfortable interiors, either option ensures a pleasant driving experience. Just remember, if you prioritize space and comfort, the Lexus ES may be more suitable for you.

Performance and Engineering

When it comes to performance, the Lexus IS offers a range of horsepower from 241 hp to 472 hp, while the Lexus ES has a range of 203 hp to 302 hp.

The Lexus IS is available with both RWD and AWD drivetrain options, while the ES offers FWD and AWD.

In terms of engine options, you’ll find a turbocharged 4-cylinder or a powerful V6 in both models. The Lexus IS comes with a responsive transmission that helps with acceleration, whereas the ES focuses more on smoothness and comfort.

It’s important to consider your preferences and priorities when choosing between these two luxury sedans.

If you’re looking for more power and sportiness, the IS might be a better fit; however, if elegance and a plush ride are your priorities, the ES could be for you.

Fuel Economy and Efficiency

When comparing the Lexus ES and IS, fuel economy plays a role in your decision. The hybrid Lexus ES 300h boasts an impressive 43/44 mpg (city/highway) for a combined 44 mpg.

For standard models, the ES 350 achieves a combined 26 mpg, while the RWD IS 300 and IS 350 get 24 mpg and 23 mpg respectively.

In terms of price, the 2023 Lexus ES starts at $41,940. Consider both your budget and desired fuel economy to make the best choice for your needs.

Drivetrain Options

In the 2022 Lexus ES lineup, you can opt for the ES 250 AWD model which features all-wheel drive, or the ES 350 with front-wheel drive. If you’re eco-conscious, the ES also offers hybrid options such as the 300h, 300h Luxury, and 300h Ultra Luxury.

On the other hand, the 2022 Lexus IS comes standard with rear-wheel drive. Although the IS lacks hybrid models, it has a 2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas as a four-cylinder engine option.

Now, it’s up to you to pick the drivetrain to fit your driving preferences!

Safety and Technology

In your Lexus ES or IS, you’ll experience top-notch safety and technology features. Each model comes with the Lexus Safety System+ 2.5, providing advanced driver assistance.

Key features like adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection help keep you and others safe on the road.

When it comes to entertainment, both sedans boast an infotainment system with navigation and radio capabilities. You’ll also enjoy the head-up display for easy-to-see driving information.

Additional amenities like keyless start, rear parking aid, and a universal garage door opener make your driving experience more convenient and enjoyable.

Trims, Packages, and Prices

When considering a Lexus sedan, you have two popular options: the Lexus ES or the Lexus IS. Let’s look at their trims, packages, and prices to help you decide.

The Lexus ES has five different trim levels:

  • Base
  • F SPORT Design
  • Luxury
  • F SPORT Handling
  • Ultra Luxury

For the Lexus IS, there are three main trim levels:

  • IS 300
  • IS 300 F SPORT
  • IS 350 F SPORT
Trim 2021 Lexus ES 2020 Lexus IS
Base/entry-level Base (~$40,000 MSRP) IS 300 (~$38,000 MSRP)
Mid-level F SPORT Design/Luxury IS 300 F SPORT
High-performance F SPORT Handling IS 350 F SPORT

Both Lexus ES and IS usually offer manufacturer incentives. Most F SPORT trims come with a sportier suspension, bold styling, and exclusive interior features. The Lexus ES measures 110.2 inches in wheelbase and 72.4 inches in width, while the IS is slightly smaller.

All Lexus ES trims come with an 8-speed automatic transmission, ensuring a smooth and responsive ride. Interestingly, the 2023 Lexus ES 350 still offers a CD player as an available option for those who prefer physical media.

Lastly, consider the available Premium Package, which adds convenience features like a power sunroof and heated front seats to enhance your driving experience.

Notable Competitors

When exploring alternatives to the Lexus ES and IS, it’s important to consider some of their strongest competitors.

Two prominent options are the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Alfa Romeo Giulia.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Mercedes-Benz C-Class presents itself as a luxurious choice with its upscale interior and refined performance.

You’ll find that the C-Class offers a plush cabin with high-quality materials, setting it apart from other vehicles in its class. Furthermore, it has various engine options that provide smooth and efficient driving experiences.

If you value a premium feel and a balanced performance, the C-Class might be the perfect choice for you. More details about this competitor can be found in this comparison.

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia brings style and performance to the table. Known for its sleek European design and sporty handling capabilities, the reliable Giulia is a head-turner that won’t disappoint driving enthusiasts.

It offers potent engines that deliver an exciting driving experience, but you would want to avoid problems the Alfa Romeo Giulia is known for!

Additionally, the Giulia features modern technology and a comfortable interior. If you prefer the combination of Italian flair and engaging performance, the Alfa Romeo Giulia may suit your tastes well.

While both the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Alfa Romeo Giulia have their own unique strengths, it’s crucial to assess your personal preferences and requirements before making a decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main differences in performance between the ES and IS?

The Lexus ES is designed for comfort and smooth driving experience, while the IS is geared more towards sporty handling and performance.

The ES is classified as a mid-size sedan, while the IS is a compact sedan. Both models offer a variety of engine options, so you can choose the one that best suits your preferences and needs.

Which model offers better fuel efficiency, ES or IS?

The fuel efficiency of each model depends on the specific engine and trim you choose. Generally speaking, the Lexus ES offers slightly better fuel efficiency due to its more comfort-oriented design.

However, specific numbers can be found on official Lexus’ website or by referring to EPA ratings.

How do the interior dimensions compare between the Lexus ES and IS?

The Lexus ES is larger than the IS, offering more interior space for passengers and cargo. The ES has a longer wheelbase, making it a more comfortable option for families or people who need more legroom. The IS, on the other hand, offers a sportier and more compact interior.

Which one has more advanced safety features, the ES or IS?

Both the Lexus ES and IS come equipped with advanced safety features and technologies through Lexus Safety System+.

However, certain advanced features might be available in one model and not in the other, so it’s essential to check the specific trim level you are considering to ensure it has the safety features you desire.

How does the driving experience differ between Lexus ES and IS?

The driving experience in the Lexus ES is focused on providing a smooth, comfortable ride, with an emphasis on luxury and relaxation.

The IS, meanwhile, is designed for those who enjoy a sportier, more involved driving experience, offering sharper handling and more responsive acceleration.

Between the ES and IS, which offers a better value for the money?

The answer to this question largely depends on your preferences and needs. If you prioritize comfort, luxury, and a smooth driving experience, the ES might offer better value for your money.

On the other hand, if sporty handling and performance are more important to you, the IS could be a better fit. When making your decision, it’s crucial to consider factors like fuel efficiency, safety features, and interior space to determine the best value for you.


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