The Lexus ES sedan gets fresh details and new features for 2022, bringing it up into the shadow left from it’s long lost rear-wheel drive GS big brother that last year was discontinued. The front-wheel drive ES, previously the bargain argument has been made to grow into a more premium stronghold between the Lexus IS entry level and LS top-line sedans.

Making it more premium are more features inside an out to raise the bar. New styling treatments are added across the entire line including new grilles and LED headlamps. Ours had optioned the more premium triple beam LED headlamps, satin chrome 18-inch wheels and a rear spoiler for its power trunk lid.

New finishes inside the cabin also raise the bar. Most notable the changes inside include a redesigned center infotainment system that moves closer to the drive and becomes a touchscreen. Made larger, it offers up to the huge 12.3” screen our tester featured with a Mark Levinson audio system sporting all the latest features and even has a CD player.

The interior is rich with sumptuous soft touch materials everywhere your hand roams. Genuine wood trim and semi-analine leather seats with heating and ventilation, and a huge opening panoramic moonroof were all parts of our Ultra Lux trim grade we welcomed.

Powering our ES 350 is the venerable Toyota-Lexus 3.5-liter V6 engine and 8-speed automatic transmission. Here it produces 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque in a smooth and refined way that is very fitting of a luxury sedan.

It never gets rough when prodded hard, delivering a tire spinning yet velvety zoom to a kick in your back. It has the serenity in traffic too, not yet polluted with an idle start-stop system. Efficiency is rated at 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. In our week with it we achieved 25 mpg.

Handling is sublimely refined as well, based on the solid TNGA platform that underpins a lot of vehicles most notably the Toyota Camry. Yes it might sound basic bit it offers up a solid quality feel with a level of precision and quiet that feels every bit the price here.

Priced at $54,850 our ES 350 seemed a good value given a level of quality and equipment on par with the most popular trims of the departed ES sedan. Yes we miss the rear-wheel drive but those wanting that can always go for the more sport oriented IS-sedan not that much smaller.