Canadian Driver Reviews the Lexus ES 350

2009 Lexus ES350

The Lexus ES 350 doesn’t get a lot of play, particularly with it in the third year of its design cycle, but this Canadian Driver review of the 2009 model is worth noting, as it manages to capture the ES’ appeal and includes a previously unheard (and likely untrue) rumor:

The 2009 model retains the nice new body, although next year, the ES 350 is said to be undergoing a major reworking. There’s also some speculation that Lexus might drop the model entirely, instead of launching a sixth-generation ES.

The performance hallmarks of the 2009 ES 350 don’t have much to do with the kind of numbers other Lexus models boast, such as zero-to-100 km/h time, but rather with creature comforts and understated elegance. Notes Lexus Canada’s managing director Tony Waring, “Canadians looking for signature styling, refined interiors, effortless handling and a luxurious, serene ride will love the ES 350’s elegance.”

The rumor is that ES will be receiving a mid-cycle facelift this year (along with the LS), but nowhere have I read that the model could be dropped all together, and probably for good reason. The ES is Lexus’ best selling sedan by far, trailing only the RX as the brand’s best selling model in the US. In light of that, what would drive Lexus to cancel the ES?

The other thing: The ES 350 is not bland, and it’s not ordinary. It’s an entry-level large sedan with an emphasis on comfort, an entirely under-represented segment in the luxury market. In fact, comparisons are hard to come by—which no doubt explaining the model’s success.

[Source: Canadian Driver]

Lexus J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Results

J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study 2009

J.D. Power has published the results of their latest Vehicle Dependability Study, and for the first time since its inclusion, Lexus did not place first, coming in third behind Buick and Jaguar.

The study looks at the problems per vehicle for the 2006 model year and the problems encountered over the first three years of ownership. As you can see from the above chart, the differences between the top four positions are minor, particularly when you consider that a “problem” is any issue that requires a visit to the dealership. No real differentiation seems to be made beyond that point, so an engine failure and a squeaky window count towards the same total.

Still, almost every Lexus model placed very high in its respective category:

Model Segment Position
LS 430 1st
ES 330 1st (tie)
SC 430 1st
GX 470 1st
RX 330/400h 3rd

The other point to note? The LS 430 ranked 1st overall, with fewer problems reported than any other model at 61 per 100 vehicles.

[Source: J.D. Power]

Frankenstein Lexus Spotted in Qatar

Car Capture, an exotic carspotting blog, managed to snap some photos of a freakish Frankenstein “Lexus” in Qatar:

Frankenstein Lexus 1

Frankenstein Lexus 2

Let’s see—I’m guessing ES 300 body, BMW headlights and LX rear lights, though who can really tell with all that body work. My favorite touch? The Mercedes V12 badge on the trunk. Fantastic.

For larger images, visit Car Capture and see the monster up close.

Lexus Sponsors Customized Mine Magazine

Mine Magazine

Lexus is sponsoring a unique print experiment by Time Inc.—a personalized magazine called “mine”. Published bi-weekly over 10 weeks, the magazine combines articles from an assortment of magazines customized to your tastes:

Readers can select five titles from eight published by subsidiaries of Time Warner Inc. and American Express Co.: Time, Sports Illustrated, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Money, In Style, Golf, and Travel + Leisure.

Editors will pre-select the stories that make it into every biweekly issue, and readers won’t have the option of changing the picks from issue to issue.

Lexus, which came up with the idea, will be the lone advertiser and will buy four full pages of ads for each 36-page magazine.

“I wouldn’t call this an ad, this goes much beyond this,” said David Nordstrom, Lexus’ vice president of marketing. “Our message of ‘driver-inspired’ and ‘customization’ will come through a lot stronger.”

mine is only available in the US, and the print edition is limited to first 31,000 applicants (everyone else will receive their magazine online). You can sign up for the magazine at Time Inc.‘s website.

[Source: Newser]

Lexus Wallpaper of the Week: RX 450h in Motion

Right from its first reveal, I’ve been quite taken with the new Lexus RX, finding it a vast improvement over the outgoing model and a vehicle I fully expect to see parked in my driveway some time in the future.

To that end, I’ve been searching for a great photo that would work as a desktop wallpaper, and just found one this weekend—here it is:

The Starfire Pearl is an early favorite color on the RX, though I have doubts it would be my final choice. More likely than not, I’d go with the Smoky Granite Mica.