When considering a luxury sedan from Lexus, two models often come up – the athletic Lexus IS vs ES. Both boast Lexus’ renowned build quality and reliability.
But besides falling under the same brand umbrella, they take very different approaches. This in-depth comparison examines how the Lexus IS stacks up against the ES across crucial categories to help inform your buying decision.
Performance and Handling
Comparing the performance of Lexus IS vs ES, the latter shines as a sportier drive compared to the laidback ES version. The rear-wheel-drive-based IS features much tighter steering, nimbler handling, and acceleration focused on driver engagement.
Meanwhile, the front-wheel-drive Lexus ES prioritizes sublime ride comfort through absorbing suspension and a buttery smooth transmission. It cruises beautifully but won’t attack corners.
The ES also comes in a hybrid variant, promising 44 combined MPG alongside strong acceleration, unavailable for the IS. IS will suit those wanting a more dynamic driving experience.
Interior Space and Practicality
Being the larger sedan overall, the Lexus ES conveys more interior room in both passenger space and cargo capacity. The ES feels cavernous compared to the cozier IS, which buyers note may squeeze tall rear passengers.
Up front, both cabins provide high-end trimmings and seats with ample support. However, the ES again pulls ahead in perceived quality and luxury aesthetics. If you haul passengers routinely, the ES may better accommodate your needs.
Technology and Infotainment on Lexus IS vs ES
Lexus keeps infotainment current across new editions of both sedans, but equipment varies. The 2022 IS introduced Lexus Interface touchscreen functionality with smartphone integration, which was absent in the outgoing generation.
Meanwhile, the latest ES boasts a giant 12.3” screen, even on base trims. Higher ES grades include handy extras like a head-up display, digital gauge cluster, and parking assist—optional upgrades on the IS. Tech fans may prefer the ES here.
Both respond quickly to inputs thanks to Lexus’ touchpad controller. Test the systems hands-on to judge which cabin tech best speaks to you.
Safety Ratings and Driver Aids
Lexus built its reputation on occupant protection, so both the Lexus IS and ES shine with top-rated crash test scores affirming luxury badge safety standards. Ten standard airbags, adaptive beams, and pre-collision warning systems support those results.
In terms of cutting-edge driver assistance, however, the ES again pulls ahead, offering all Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 gear even on base trims. The IS limits some aids, like blind spot monitoring and parking support, to spendier packages or grades, an important differentiation.
Lexus IS vs ES Cost and Values Comparison
The 2023 Lexus IS has a lower starting MSRP of around $41,070 for base rear-wheel-drive versions, while Lexus prices its least expensive front-wheel-drive ES at $42,000.
Factors like extra tech, AWD capabilities described above, and other equipment differences and real-world transaction prices often favor the ES as well. However, the IS sees less discounting and may retain resale values stronger over time.
If the budget deserves attention along with performance preferences, you can weigh invoice prices based on your desired configurations.
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Choosing between two stellar luxury models under the Lexus umbrella largely hinges on driving persona preferences. The smaller IS unlocks more athletic handling for winding roads, while the spacious ES focuses on sublime ride comfort for the long haul.
Similarly, tech-forward buyers may appreciate extra amenities bundled into higher ES trims, whereas value-focused shoppers can’t overlook the IS’ lower starting prices. Weigh priorities against test drive impressions to decide which sedan better showcases Lexus luxury for you.
FAQs on Lexus IS vs ES
Does the ES have a hybrid model?
Yes. The Lexus ES 300h sedan comes equipped as a gas/electric hybrid, promising 44 MPG combined fuel economy, stronger torque, and low-end power coupled with lower emissions compared to the gas-powered ES 350.
How much smaller is the Lexus IS vs ES?
The 2023 Lexus IS measures 185.4 inches stem-to-stern compared to the ES at 196 inches long overall. The IS also has a 3.5-inch shorter wheelbase. These size differentials translate into noticeably less cabin and cargo space.
Which model offers all-wheel-drive (AWD)?
Both the current IS 300 and 350, along with the ES 300h and ES 350, include optional AWD. The IS makes AWD available on all trim grades, whereas the ES limits it to upper Luxury and ultra-luxury packages.
Do they require premium fuel?
Yes, both sedans call for premium 91+ octane gasoline for optimum performance and economy. The ES hybrid can accept 87 octanes as a minimum, but at the cost of efficiency losses.
How is the Mark Levinson sound system?
Lexus flagships its Mark Levinson audio with 17+ speakers and 915+ watts of power as one of the best factory systems available across either sedan. Expect exceptional clarity and range tailored specifically to each model’s cabin acoustics.
Which holds its value better?
Industry pricing analysts at Kelley Blue Book report the Lexus IS enjoys slightly stronger resale values over the first 5 years of ownership compared to the ES line. However, both sedans maintain luxury resale prices relatively well.