The Lexus ES 350 is a great little sedan to drive on the freeway or even in town, since it is highly responsive to any command from the driver. With its 268 hp 3.5 L V6 engine with 6-speed FWD automatic transmission promising a fast getaway, whether you just robbed the local bank or only want to hurry home to change for dinner, the Lexus ES 350 is at your command.
It’s not only fun to drive but it also delivers great fuel economy for such a stylish, performance-oriented vehicle, boasting a combined estimate of 24 mpg (21 in town, 31 on the highway). Its hybrid sibling the ES 300h, gets even better mileage.
My Fire Agate Pearl test model Lexus ES 350 had a lovely sparkly finish that gleamed bronze-like in the sunlight. This 4-door sedan boasts luxury touches throughout, with the perforated NuLuxe upholstery and (in the test model) semi-Aniline leather trim interior (which means it’s especially dyed to suit the fabric and use of the material). The interior design features bright, easy-to-read instruments.
Obviously Lexus has taken a great deal of care with this sedan, having expanded the connectivity with Lexus Enform Remote that allows owners to view and control through an iOS or Android app such vehicle features as remote door lock/unlock, remote stop/start and climate control, and many other functions.
With its 7-inch touch screen and all the technology people who can afford to drive a Lexus demand, such as, if a favorite song plays while you’re busy the cache radio feature will pause for up to 15 minutes so you can listen later. The screen can be divided into three sections, including a 3D map with bird’s eye views to help with navigation. All of this is easily accomplished through the Siri Eyes-Free function that lets you perform tasks without taking your eyes from the road.
Luxury touches continue throughout the ES 350 including the larger (40 inch) legroom in the rear and the extra headroom. Standard features include 10-way adjustable power front seats, clear Optitron gauges, automatic climate control, piano-black trim for the instrument panel, doors and upper console, and 18-inch high-gloss alloy wheels.
The ES 350 offers such safety features as 10 airbags and an array of available driver aids that were included on my test model. These included optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) and Lane Departure Alert (LDA). Also optional, the Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) helps detect vehicles inside blind spots and can alert the driver to rear cross traffic when backing out of a parking space.
The MSRP for the ES 350 is an affordable $37,700. While the ES 350 is the brand’s entry level into the luxury market, it doesn’t look or feel anything like entry level.
The manufacturer included such options as those listed above to the test model, which combined with destination charges brought the total price for the test model to $48,035.
Jo Ann Holt is a journalist and car columnist based in Dallas and a member of Texas Automobile Writers Association (TAWA).