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.
ES Share of Total Lexus Sales
2015 YTD *
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.
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).
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.