Automobile Magazine has published an editor’s review of the entry-luxury Lexus sedan, the ES 350. As in their prior LS 460 L review, four editors provided their take on the best-selling sedan. The key emphasis was on the ES 350’s concept of effortless luxury, as described by senior online editor Phil Floraday:
If you’re just looking for a quiet, comfortable way to commute, it’s difficult to fault the Lexus approach. Stretches of road that can be painful in a BMW (thanks to the run-flat tires and sportier suspension) are almost soothing in a Lexus, and the ES350 is a reasonably affordable way to enjoy a true luxury car if you’re careful with your optional equipment.
Being more accustomed to highly engaging driving machines, copy editor Rusty Blackwell was willing to look past initial differences in style with the ES 350, and noted a technological feature:
I’d rather have an Infiniti M or a Mercedes-Benz C-class since the Lexus’s steering is so light and the handling so soft, but that’s what most Lexus owners want, and that’s what the ES350 gives them—-for a reasonable starting price of $36,050. And almost any driver, myself included, would be content with the ES350’s ability to blow by traffic when the mood hits, although torque steer can be an issue at lower speeds.
Lexus products are generally filled with technological amenities, and the ES350 is no exception. After driving this particular test car, I believe that it might include the clearest backup-camera display I’ve seen yet. It’s like high-def has reached backup cameras.
Web producer Evan McCausland summed up the review with a question about market desires:
No, this isn’t billed as a sport sedan (want one? Lexus will be glad to sell you an IS), but the ES is almost as comfortable a cruiser as the company’s flagship LS. The suspension tuning is supple but never flaccid, the cabin is remarkably well insulated, and the seats—especially when trimmed in this upgraded leather—are as stylish and posh as an Eames chaise.
If noise, vibration, and harshness are the three primary factors that help you decide your next vehicular purchase, then it is truly hard to trump the stunningly smooth ES350. That said, I’m not so sure silent and soft is necessarily enough to win the battle in today’s premium midsize segment.
For that matter, the GS is Lexus’ representative entry into the premium midsize segment, and Lexus describes the ES 350’s entry-level target as the “comfort luxury segment”. As many reviews have noted, the ES 350 focuses like a laser beam on quiet, comfort, and plushness, and the IS & GS focus on the the sporty luxury buyer. Thus far, the ES formula has worked brilliantly, perhaps because it is specifically tailored to a certain kind of luxury owner.
[Source: Automobile Magazine]