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September 7, 2010 > Auto Review: Lexus ES 350 sedan

Auto Review: Lexus ES 350 sedan

By Dick Ryan

I am sure you know that Lexus is the premium, upscale automobile line from Toyota Motor Corporation. Lexus markets four, 4-door sedans with the Camry-based ES 350 as the second least expensive. The 2010 model is the fifth generation ES produced; no major changes have been made for the new 2010 models.

ES 350 gets plenty of horsepower from its 3.5-liter V-6 housed in the engine bay. The aluminum motor produces 272 HP at 6200 rpm (and 254 lb.-ft. of torque at 4700 rpm), then the six-speed electronically-controlled transmission sends that power to the front wheels. This combination produced 19 mpg in the EPA's city test and 27 in the highway test on premium fuel.

Lexus ES 350 comes very well equipped at its base price of $34,800. Standard equipment includes a moonroof; leather trimmed interior; 10-way power adjustable front seats; Bluetooth connectivity; memory system for the driver's seat, mirrors, and the steering wheel; rain sensing windshield wipers; power tilting steering wheel; and others. Our test car also had the voice command Lexus navigation system combined with a Mark Levinson premium audio system with a price tag of $4,065. The navigation system was very easy to use. Another option, "Ultra Luxury Package," included a lot more practical and luxury items for $3,535. The total sticker price ended up at $44,848.

ES 350 was a very nice car and fulfills Lexus' advertising promise of being an "entry luxury" car. The interior was very nicely done and trimmed well. Seats were extremely comfortable and would be great on long trips; the back seat had plenty of leg room for tall people. The sound system was excellent.

The ES 350 did not handle like a sports sedan, but then again the Lexus design staff did not intend it to be a sports sedan. It is a luxury car and clearly meets that goal. The ride is smooth, excellent, and very quiet. Handling is reasonable. Ventilated four-wheel disc brakes with anti-locking software are very good and stop the car with no muss or fuss.

One of the really nice options is the "Safety Connect" system, featuring four services. First is an automatic collision notification system that requests help if your airbags deploy. Secondly, it has technology to help police locate the ES 350 if it is stolen. Next, it has an SOS button that can request help in any kind of emergency and finally, it can be used to activate Lexus' roadside assistance system for things like flat tires or running out of gas.

A full complement of standard safety equipment is included with the ES 350: vehicle stability control, traction control, tire pressure monitoring, ten airbags throughout the cabin, and height adjustable front seat belt anchors. An optional "pre collision" system uses radar to measure the distance to objects in front of the car and applies the brakes if the driver fails to do so reducing collision damage and injuries.

Lexus ES 350 offers a very good entry level luxury sedan with many great features at a reasonable price.

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