2022 Lexus ES 300h F Sport Review

Christian Wardlaw, Independent Expert | Sep 10, 2021

Introduction - Find the best Lexus deals!

Priced like compact premium car, but sized like a large luxury sedan, the 2022 Lexus ES is one of a kind. The closest rival in both price and size might be the Cadillac CT5, but with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive and a clear emphasis on performance, the Cadillac isn’t the same sort of car. And with the Genesis G80 moving sharply upscale with its most recent redesign, the Lexus ES is effectively alone to cater to customers seeking tremendous bang for their luxury car buck. 

Rather than rest on its laurels, Lexus instead gives the 2022 ES several updates to ensure it remains competitive. This is what’s new for 2022:

  • Restyled headlights, grille, and wheels
  • Minor interior surface and trim changes
  • Retuned braking system and rear suspension
  • Expansion of F Sport trim to ES 300h hybrid model
  • New Dynamic Handling Package for ES 350 F Sport
  • Upgraded infotainment system with touchscreen control
  • Next-generation Lexus Safety System 2.5+ advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS)
  • Iridium and Cloudburst Gray paint colors

As was true in 2021, the 2022 Lexus ES comes in ES 250, ES 300h, and ES 350 model designations based on their powertrains. The ES 250 models have a 4-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive, the ES 300h models have a gas-electric hybrid powertrain and front-wheel drive, and the ES 350 models use a V6 engine and front-wheel drive. Trim levels include Base, Luxury, Ultra Luxury, and F Sport, and prices range between $40,800 and $51,080, plus a $1,075 destination charge.

Previously, J.D. Power reviewed the 2020 Lexus ES 350 F Sport. This review focuses on the ES 300h F Sport and the other updates for 2022, and how they potentially impact this car’s overall appeal to consumers.

What Owners Say About the Lexus ES - Find the best Lexus deals!

2022 Lexus ES 300h F Sport Ultrasonic Blue Front Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

According to data collected from verified owners for the J.D Power 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 65% of Lexus ES owners are male (vs. 64% for the Midsize Premium Car segment), and the median age of an ES owner is 66 years (vs. 61).

Owners have ranked the Lexus ES in 10 primary areas of evaluation. Listed below in descending order, you’ll find their preferences from their most favorite thing about the vehicle to their least favorite thing:

  • Exterior styling
  • Driving feel
  • Feeling of safety
  • Powertrain
  • Driving comfort
  • Interior design
  • Setting up and starting
  • Getting in and out
  • Infotainment system
  • Fuel economy

In the J.D. Power 2020 APEAL Study, the ES ranked fourth out of five Midsize Premium Cars.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Lexus ES - Find the best Lexus deals!

In the sections that follow, our independent expert provides an analysis of a 2022 Lexus ES 300h F Sport equipped with the following options:

  • Premium paint
  • Navigation Package
  • Head Up Display
  • Triple-beam Headlights
  • Power trunk lid
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Key card access
  • Power rear window sunshade
  • Intuitive Parking Assist

The price of the test vehicle came to $52,260, including the $1,075 destination charge.

F Sport Trim Now Offered with Hybrid Powertrain

2022 Lexus ES 300h F Sport Badge Wheel

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Lexus has figured out that people who want to maximize their fuel economy and reduce vehicle emissions might also want a car with a sporty look and handling to match. As such, the automaker now offers the ES 300h hybrid model in F Sport trim.

In addition to a unique grille insert and new gloss black 19-inch wheels, in comparison to other ES models the Lexus ES F Sport gets subtle exterior modifications to the front fascia air intakes and rear diffuser panel and a rear spoiler. Inside, the F Sport treatment adds sport-bolstered seats wrapped in perforated NuLuxe simulated leather upholstery, metallic pedals, unique instrumentation, and an F Sport steering wheel.

In addition to the F Sport’s appearance, one benefit of the trim was its sport-tuned suspension. It appears that for the 2022 model year, Lexus does away with this hardware upgrade, instead retuning the rear suspension on all ES models in an effort to improve ride and handling. To enjoy a tauter and more athletic Lexus ES, you must choose the ES 350 and opt for the new Dynamic Handling Package.

Where does this leave the 2022 Lexus ES 300h F Sport? It gets the sporty looks, but still feels like a soft and cushy cruiser when you might wish for a stiffer and more connected feel from behind the wheel.

Ultimately, this might not matter. The ES 300h F Sport test vehicle still handled well thanks to its Global Architecture-K platform, which has a low center of gravity baked right into it. Add the suspension revisions, the F Sport’s 19-inch wheels and tires, and the retuned brakes, and the Lexus ES 300h F Sport is more enjoyable to drive than you might expect.

Updated Styling, Inside and Out

Lexus has touched up the ES model’s styling for 2022. All but the F Sport models get new grille designs, and redesigned bi-LED headlights are standard. New wheel designs and paint colors summarize the extent of the changes.

Likewise, the interior gets subtle updates. Aside from the new infotainment display, the center air vents, stereo, and climate controls move down a bit, and the dashboard surfacing and trim in front of the passenger is revised for a cleaner look. The F Sport’s upholstery pattern is modified, too, adding black bolsters and seat stripes.

With F Sport models, Lexus swaps last year’s handsome graphite-finish wheels for the gloss black design Lexus used on the ES 350 Black Line special edition. Similarly, the Black Line’s white interior color is now available for F Sport trim. Both changes add some visual sizzle to the car.

New Touchscreen Infotainment System

2022 Lexus ES 300h F Sport Infotainment System

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Notice above that Lexus ES owners rank the infotainment system near the bottom of the list of their favorite things about the car. There is good reason for that, and if you’ve ever used the Lexus Remote Touch Interface (RTI) touchpad controller on the center console of one of the automaker’s cars, then you understand why owners aren’t happy with the technology.

Likely in response to both critical and consumer complaints about the RTI, Lexus is adding touchscreen infotainment systems to its cars and SUVs, and the 2022 ES is the latest beneficiary of this change in strategy. An 8-inch touchscreen display is standard, with a 12.3-inch version available. Additionally, to ensure the driver and front passenger can reach it, Lexus moves it 4.3 inches closer.

This change has a dramatic impact on driver satisfaction with this car. At first, I used the RTI to remind myself why people dislike it. Then I started using a combination of the touchscreen, physical stereo and climate controls, steering wheel controls, and excellent voice recognition system. I didn’t touch the RTI again. It sat there, taking up space on the console, just as the CD player takes up space at the bottom of the center control panel.

Lexus Safety System 2.5+ is Standard

Lexus Safety System (LSS) is the name of the automaker’s collection of ADAS. This new iteration, called LSS 2.5+, adds upgraded cameras and radar units that Lexus says will improve overall system performance. 

Furthermore, several new features debut, including evasive steering assistance, Intersection Turning Assist, and Curve Speed Reduction. The adaptive cruise control also accelerates sooner and faster when the driver signals a lane change to pass slower vehicles.

During testing, the adaptive cruise control proved much more responsive in passing situations, or when traffic ahead cleared. However, the Curve Speed Reduction system, which automatically reduces the car’s speed in curves, is a source of aggravation.

First, based on our experience, Curve Speed Reduction is not a predictive system. In other words, it does not appear to adjust speed in advance of entering the curve. Instead, it behaves like a reactive system, allowing the ES to hurtle into a curve and then brake. That’s unsettling.

Granted, I tested this technology in its Low rather than its High sensitivity setting. Perhaps the High setting adds a predictive element. But ultimately, I decided to just turn it off.

Additionally, the lane-keeping technology proved inconsistent on freeway curves. On straight sections, it was totally transparent in terms of its behavior, but when the freeway wound down a mountain grade, it was less certain with its inputs, making it hard to trust.

Independent Expert Opinion - Find the best Lexus deals!

2022 Lexus ES 300h F Sport Ultrasonic Blue Rear Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

The 2022 Lexus ES is a stylish, comfortable, and safe luxury car that offers impressive value for the money. Plus, you can get it with all-wheel drive, or as a fuel-efficient hybrid (we averaged 37 mpg in combined driving), or as a quick and athletic sporty sedan. The changes for 2022 also address owner dissatisfaction with the infotainment system. 

There might be a good reason the Lexus ES no longer faces direct competitors. Despite our handful of criticisms of the car, it’s a tough act to beat.

Christian Wardlaw is a veteran digital automotive journalist with over 25 years of experience in test-driving vehicles. In addition to JDPower.com, his work has appeared in numerous new- and used-car buying guides, newspapers, and automotive industry trade journals.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2021 J.D. Power

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