The 2010 Lexus ES 350 is again among the class leaders when it comes to the entry-level luxury sedan segment thanks to its refined design, smooth and powerful V6 engine, host of appealing available features, luxurious cabin and high build quality. In fact, the ES 350 has the features and high quality materials usually found in much more expensive luxury vehicles.
While still based on the Toyota Camry, it's hard to see the connection in either its performance or looks. In addition to its materials and build quality, the drive of the ES 350 is impressively quiet, almost astonishingly so, while the ride is silky smooth. The purpose of the ES 350 is to pamper and comfort in a way other vehicles in its price range can't match. And it succeeds in a big way. It's no wonder so many of the ES series can be seen on the road.
And new for the 2010 model year is a slightly revised exterior as well as a host of new features. New standard features include leather upholstery, driver memory settings, rear side airbags, a USB port and Bluetooth audio. In addition, Lexus' OnStar-like "Enform and Safety Connect" emergency telematics system is a new available option and the optional navigation system also received an upgrade.
As appealing as the ES 350 is, those shopping this segment may want to consider two very strong upstart rivals: the Hyundai Genesis and the Buick LaCrosse. While both may lack the brand pizzaz of a Lexus, they both possess similar features and refinement at a lower price.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
Standard features on the 2010 ES 350 include a sunroof, leather upholstery, 10-way power front seats with driver memory settings, 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and ignition, a power tilt/telescoping steering column, cruise control, an auto-dimming mirror, automatic wipers, Bluetooth phone and music streaming capabilities, and an 8-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a 6-disc in-dash CD changer, an iPod interface,a USB audio jack and an auxiliary audio jack.
There's also a long list of available optional features, many of which are grouped into packages, and include adaptive cruise control, a self-parking system, HID adaptive headlights, heated and ventilated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, upgraded leather upholstery, a wood-and-leather steering wheel, front passenger memory settings, adaptive cruise control with a pre-collision system and a power rear sunshade.
The optional navigation system is hard-drive-based and includes real-time traffic, weather, XM sports, stock market information, voice commands, a back-up camera and Lexus Enform telematics. Also available as an add-on to the navigation system is a 14-speaker Mark Levinson premium stereo.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the front-wheel drive 2010 Lexus ES 350 is a smooth 3.5-liter V6 engine good for 272 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
It's EPA-estimated gas mileage stands at 19 mpg city and 27 mpg on the highway (22 mpg combined).
Standard safety features include traction control, stability control, antilock brakes (ABS), front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. In addition, optional safety features include a radar-based pre-collision system as well as the Lexus Enform and Safety Connect telematics system.
In government crash tests, the ES 350 earned the top score of five stars for both frontal-impact occupant protection and front seat side-impact protection. It earned four stars for rear seat side-impact protection.
The Es 350's cabin is attractive, luxurious and pampering, consisting of well-designed components and high-grade materials. The seating is comfortable and supportive, both front and rear. And the available features list is as impressive as luxury sedans that are far pricier, adding to the overall luxurious ambience.
In addition, the ES 350's rear seat is especially spacious, making longer trips much easier on passengers. Also, if it's in the budget, the optional ventilated seats are among the best available. Trunk cargo capacity will satisfy most needs, coming in at a useable 14.7-cubic-feet. There's also a cargo pass-through to accommodate larger items.
The 2010 Lexus ES 350 is engineered for an exceedingly smooth, quiet and comfortable driving experience, and it delivers in a big way. Road bumps and imperfections are handled with ease, while road and engine noise is nearly nonexistent when cruising down the highway. The bottom line is that this sedan is intended for drivers who value a vehicle that pampers and coddles, as opposed to one that provides dynamic athleticism.
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FWD, automatic: list price: $35,175, invoice price: $31,892