HD Road Test Review – 2015 Lexus ES350 – Still Quietly Excellent



2015 Lexus ES350 Review

 

 

The Lexus ES350 is one of the brand’s all-time sales heroes. Over the last 20 years, the ES has been a staple on the best-selling, most-loved and best-resale-value ranks of all luxury cars.

Since the most recent refresh of the ES350 in 2012, the car has averaged around 72,000 sales a year — which is a mighty impressive total that averages out to 25-percent of overall 2013 and 2014 Lexus brand sales.

Year

Lexus Brand

Lexus ES

ES Share of Total Lexus Sales

U.S. Sales

U.S. Sales

U.S. Sales

2002

     234,109

       71,450

31%

2003

     259,755

       65,762

25%

2004

     287,927

       75,916

26%

2005

     302,895

       67,577

22%

2006

     322,434

       75,987

24%

2007

     329,177

       82,867

25%

2008

     260,087

       64,135

25%

2009

     215,975

       48,485

22%

2010

     229,329

       48,652

21%

2011

     198,552

       40,873

21%

2012

     244,166

       56,158

23%

2013

     273,847

       72,581

27%

2014

     311,389

       72,508

23%

2015 YTD *

       23,131

         4,080

18%

Data Source: GoodcarBadcar.net

What that chart shows is an all-star of a luxury sedan – a car that does everything so well you would be hard-pressed to justify spending more on an Audi A6 or Mercedes E350 – let alone a BMW 740i.

In the fast-forward world of luxury car tech and sophistication, though, is the all-star ES350 still up to the challenge in 2015?

Let’s find out in this full road test review, with headings: Exterior, Interior, Performance, Pricing and Summary. We’ve also thrown in a colors guide and a look at the new-for-2015 ES350 Crafted Line. Road Test Review - 2015 Lexus ES350  8Road Test Review - 2015 Lexus ES350  48 Road Test Review - 2015 Lexus ES350  41 Road Test Review - 2015 Lexus ES350  24 Road Test Review - 2015 Lexus ES350  14

EXTERIOR

Keeping the Lexus ES excellent is one challenge, but keeping it on buyer radars is an equally large obstacle.

The 2012 redesign brought the Lexus ES350 to the vogue in Lexus style with a full-frame spindle grille, arrowhead LED lighting accents, and an overall nose revamp to move the grille edge forward. This more-vertical look makes the ES350 seem remarkably rear-drive with short overhangs – the true luxury-car proportions we all know from 300-paces away for BMW and Mercedes.

These changes are effective, but are more visual tweaks than an outright redesign. From the pure profile, you can still see the ES350 is a front-drive vehicle.

Even so, the changes did not stop there. Some really cool lower sills flip upward ahead of the back axle, with more clever surfacing in the lower rear bumper to update the shape of the very-familiar ES with some of the elan and coolness of the Lexus IS and GS sedans.

In back, all very conservative still. But internal LED optics in the brake lights are fresh, and the scale and size of the ES350 means most would assume it costs $60,000 or so. It is a very large and blocky shape, much like the flagship LS460 for most eyes, with only the sharpest car-guys knowing which is which.

As a whole, the Es350 is still a solid piece of appealing design, fits in at any golf-club or posh valet line, and even feels vaguely sporty with the test-car’s Atomic Silver paint and optional 18-inch alloys in liquid silver ($880).

INTERIOR

The cabin of the ES350 is its real selling point. Smooth and serene, the design is actually very, very modern. A totally-new dashboard for the 2012 model-year brought the low-cowl style of the most relaxing luxury cars. This smooth and large cabin is where we pile on $7000 worth of safety, comfort and convenience options atop the ES350’s $38,000 base price.

The safety features spec’ed here are:

— $500 blind-spot and cross-traffic alert

— $1000 lane-departure warning and automatic high-beams
— $500 intuitive parking assist

— $200 automatic wipers

They are all nice to have and easy to use, especially the automatic high-beams. Adaptive cruise would be nice to complete the safety suite.

 

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About The Author

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly expanding automotive news magazine.He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.