KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
The fifth-generation Lexus ES 350 is completely redesigned in a style that Lexus describes as the new "L-finessed" theme, which is an effort to recall classic sports car proportions, but with a contemporary look. Built on the same platform as the Toyota Camry, which is also redesigned for 2007, the ES 350 is the entry-level vehicle in the Lexus line, and its intent is to capture those buyers looking for a high level of luxury, comfort and class. The Lexus ES 350 delivers subtlety, low-key charm and all those luxury qualities that Mercedes, Acura, Infiniti and some others also provide so well. It is fast, quiet, roomy and comfortable. But does it deliver the Lexus marketing stampa look and feel that appeal both to the heart and the head? Based on previous Lexus products, we have no reason to think it won't.
You'll Like This Car If...
The ES 350 offers a lot of luxury at what has to be considered a very reasonable price. You also get the proven dependability of a Lexus product with even more features and conveniences than on the previous model.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you are looking for a mid-sized luxury sedan with an image that puts it on the cutting edge of style and performance, the ES 350 is probably not the first choice. And, obviously, it's also not a good choice if you need a spacious family vehicle that will carry a lot of people.
What's Significant About This Car?
The ES, now known as ES 350 for a new, larger engine of 3.5 liters, has been completely redesigned, with a wheelbase that's more than two inches longer and a track more than one inch wider. The shape has a long hood and short deck, with the passenger cabin pulled toward the rear, and there is also more legroom, a more luxurious interior and an enhanced sound system.
A first impression upon entering the ES 350 is how light and spacious the interior feels, with dials, gauges and controls that are highly intuitive. Seating is notably comfortable and the back seat has enough room to stretch longer legs. The drive is crisp, responsive and fast, with zero to 60 miles per hour in 6.8 seconds and a 137-mph test-track top speed, according to Lexus. It corners with minimal body roll and is energetic on hills and while merging with traffic, with plenty of ready power for quick, smooth acceleration. It has a very low aerodynamic drag coefficient, with one nice result being that it's exceptionally quiet inside, and the ride is steady, smooth and luxuriously comfortable. The visibility is excellent, making it easy to deal with traffic, and the ES 350 handled very well in stop-and-go traffic and parking situations.
Panorama Glass Roof
The expansive panorama glass roof option is enlighteningyou feel like you're driving inside a greenhouse.
Fast and Economical
The Lexus ES 350 also matches a quick drive with impressive miles-per-gallon estimates of 21 city/30 highway.
The ES 350 interior is light, luxurious, comfortable and refined. Legroom has been increased by a half-inch. Cloth upholstery is standard, with leather and premium leather available. Stereo controls are mounted on the three-spoke steering wheel and bright, clear Optitron gauges are elegant and easy to read. Nice luxury touches include illuminated front cup holders, exterior puddle lamps and sliding center console; the cabin feels airy with the optional panorama glass roof, made up of one piece of glass that extends over the entire cabin. The frameless design gives front passengers a sunroof and rear passengers a skylight. There is a manually-operated interior shade for front and rear passengers.
For the ES 350, Lexus stretched the exterior skin into long, flowing lines that give it a definitely aggressive posture. The look is assertive, serious, purposeful and will not go unnoticed in a crowd. One detail we especially liked was the amber pearl paint choice, a very memorable gold hue.
Notable Standard Equipment
The ES 350 has stability and traction control systems, nine airbags (two additional rear side-impact airbags are available), smart access keyless entry, a push-to-start ignition system that allows a driver to keep the key fob in a pocket or purse, dual zone climate control, 10-way power adjustable front seats, power moonroof and stereo system with in-dash, six-disc CD-changer, MP3 player and iPod connectivity with Automatic Sound Leveler to maintain consistent sound levels at various speeds. Also included are an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated digital compass, heated exterior mirrors, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, illuminated front cup holders and LED soft-lighting interior system.
Notable Optional Equipment
Options include the panorama glass roof, Bluetooth technology, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, heated and ventilated front seats, adaptive front lighting system, 13-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, rearview camera with a color image on the navigation screen and a fifth-generation navigation system with a multi-information display.
Under the Hood
The front-wheel-drive Lexus ES 350 features an all-aluminum 3.5-liter V6, matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine and transmission combination deliver smooth, quiet, responsive power, and the six-speed automatic contributes to the noteworthy highway fuel economy rating. In addition to the smooth, refined operation, the Lexus powertrain also promises exceptional reliability and peace-of-mind.
272 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
254 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30
The Lexus ES 350 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $33,865. The Fair Purchase Price shows that ES 350s are selling at MSRP. In comparison, the Audi A4 with 3.2-liter engine has an MSRP of $35,210, the Acura TL with 3.2-liter engine, but without navigation system, is $34,140 and the Infiniti G35 four-door sedan with optional automatic transmission is $32,100. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Prices to compare prices in your area. We expect that the ES 350 will retain a better-than-average value of 64 percent over a 24-month period.