2017 Lexus ES350 4 Door Sedan Review

Thursday November 23rd, 2017 at 9:1111 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2017 Lexus ES350 4 Door Sedan

Hypes: Plush and Tasteful Living Room
Gripes: No paddles, Oversensitive Console-Mounted GUI

What happens when you dress a Toyota Camry for the prom? You get a Lexus ES350.
Both sedans share the same basic architecture. Front engine, front wheel drive, V6 power, 72 inch width, 57 inch height and 111 inch wheelbase. In other words, a commodious transport cell for five adults for a reasonable outlay of cash.

2017 Lexus ES350 4 Door Sedan

Base price for the 2017 Toyota Camry runs from $24,000-$31,000, while the Lexus ES350 ranges from $39,000-$42,000. Our test Lexus started out costing $38,900. The full prom dress up kit, however, boosts the bottom line rather dramatically.

2017 Lexus ES350 4 Door Sedan

Lexus adds $500 for Blind Spot Monitor with Cross Traffic Alert, $880 for High Gloss Finish 18″ Wheels, $2,590 for Navigation System/Mark Levinson Premium Audio, $400 for a One-Touch Power Trunk, $500 for Intuitive Parking Assist, $450 for a Heated Wood and Leather Trimmed Steering Wheel, and $3,500 for the Ultra Luxury Package (Wood Trim Interior, Driver and Passenger Memory Seats, Power Rear and Manual Door Sunshades, Driver Seat Power Cushion Extender, Ambient Lighting, Power Tilt/Telescope Steering Wheel, Panorama Glass Power Moonroof).

The bad news is that all those additions bring your out-the-door tally to $49,210. The good news is that, yes, you do get to keep the tuxedo.

Notice that aside from the 18″ wheel upgrade, all of the aforementioned options are luxury rather than performance oriented. To be sure, the gilded ES350 will never be confused with a sports sedan. It’s simply too big and softly sprung for that kind of serious work. In fact, Lexus underscores the point by failing to offer an F Sport package for the ES model line. It’s the only Lexus sedan without F Sport availability. But unless you plan on hunting BMWs and Audis, that shouldn’t deter you from giving this Lexus a long hard look.

2017 Lexus ES350 4 Door Sedan

If Ward Cleaver, paterfamilias of the 50s TV show Leave It To Beaver, were to choose a family sedan today, he would unquestionably pick the Lexus ES350. It is handsome in a quiet, understated way. It performs every task with panache and good grace. It is expensive, but not overpriced. Indeed, it’s the All American family sedan.

2017 Lexus ES350 4 Door Sedan

The exterior design will win no awards from those seeking cutting edge styling. But for many, that lack of flare is the very source of its visual appeal. The ES350 is like a well tailored suit – inconspicuous because it fits so well. The interior of our test Lexus blends a handsome array of deeply grained real wood trim with carefully stitched dash detailing to make your cabin time restful and rewarding. This is a most welcoming interior, one you are loathe to leave upon arrival at your destination. Lexus has a way of imparting travel serenity with the ES350 that Toyota will never match in any Camry.

Despite the fact that no F Sport version is available, the ES350 offers perfectly acceptable performance. It’s all-aluminum 268hp V6 is highly sophisticated, with 24 intake and exhaust valves that benefit from variable phasing (Dual VVT-i). Indeed, when you lay hard into the throttle of this lightweight alloy motor, the ES350 jumps forward with satisfying thrust accompanied by an appropriately muted exhaust shriek. A proper 6-speed automatic gearbox features sport-shift setting on the floor mounted stick, but lacks paddles at the steering wheel. The 18″ wheel upgrade is well worth the $880 price because it replaces the standard 215/55R17 all-season tires with beefier, lower profile Michelin MXM4 Primacy rubber (225/45R18) – a noticeable performance upgrade.

2017 Lexus ES350 4 Door Sedan

For 2018, Toyota is introducing an all new Camry TNGA platform which will eventually underpin the Lexus ES350 as well. When that switch-over is imminent, you will be able to carve a great deal on the existing ES350, which continues into 2018 unchanged for the time being.

2017 Lexus ES350 4 Door Sedan

  • Engine: 3.5liter V6, 24 valves with Dual VVT-i
  • Horsepower: 268hp
  • Torque: 248lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 21MPG City/30 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $49,210
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

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2016 Lexus ES350 4-DR Sedan Review

Tuesday March 29th, 2016 at 12:33 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2016 Lexus ES350 4-DR Sedan

By David Colman

Hypes: Matte Bamboo Interior Trim Lovely, Levinson Audio Outstanding
Gripes: Maddening Seat Slide Routine, Needs Rear Wiper

This sedan isn’t outstandingly fast in a straight line. Nor does it corner with sports sedan agility. But if there’s one thing the mildly refreshed 2016 Lexus ES350 does really well, it’s playback music. Lexus equipped our $38,000 test vehicle with the $2,650 optional Navigation System/Mark Levinson Premium Audio Package. This entertainment center positions 15 speakers inside the cabin and feeds them with an 835 watt premium surround sound system that made Subterranean Homesick Blues sound like Bob Dylan was sitting on the dash. It was the one unforgettable impression this Lexus made during its very wet week in our driveway .

2016 Lexus ES350 4-DR Sedan

Lexus stylists have updated the appearance of the ES to mirror the wide mouth bass look of the company’s other products. This year, the ES receives the full spindle grill treatment. Gone is the horizontal bar differentiating upper and lower front fascia sections. Both headlights and tail lights now feature subtle “L” motifs in their design. At the rear, an undercar diffuser incorporates new twin chrome plated exhaust finishers. With the exception of the gaping front grill, the evolved styling of the ES pleases the eye.

However, the biggest change takes place in the interior, where the formerly understated ES now takes on more of a lavish personality. This upgrade is especially apparent if you order the optional ($1,670) Luxury Package, which provides perforated leather seats with embossed stitching, a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and a mirror-seat memory system for the driver offering three setting choices.

2016 Lexus ES350 4-DR Sedan

The steering wheel in our ES was a real work of art. First, Lexus improved its appearance by making it sportier looking. Secondly, our rim was heated at the handgrip positions, and fitted with matte bamboo on the remainder. The bamboo sections were not heated however, which led to much gripping of the leather sections on cold mornings. Lexus has fitted the heater on the wheel with a timer that automatically turns the feature off with no warning. The 3 position seat heaters (and ventilators) stay on indefinitely, however, including after restarts.

Whenever you trigger the ignition stop button, the driver’s seat shoots rearward while the steering wheel lift itself up and away. This annoying valet routine seems immune from disablement by the owner, since no “car settings” menu mentioned it at all. After you light off the ES’ 268hp V6, the driver’s seat scurries back to its preordained position, and that expensively detailed steering wheel settles into your hands. Although the ES provides adequate grunt for most passing situations, you will never be overwhelmed by an abundance of power here because the ES weighs in at 3,575 pounds. The power-to-weight ratio stands at 13.3 pounds per horsepower.

2016 Lexus ES350 4-DR Sedan

In a sedan world where 225mm-275mm is the normal section width for tire size, the Lexus ES350 is decidedly under-tired. All four Bridgestone EL400 Turanza tires measure just 215/55R17. Their skinny footprint barely fills out the ES350′s fender wells. The message here is that the ES is designed more for straight line work than attacking backroad zig-zags. Lexus does give you the opportunity to dial up a “Sport” setting from the console-mounted “Drive Model Select” but any difference in feedback is so subtle as to be virtually imperceptible.

On the other hand, the feedback from the “Steering Assist” that is part of the $1,015 optional Lexus Safety System will drive you nuts in short order. This gratuitous mechanism shakes the wheel in your hand every time you change lanes without using your turn indicator. It also wobbles the wheel whenever you touch a center line or dive for an apex on a twisty road. Do yourself a big favor and eliminate this annoyance from your build selection sheet.

2016 Lexus ES350 4-DR Sedan

The ES350 has always Lexus’ entry level sedan, a warmed over version of Toyota’s best selling Camry. This year, the Lexus Division has moved its ES350 cover of the Camry to much higher ground, with a pleasing exterior refresh, and an interior redo that make it much harder to discern its humble Toyota origins.

2016 Lexus ES350 4-DR Sedan

  • Engine: 3.5 liter V6, 24 Valves, All Aluminum, Dual VVT-i
  • Horsepower: 268hp
  • Torque: 248lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 21MPG City/31MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $46,679
  • Star Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Stars

Posted in Expert Reviews, Feature Articles, Lexus |Tags:, , || No Comments »




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